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Now sadly extinct, these species (of the genus Mammuthus proboscideans) were alive in the Pliocene era approximately 4.8 million years ago up to around 4,000 years ago in Europe, Asia and America. They are, though, most associated with the northern parts of Siberia, not least because that is where the majority are now being found having been preserved in the permafrost. Most mammoths died out at the end of the last ice-age but a definite reason for their mass extinction has not yet positively been ascertained. The woolly mammoth was the last of the species. They were believed to have died out in Europe and Southern Siberia around 12,000 years ago, although recent findings suggest that there were still some around 10,000 years ago. Slightly later they disappeared from Northern Siberia also. There is some evidence suggesting that a small number even survived until around 2,000 BC on a Russian island. Mammoths are still being uncovered in Siberia and most prized are their tusks. Sadly these are becoming increasingly rare in the fossil trade as most of the tusks are being sold in bulk to the Chinese market for carving (as elephant ivory is now protected) hence making whole specimens of their tusks much harder to find in the West, although many Natural History museums do have Mammoth fossils.