Frozen Mammoths - What Really Happened?

Wayne Spencer

In March of 2001 the Discovery televison channel aired two programs called Raising the Mammoth and Land of the Mammoth. These very interesting programs tell about the discovery and excavation of the remains of a particular mammoth in Siberia, discovered a few years ago. It's been called the Jarkov Mammoth. Scientists removed a large block of frozen ground with the mammoth remains inside it and took it away for study. The frozen ground of Siberia has been known for many years to contain mammoth remains. Estimates of the number of buried mammoths is in the millions. Fisherman working in the Black Sea North of Siberia also have found many mammoth bones or tusks or other remains while fishing. There has been a thriving ivory trade in Siberia for years from the mammoth tusks. The ground of Siberia is frozen much of the year, when it is not frozen it is soft and sometimes very wet and boggy. The wet mixture of clay, silt, mud, and water is known as "tundra." 

Creationists have written about the frozen mammoths for years. Unfortunately sometimes creationists have spread some unreliable information and have not collected adequate facts on this subject. An influential book by a creationist once said that the mammoths must have been quick frozen at extremely cold temperatures like 100 to 150 degrees below zero. Various ideas have also been put forward to connect this rapid freezing to Noah's Flood. These authors usually have argued that the mammoths were living in the preflood world and when the Flood began, somehow events occurred that froze and buried the animals. There are several problems with this creationist scenario. 

Recently, in the Technical Journal, published by Answers in Genesis, there is an excellent new paper on the mammoths. It is written by Mr. Michael Oard, a meteorologist. There are a number of mysteries to this day about these mammoths. Neither creationists nor evolutionists have all the answers. But, by the evolutionary view of Earth history, there have been a number of ice ages and so evolutionists would say the mammoths lived during one of these ice ages. There are a number of problems with the evolutionist view of ice ages, although there is evidence that something like an ice age occurred. Most creationists with degrees in the sciences believe there was one ice age after Noah's Flood, lasting several hundred years. In fact, Noah's Flood helps explain why there would be an ice age in the first place, something evolutionary geology has trouble with. 

The mammoths found in Siberia and Alaska would have lived after Noah's Flood, they are not from the preflood world. The remains are found generally in various unconsolidated (not hardened to rock) layers that lie on top of hundreds of meters of sedimentary rock that seem to clearly be from the Flood. Mammoths could have multiplied to huge numbers in the post-Flood years. Mammoths required lots of vegetation to eat and they would have lived in grassland areas. Mammoths would not have lived in extremely cold arctic regions. We know this because we know they did not have fur like arctic animals, they had hair. There have been a few carcasses of mammoths that still had hair on them, including the Jarkov mammoth shown on the Discovery channel. We also know they ate flowers and other plants that would not grow in an arctic environment. 

When the glaciers of the ice age melted back it would have left the areas where mammoths lived very wet. Somehow a great deal of clay mud and silt was washed into Northern Siberia and Alaska. To this day scientists aren't sure where all the mud came from. Wind blown dust storms and volcanic eruptions could be possibilities. The glaciers would have left sedimentary deposits themselves also. The large amounts of mud, silt, and water would have made it impossible for many of the grasses and plants that mammoths ate to survive. The climate would have changed also as the glaciers melted back. The areas that were once beautiful grasslands that supported all kinds of large animals including large cats, mammoths, and even the wooly rhinocerous, turned into a cold frozen wasteland where almost nothing would grow. Then the mammoths had trouble finding food and they often got trapped in deep mud. They would get into ponds and rivers to eat the plants living in the water and then get trapped in the mud. Some were buried quickly and then frozen. A few well known specimens of mammoth remains were relatively well preserved. But even the most well preserved known were not in "normal" condition. Many have been partially eaten and were found with broken bones. The skeleton's of most are scattered over some area. Some clearly got themselves trapped in some way and others were overtaken by some catastrophic mud flow or storm perhaps. 

The mammoths are testimony to the dramatic changes the Earth went through after Noah's Flood. There were difficult times for animals and humans living in that period. People lived in Siberia and Alaska where the mammoths lived and hunting or trapping the mammoths in many ways helped these people to survive. Many animals were saved on Noah's Ark from the Flood itself, only to go extinct in the Post-Flood years due to the changes in the Earth caused by the Flood. 


Brown, Walt; In the Beginning, Center for Scientific Creation, 1995.

Oard, Michael; "The extinction of the woolly mammoth: was it a quick freeze?," Creation Ex Nihilo Technical Journal (now TJ), Vol. 14, No. 3, 2000, pp 24-34.

Oard, Michael; An Ice Age Caused by the Genesis Flood, Institute for Creation Research, 1990. 

Helfinstine, Robert; "Mammoth Remains: What Do They Indicate?," Bible-Science Newsletter, Bible Science Association, April 1990.

TV Programs from the Discovery Channel: "Raising the Mammoth" and "Land of the Mammoth," 2000.