How does the first generation of mammoths know how to be a mammoth. They can't learn from parents or other mammoths?
I often wonder about this for other species too.
I have a cat. She's a rescue cat from the local rescue centre. She came from a home in Belfast where the current resident cat had a litter of 5 that the family couldn't / wouldn't look after so were given to the rescue centre within a couple of weeks. A couple of weeks after that her 4 siblings were rehomed leaving her on her own. We adopted her at 8 weeks and she's been the sole cat in our home ever since (she's now 8 years old). When I was growing up we always had at least one cat so you get to know the sorts of things they do seemingly as built in actions, such as scrape the wall trying to bury their dinner, attack your arm with what I call the 'hug and bite'. Taking my current cat as an example she hasn't been around her mother to learn these actions, nor has she been around other cats to learn them. The conclusion is that they are instinctive actions, baked into their consciousness. An idea I find fascinating.
It's the same idea for a Mammoth. Perhaps part of the make up of a Mammoth is the baked in instinct for how to be a Mammoth, and without that part they would not be a Mammoth.
This is getting into the realms of philosophy very quickly here, best stop.
In my opinion, extinction plays a key role in the cycle of life. In fact, the next sequels of Jurassic Park touch on that very thing - dinosaurs "mixing" in with civilization, and it does not go well, to say the least. Although mammoths are not dinosaurs, and were originally thought to have been hunted to extinction (new theories are now pointing to the Ice Age as the reason : BBC article), I still think it holds similar for them.
Here's an interesting thing about the current cat population: most countries have programs to neuter and spay domestic cats to prevent over population. This sounds reasonable enough other than the fact that by restricting the perpetuation of the domesticated breed it leaves mostly the ferals to breed like crazy. So as much as us humans want our cats to be nice and friendly, we are preventing it happening and the majority of them are not far detached from a feral. Research also says that any domestic cat will be fully feral again within three generations if left to fend for itself.