Via Live Science:
Woolly mammoths weren’t always the shaggy beasts depicted in books and movies. And now, scientists have a better idea of when these behemoths evolved some of their most iconic traits.
Researchers from Sweden compared the genomes of 23 Siberian woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) to the genomes of 28 modern-day Asian elephants (Elephas maximus) and African elephants (Loxodonta). They found that over the course of the megafauna’s more than 700,000 years of existence, its “trademark features” — such as woolly fur, small ears and large fat deposits — evolved too, according to a study published April 7 in the journal Current Biology.