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Here it is in context:

When people appeared in Australia, many species died off. This is true of Europe. Think woolly mammoth.

What does it mean and why there is no article before "wolly mammoth"?

3

Interesting question. It is an idiom used by article-writers. I think of it as having implied quotation marks, so it really means

Think "woolly mammoth".

i.e.

Think of the concept "woolly mammoth".

But this is not a very convincing argument.

I think you just have to accept this idiom "Think [name of a concept>]".

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  • Exactly, no doubt about it. – Lambie Dec 5 '17 at 0:49
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"Think woolly mammoth" is not quite grammatically correct, but it's a conversational and emphatic gambit Americans sometimes use. It is, however, basically shorthand for "think of woolly mammoths as an example of the premise."

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    Being an imperative has nothing to do with whether there is an article (or, for that matter, a preposition). "Think about a woolly mammoth" is an imperative. So is "Consider a woolly mammoth", but "consider woolly mammoth" does not make sense. – Colin Fine Dec 4 '17 at 22:59
  • The OP didn't ask about the missing preposition, but it was my bad to think article. I thought the OP was asking about the missing pronoun, for some reason. I will change my answer. – joiedevivre Dec 4 '17 at 23:02
  • It is grammatically correct. In English, to draw someone's attention to something in writing we say: Think [x]. This is used as an example of some preceding idea. – Lambie Dec 5 '17 at 0:49
  • If you are talking about descriptive grammar, then yes, it's grammatically correct, because as both of us mentioned, it is something that people say and people understand. It's a correct idiom. But the OP may have been confused because the idiom doesn't follow the rules of prescriptive grammar, so I was simple confirming that that was true. The rest of your comment basically repeats what I said in my answer. – joiedevivre Dec 5 '17 at 17:42
  • But it is grammatically correct, in fact. It's merely an imperative of the verb think.... – Lambie Dec 5 '17 at 18:25

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