For around 100,000 years, during the Quaternary period, the mammoth lived throughout almost all of Europe. During the last glaciation, it entered North America through the Behring Strait, which then emerged. Throughout this time, he was contemporary with European man, as evidenced by the cave paintings and sculpted objects that represent him.

Its size is comparable to that of the Asian elephant. It also shares, with the latter, the same structure of molars with numerous and parallel crests. It differs from the African elephant whose molar surfaces have diamond-shaped ridges.

The mammoth's curved tusks, which are long incisors, reached up to 4 meters in length. Like current elephants, the mammoth had only one functional molar per half-jaw. This was replaced, after wear, by the molar located behind. This mode of dental irruption is unique to elephants.

Accustomed to cold climates, its body was covered in thick woolen fur and hair (the jars) which could be 50 centimeters long.

The last representatives of Mammuthus primigenius became extinct around 10,000 to 11,000 years ago, at the end of the last ice age.

Today, mammoth tusks are discovered at the bottom of the North Sea or under the frozen ground of Siberia or Alaska, mainly during construction, renovation or excavation in mines.

During their long stay underground, they absorbed minerals which may have colored them. The parts most exposed to the elements present a variety of colors ranging from brown, orange, greenish or bluish. The ivory in the center of the defense has retained its creamy white color.

Mammoth ivory being fossilized, its trade is therefore perfectly legal in all countries (unlike elephant ivory, the sale of which is highly regulated). It is generally easy to identify mammoth ivory (with its characteristic cracks and colors) except when the piece of ivory comes from inside the tusk where it is ivory/creamy white in color. In this case, we must rely on Schreger lines to identify whether the ivory comes from a mammoth or an elephant.

To identify the source of a piece of ivory, you need to closely observe a slice and check the angle formed by the crossing of the Schreger lines. If the angle is smaller than 90 degrees, the piece of ivory comes from a mammoth. If the angle is greater than 115 degrees, it is a piece of elephant ivory.