Lord Jeffrey Mammoth

Announcing: the Amherst Mammoths.

On the Boston Globe site on the 3rd, “After sending Lord Jeff packing, Amherst College picks mammoth as mascot”:

Amherst College announced Monday that it had selected the mammoth as its new mascot, turning to a signature member of the institution’s natural history collection as its new symbol and concluding a lengthy — and at times controversial — debate over how best to represent the selective liberal arts school.

“The word mammoth conjures up an image of a mighty, imposing and fierce animal — the perfect symbol of Amherst’s strength, academically and athletically,” a college spokeswoman said in a statement.

The college, whose Beneski Museum of Natural History has kept a skeleton of a Columbian mammoth since 1925, had decided more than a year ago to do away with its unofficial mascot, Lord Jeff. That name had historical connotations that drew increasing concern around campus. Lord Jeffery Amherst, who commanded British forces in North America during the French and Indian War, supported giving smallpox-contaminated blankets to Indians, historians say.

The mammoth will be the school’s official mascot, a distinction that Lord Jeff never held, and one that will allow it to be featured on sports garb and promotional materials.

Amherst chose the mascot after voting by alumni, students, faculty, and staff. Close to half of the 9,295 votes were cast for the mammoth, school officials said. The vanquished finalists were the Fighting Poets, Purple and White, Valley Hawks, and Wolves.

In the Beneski Museum, the Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi) with digitally added Amherst College hat:


(Hat tips to Tim Pierce and Michael Palmer.)

The Columbian mammoth in #1 shares the Mammals of the Ice Age space in the Main Hall with an American mastodon (Mammut americanum) and an “Irish elk” (Megaloceros giganteus), the skeleton with the impressive antlers. From Wikipedia:

Megaloceros (from Greek: μεγαλος, megalos + κερας, keras, literally “Great Horn”…) is an extinct genus of deer whose members lived throughout Eurasia from the late Pliocene to the Late Pleistocene and were important herbivores during the Ice Ages. The largest species, Megaloceros giganteus, vernacularly known as the “Irish Elk” or “Giant elk”, is also the best known.

End note: a word about Lord Jeff. From Wikipedia:

Field Marshal Jeffery Amherst, 1st Baron Amherst KB (29 January 1717 – 3 August 1797) served as an officer in the British Army and as Commander-in-Chief of the Forces.

Amherst is best known as the architect of Britain’s successful campaign to conquer the territory of New France during the Seven Years’ War. Under his command, British forces captured the cities of Louisbourg, Quebec City and Montreal, as well as several major fortresses. He was also the first British Governor General in the territories that eventually became Canada. Numerous places and streets are named for him, in both Canada and the United States.


You can listen here to the Amherst College Glee Club singing the story of Lord Jeff.

Now: Oh Mammoth! Brave Mammoth! / ‘Twas a name known to fame in days of yore. / 
May it ever be glorious 
/ Till the sun shall climb the heav’ns no more.

One Response to “Lord Jeffrey Mammoth”

  1. Christopher Gibson '78 Says:

    The Mammoths name is Jeffrey:

    Lord Jeffrey Mammoth was a regal Ice Age King
    That walked across the Bering Sea
    To the sabre cats and n’anderthals
    He didn’t do a thing, in the wilds of this wild country.
    In the wilds of this wild country

    Now for the parades’ survival he would fight with all his might
    For he was a pachyderm loyal and beau
    He flattened all the enemies that came within his sight
    And he’s painted on the walls of Lascaux.

    Oh Jeffrey, brave Jeffrey
    Was the biggest of the beasts in days of y’ore
    May he ever be glorious
    Til the ice consumes Pangea no more.

    Now Lord Jeffrey Mammoth is the beast with whom we’re stuck
    At our College upon the hill
    It’s not the greatest choice but unlike “Eph’s” it doesn’t suck
    So we shall proudly impose our will
    Proudly impose our will.

    You can shout about your cardinals, purple cows and all the rest,
    Which are just as short on symbolism
    He’s a MAMMOTH and the best
    And fore’er we will stand fast for him.

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