How Big Do Tusks Get?
Mammoths have two sets of tusks. The first set, called the milk tusks, are very small and are present when mammoths are 6 months to one year old. The second set of tusks is permanent.
Tusks have a thin enamel covering but they are mostly made of two materials: cementum and dentine. Cementum is a bonelike substance that supports a tooth. Dentine is located under the enamel in a tooth. It is the tissue that makes up most of the tooth.
It is difficult to tell how old a mammoth was when it died by measuring the length of the tusk, because the tusks are used for fighting or digging and tusks can break. The largest tusk found so far belonged to a Columbian mammoth from Texas and it was 16 feet long!
Unlike elephant tusks, mammoth tusks (especially those of woolly mammoths), twist like a corkscrew. The left and right tusks twist in opposite directions.
The curvature of mammoth tusks is clearly demonstrated in this painting by Karen Carr.
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