University of Waterloo
200 University Ave. W.
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Phone: (519) 888-4567 ext. 32469
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65.5 Million Years Ago - 10,000 Years Ago
The Cenozoic Era Animals
Highlights of the Cenozoic
The Earth has been through numerous cooling and subsequent warming periods since its formation. The last major cooling period occurred from 70,000 years to 10,000 years ago, in which extensive ice sheets covered large parts of North America and Eurasian continents. At least 7 ice ages have been recognized.
It may be hard to imagine, but about 20,000 years ago Canada was at the peak of its last glaciations and 97% of Canada was entirely covered by ice! The animals which lived on the planet at this time had to adjust so many of them had thick coats of fur. Please scroll down the page and learn more about the ice age mammal.
There were many different types of mammoths living in both the old and new world as recently as 10,000 years ago. The Woolly, Northern or Siberian mammoth is by far the best known of all the mammoths. We know quite a lot about the Woolly mammoth from skeletal remains, cave paintings, and by examination of carcasses of these elephants recovered from the permafrost in Siberia.
The woolly mammoth was about 3 metres tall at the shoulder and was well adapted to cold climate. They were covered in a woolly, yellowish-brown undercoat about 3 cm thick beneath a coarser outer covering of dark brown hair up to 50 cm long. Paleolithic artists also illustrated the mammoth covered with long shaggy hair. Mammoth tusks a metre or more in length have been found in many localities. Tusk fragments were found in the west Lorne area in June 1982.
To view our Mammoth and Mastodon Collection Image Gallery, please click here!
In the summer of 2009, Brittany Groves, an NSERC co-op student, undertook a research project for the Earth Sciences Museum, to investigate and record the mastodons and mammoths found in southern Ontario. The project involved contacting 190 museums in Ontario, researching historical documents and tracking down known specimens and their current location. The information gathered from the project will be used to create a database of mastodon and mammoth finds to be used for further research and also to create material for public education.
This project stems from the circumstances that started with Shirley Fenton finding a box of unusual objects in her family’s attic, in 2006. Shirley brought these objects to Peter Russell, curator of the Earth Sciences Museum, at the University of Waterloo, who identified them as three mastodon teeth and a lower tusk. When Peter found out the Fenton family home was in Highgate, he suggested a Google search for Highgate mastodon, to see if any other finds would pop up. To their surprise, the most complete mastodon skeleton ever found in Southern Ontario was found in Highgate, and was on display at the North Dakota Heritage Centre in Bismarck, North Dakota. This presented Peter with many more questions on the subject. To read the rest of the Highgate Mastodon story, search for Highgate Mastodon in Google.
To date, 98 mastodon, 32 mammoth and 30 indeterminate proboscidea sites have been recorded in Southern Ontario. The largest concentrations of these are mastodon sites along the north shore of Lake Erie.
View a Map that shows the approximate locations of these finds and what exactly was found at them.
Carved stegodon tusk
Stegodons lived there until 11,000 years ago
For further information on the sites, please contact the Earth Sciences Museum at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Indigenous Initiatives Office.