Because of space constrictions on the tomb wall these portrayals are shown in a rough echelon of scale, the larger animals are shown as larger than smaller species, but not to full proportion. The tallest animal is the giraffe which stands a little taller than the Nubian leading him. Other animals shown are scaled roughly in proportion down from the giraffe based upon their relative sizes, with one notable exception, the elephant. The elephant is little larger than the bear which precedes it in procession. That makes the elephant the most interesting animal in the tomb and it also brings up a fascinating question. What kind of elephant is it anyway?
The only elephantid with the domed head, small ears, huge tusks, and covered with hair that I can think of was the wooly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius). But, in ca. 1479 to 1401 B.C. how could they have seen a mammoth to portray in Rekhmire’s tomb.
According to Wikipedia, “during the last ice age, woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius) lived on Wrangel Island in the Arctic Ocean. It has been shown that mammoths survived on Wrangel Island until 1700 B.C.E., the most recent survival of any known mammoth population.” This time frame is close enough to the 1479 B.C.E. of the beginning of the reign of Tuthmose III to make me wonder. The latest date from dwarf mammoth remains on Wrangel Island (1700 B.C.E.) surely does not represent the last individual to perish, so many must have lived longer. That makes it conceivable to imagine an overlap in time between the existence of dwarf mammoths on Wrangel Island, and the creation of Rekhmire’s tomb. Could a representative captive sample of Wrangel Island dwarf mammoths actually been traded from far northeastern Siberia to Syria, to be presented to an Egyptian pharaoh as tribute? Stranger things have happened.