Mammuthus exilis Stock & Furlong, 1928

Pygmy Mammoth, Channel Islands mammoth



Taxonomy & Nomenclature



Conservation Status


Last record: c. 9,000 BC



Channel Islands (San Miguel, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz), California, USA


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Stock, Chester and Furlong, E. L. (1928). The Pleistocene elephants of Santa Rosa Island, California. Science 68(1754): 140-141. [Abstract]


Other references:

Agenbroad, L. D. (in submission) Radiocarbon geochronology of Mammuthus exilis on the California Channel Islands: A review plus new 14C dates since 1994.

Agenbroad, L. D. (1998). New pygmy mammoth (Mammuthus exilis) localities and radiocarbon dates from San Miguel, Santa Rosa, and Santa Cruz Islands, California. in Weigand, P., ed., Contributions to the Geology of the Northern Channel Islands, Southern California. Pacific Section of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists, Bakersfield, California: 169-175.

Agenbroad, L. D. (2001). Channel Islands (USA) pygmy mammoths (Mammuthus exilis) compared and contrasted with M. columbi, their continental ancestral stock, pp. 473-475. In: Cavarretta, C., Gioia, P., Mussi, M. and Palombo, M. R. (eds.). The World of Elephants – International Congress, Rome. Proceedings of the 1st international congress – Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche, Rome. [automatic download]

Agenbroad, L. D. (2003). New absolute dates and comparisons for California’s Mammuthus exilis. In: Reumer, J.W.F., J. de Vos, D. Mol. Eds. 2003. advances in mammoth research. Proceedings of the second international mammoth conference rotterdam, 16-20 may 1999. Rotterdam, nmr (deinsea 9): 41-16.

Agenbroad, Larry D. (2012). Giants and pygmies: Mammoths of Santa Rosa Island, California (USA). Quaternary International, special issue Mammoths and Their Relatives 1: Biotopes, Evolution and Human Impact V International Conference, Le Puy-en-Velay, 2010 255: 2-8. [Abstract]

Alcover, Josep Antoni et al. (1998). Mammal Species of the World: Additional Data on Insular Mammals. American Museum Novitates 3248, 29 pp., 1 table.

Azzaroli, A. (1981). About pigmy mammoths of the Northern Channel Islands and other island faunas. Quaternary Research 16: 423-425.

Curtin AJ, Macdowell AA, Schaible EG, Roth L. (2012). Noninvasive histological comparison of bone growth patterns among fossil and extant neonatal elephantids using synchrotron radiation X-ray microtomography. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 32: 939-955. [Abstract]

Enk J, Devault A, Widga C, Saunders J, Szpak P, Southon J, Rouillard J-M, Shapiro B, Golding GB, Zazula G, Froese D, Fisher DC, MacPhee RDE and Poinar H. (2016). Mammuthus Population Dynamics in Late Pleistocene North America: Divergence, Phylogeography, and Introgression. Front. Ecol. Evol. 4:42. doi: 10.3389/fevo.2016.00042

Hooijer, D. A. (1976). Observations on the pygmy mammoths of the Channel Islands, California, pp. 220-225. In: Churcher, C. S. (ed.). Essays on Palaeontology in Honor of Loris Shano Russell. Ontario: Royal Ontario Museum.

Htun, Thein. (2020). Allometric trends in the ontogenetic growth of various Pleistocene North American proboscideans and the dwarfing of Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) the Channel Islands pygmy mammoth (Mammuthus exilis). MSc thesis, California State Polytechnic University.

Htun, Thein et al. (2018). Allometric trends in dwarfing in the extinct Pleistocene Channel Islands pygmy mammoth, Mammuthus exilis, pp. 261-265. In: Lucas, Spences G. and Sullivan, Robert M. (eds). Fossil Record 6(1). New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science Bulletin 79.

Jefferson, G. T. 1991. A catalogue of Late Quaternary vertebrates from California. Part two: Mammals. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Technical Reports 7:1-129.

Joger, U. and Garrido, G. (2001). Phylogenetic position of Elephas, Loxodonta and Mammuthus, based on molecular evidence, pp. 544-547. In: Cavarretta, C., Gioia, P., Mussi, M. and Palombo, M. R. (eds.). The World of Elephants – International Congress, Rome. Proceedings of the 1st international congress – Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche, Rome. [automatic download]

Johnson, D. L. (1978). The origin of island mammoths and the Quaternary land bridge history of the Northern Channel Islands, California. Quaternary Research 10: 204-225.

Johnson, D. L. (1981). More comments on the northern Channel Island mammoths. Quaternary Research 15: 105-106.

Madden, C. T. (1977). Elephants of the Santa Barbara Channel Islands, southern California. Geological Society of America. Abstracts with Programs 9: 458-459.

Madden, C. T. (1981). Letters to the editor: origin(s) of mammoths from Northern Channel Islands, California. Quaternary Research 15: 101-104.

Mead, Jim I. et al. (2020). Proboscideans from US National Park Service Lands. Eastern Paleontologist 6: 1-48.

Muhs, Daniel R. et al. (In Press, 2015). Late Quaternary sea-level history and the antiquity of mammoths (Mammuthus exilis and Mammuthus columbi), Channel Islands National Park, California, USA. Quaternary Research. doi:10.1016/j.yqres.2015.03.001 [Abstract]

Orr, P. C. (1956a). Radiocarbon mammoths, and man on Santa Rosa Island. Geological Society of America Bulletin 67:1777.

Orr, P. C. (1956b). Dwarf mammoth and man on Santa Rosa Island. University of Utah Anthropological Papers 26:75-81.

Orr, P. C. (1959). Santa Rosa Island dwarf mammoths. Museum Talk. Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History. pp. 25-29.

Orr, P. C. (1968). Prehistory of Santa Rosa Island: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History [1968]: 1- 253.

Parry, Lauren E. (2020). Paleoecology of Columbian and Pygmy Mammoths in Southern Nevada and California: How Terminal Pleistocene Ecosystems Shaped Mammoths at the Individual, Population, and Community Level. PhD thesis, University of Nevada. [Preview]

Roth, V. L. (1982). Dwarf mammoths from the Santa Barbara, California Channel Islands: size, shape, development, and evolution. Unpublished Ph.D. Dissertation. Yale University. University Microfilms. Ann Arbor.

Roth, V. L. (1984). How elephants grow: heterochrony and the calibration of developmental stages in some living and fossil species. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 4: 126-145.

Roth, V. L. (1990). Insular dwarf elephants: a case study in body mass estimation and ecological inference. In Body size in mammalian paleobiology: estimation and biological implications. (eds. J. Damuth, and B. J. MacFadden), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p. 151-179.

Roth, V. L. (1992). Inferences from allometry and fossils: dwarfing of elephants on islands. In Oxford surveys in evolutionary biology. Volume 8 (eds., D. Futuyma, and J. Antonovics), Oxford University Press, New York, p. 259-288.

Roth, V. L. (1993). Dwarfism and variability in the Santa Rosa Island mammoth: an interspecific comparison of limb bone sizes and shapes in elephants, pp. 433-442. In: Hochberg, F. G. (ed.). Third California Islands Symposium: Recent Advances in Research on the California Islands. Santa Barbara: Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Roth, V. L. (1996). Pleistocene dwarf elephants from the California Islands, pp. 249-253. In: Shoshani, J. H. and Tassy, P. (eds.). The Proboscidea. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press.

Stearns, R. E. C. (1873). [no title: paraphrase of comments attributed to Stearns in minutes of Academy's regular meeting] Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 5: 152.

Stock, Chester. (1935). Exiled elephant of the Channel Islands, California. Scientific Monthly 41: 205-214.

Stock, Chester. (1943). Foxes and elephants of the Channel Islands. Los Angeles County Museum Quarterly 3: 6-9.

Tikhonov, A. (1997). Zoological Institute Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg, Russia. Department of History of fauna. EroMam Newsletter [1997]: 14-15.

Wenner, A. M., J. Cushing, E. Noble, and M. Daly, 1991. Mammoth radiocarbon dates from the northern Channel Islands, California. Proceedings of the Society for California Archaeology 4: 1-6.


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