Elephants have been depicted in mythology, symbolism, and popular culture. They are both revered in religion and respected for their prowess in war. They are treated positively and are sometimes revered as deities, often symbolizing strength and wisdom.
The Earth is supported and guarded by mythical World Elephants at the compass points of the cardinal directions, according to the Hindu cosmology of ancient India. The classical Sanskrit literature also attributes earthquakes to the shaking of their bodies when they tire. Wisdom is represented by the elephant in the form of the deity Ganesha, one of the most popular gods in the Hindu religion's pantheon.
In Buddhist iconography, the elephant is associated with Queen Māyā of Sakya, the mother of Gautama Buddha. In Islamic tradition, the year 570 is when the Prophet Muhammad was born and is known as the Year of the Elephant. The elephant as the symbol for the Republican Party of the United States originated in an 1874 political cartoon of an Asian elephant by Thomas Nast in Harper's Weekly.
As members of the family Elephantidae, woolly mammoths were themselves elephants. Columbian mammoths were giants that roamed North America in the Pleistocene. Modern elephants and woolly mammoths share a common ancestor that split into separate species about 6 million years ago, the study reports.
The woolly mammoth was well adapted to the cold environment during the last ice age. The most obvious feature was, of course, its hair and wool. It was covered in fur, with an outer covering of long guard hairs and a shorter undercoat. The colour of the coat varied from dark to light.
Where and how the word "mammoth" originated is unclear. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it comes from an old Vogul word mēmoŋt, "earth-horn". It may be a version of mehemot, the Arabic version of the biblical word "behemoth". It is also curious to see possible etymological connections between the word "mehemot" and the Arabic word "mehmet" meaning 'praiseworthy' or 'commendable.'
Güyük, the 13th-century Khan of the Mongols, is reputed to have sat on a throne made from mammoth ivory.
Prophet Noble Drew stated that: “The watchdog of the Moors is not a dog, but an elephant.”