The Mighty Wooly Mammoth


Try to imagine the following animal:


It stands over 300 centimeters tall and weighs 6000 kilograms. It has long fur hanging from its massive body, a trunk for fighting and manipulating objects, and pointed tusks that stick out 2 to 4 meters from its face.


If you are imaging this beast as a kind of hairy elephant, then you are pretty much right. The wooly mammoth is the extinct relative of today’s elephant. It died out at the end of the last ice age, about 10,000 years ago. It lived across a large area that covers today’s Northern Asia, Europe, and North America. What’s interesting is that humans and wooly mammoths actually coexisted for a while. Ancient humans hunted wooly mammoths to use their meat for food and tusks for tools and homes. Moreover, we know more about wooly mammoths than any other prehistoric animal because some of their bodies have been found perfectly preserved in Arctic ice.


So how did such a big and strong animal go extinct? It is believed that human hunting and climate change were responsible for killing them off.

Vocabulary 好字精選

1. massive (adj) very big or has a large mass 巨大的;為數眾多的
The new apartment is massive and is able to house thousands of people. 

2. manipulate (v) handle or control sth. 操控,操作
You can manipulate the car using this remote control. 

3. extinct (adj) die of (for a whole species) 絕種,絕跡
That kind of bird went extinct about 10 years ago.

4. coexist (adj) live together or at the same time 共存
That bird and the rhino coexist happily because they help each other in various ways.

5. prehistoric (adj) ancient history, before writing was invented 史前的
Humans walked all over the Earth in prehistoric times.

6. preserve (v) to keep something the way it is 保存,保留
This beautiful painting must be preserved.

Phrases and Sentence Patterns 句型解析

1. pretty much (expression) just about, basically 應該是..,基本上...
This essay is pretty much perfect. There is only one minor mistake.

2. ice age (expression) the glacial period  冰河時期
The Earth’s average temperature was about 5 degrees colder during the ice age.

3. what’s ADJ is that… (sentence pattern) (形容詞)的是…
What’s funny is that the kids didn’t even notice the sticker on their dad’s face.

Exercise 課後練習題

1. Most dinosaurs were _______________ creatures that roamed the Earth.

2. The robot has arms that can _______________ a variety of objects.

3. Do you think the lion will go _______________ if people keep hunting it?

4. The people in this village and the monkeys in the forest nearby have ______________ for centuries.

5. In _______________ times, humans who lived in colder areas ate mostly meat.

6. Some salt and spices are added to help _______________ the meat and make it last longer.

7. Dania is _______________ the only person in her company who rides a bike to work.

8. The _______________, when the Earth was colder, lasted from 2.4 million years ago to 10,000 years ago.
冰河時期是指兩百四十萬到一萬年前, 地球溫度較寒冷的時候。

9. _______________ crazy _______________ the runners didn’t stop to rest for more than six hours.

1. massive
2. manipulate
3. extinct
4. coexisted
5. prehistoric
6. preserve
7. pretty much
8. ice age
9. What’s/is that

Comprehension Questions 閱讀理解

1. What is the relationship between the wooly mammoth and the elephant?
a. They are related but lived at different times. 
b. They have no relationship whatsoever.
c. They lived at a similar time but are quite different.
d. They lived at different times but are exactly the same.

2. Why do we know so much about the wooly mammoth?
a. Humans saw them alive.
b. They lived in Northern Asia, Europe and North America.
c. Because they were so massive and mighty.
d. Their bodies got frozen in the ice.


1. 長毛象和大象有什麼樣的關連?
a. 它們是有親緣但存在於不同時期。
b. 它們在任何事物上都沒有關聯。
c. 它們幾乎在同一時期同時存在,但很不同。
d. 它們存在不同時期,但是相同的物種。

2. 為什麼我們知道長毛象的這麼多資訊?
a. 人們親眼看到。
b. 它們存在在北亞、歐洲和北美。
c. 因為它們很多且強壯的。
d. 它們的屍體被結凍在冰裡。


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