After the dinosaurs it is the woolly mammoth that has most captured popular imaginations the world over. The thought of giant furry elephants, roaming the frozen Siberian wastes, conjures up a period of time not so long ago, when our ancestors struggled to survive against all odds in the severest of climates. Claudine Cohen’s The Fate of the Mammoth is not quite what the title suggests. I thought I would be immersing myself into a natural history of the woolly mammoth, but instead very early on I found that Cohen planned to tell a different history. This book begins with...

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