genus of mammals (fossil)

Mastodons or Mastodonts are elephants of the extinct genus Mammut and the family Mammutidae. Mastodons became extinct about 11,000 years ago.

Temporal range: early Pliocene – late Pleistocene, 5.3–0.011 mya
Mounted mastodon skeleton, Museum of the Earth.
Scientific classification

Hay, 1922

American mastodon molars at the State Museum of Pennsylvania

Mastodons, with mammoths, modern elephants and various older families, are members of the order Proboscidea. As adults they stood between 2.5 and 3 meters (8-10 feet) at the shoulder and weighed between 3500 and 5400 kilograms (4-6 tons).

Mastodons were browsers on leaves and branches, as shown by their molar teeth.

Two species change

M. americanum was the American mastodon, and M. pacificus was the Pacific mastodon. They are the youngest and best-known species of the genus. Mastodons disappeared from North America as part of a mass extinction of most of the Pleistocene megafauna.[1]

Recent discovery change

Stone tools and bones from a butchered mastodon were found at the bottom of a river in Florida. After a four-year investigation, researchers decided that humans lived there and made a meal of a mastodon 14,550 years ago.[2]

References change

  1. Dooley A.C; Scott E; Green J.; Springer K.B; Dooley B.S. & Smith G.J. 2019. Mammut pacificus sp. nov., a newly recognized species of mastodon from the Pleistocene of western North America. [1]
  2. Webb, Jonathan 2016. Mastodon meal scraps revise US prehistory. BBC News Science & Environment. [2]