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MASTODON  americanus

Mastodon americanus - Pleistocene

Oil painting : 18" x 21"

MASTODON americanus
 This unusual large mammal lived in North America during the
Pleistocene epoch until the end of the ice age. It roamed the earth
for over a million years, but suddenly disappeared (perhaps because of the climate changes). It was one of the largest land animals living during the ice age. Mastodon belonged to the family Mammutidae, that originated in North Africa, spreading to Eurasia and entering North America 15 million years ago. Its name means "nipple tooth". These elephant-like animals were affected by environmental changes. Mastodons living during the middle of the last glaciation were small, whereas those living later in forests were larger. It was mostly adapted to conifer forests and marsh. It fed on plants (conifer twigs, swamp plants, larch, spruce, pine, grass, mosses, etc.) and used its tusks to break branches.
Mastodon had rather short, straight tusks and sharp cheek teeth. Females were smaller, their tusks were lighter and smaller than those of males. They had coats of fine underwool, overlain by abundant hair (2-7 inches in length).
Fossils of mastodons are commonly found all over the North America and Canada. Mastodon americanus was first recognized in 1799 by well-known French anatomist Baron Cuvier.

RANGE: North America, Canada
SIZE: about 4.5 m long body, 2-3 m in shoulder height
TIME - Pleistocene


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