Organism of the Day #4

Mastodon, meaning nipple tooth.

Mastodons are completely separate animals from Mammoths




The mastodon of earlier ages was massive, much like the modern-day elephants we see in Asia and Africa. The common female mastodon was around 2.3 meters (7’ 7”) at the shoulders. The larger males of the species could peak at 2.8 meters (9’ 2”) tall at the shoulders. Among some of the heaviest specimens recorded include specimen AMNH 9950, who was found to be 2.89 m (9’ 6”) tall and weighed 7.8 tons. Another unnamed fossil was 3.25 m (10’ 9”) tall and weighed a whopping 22000 lbs or 11 tons. The mastodons were also drenched in a thick fur, like its mammoth relative

The mastodons were herbivores, as told by fossilized jaws, which are lined with blunt and dull molars, specialized for breaking down plant matter and even the branches from trees.

Foremost, mastodons are significantly older than mammoths and roamed a different part in the world. Whereas the mammoths appeared near 5 million years ago roaming Africa, the mastodon reigned 27-30 million years ago in North and Central America. Unfortunately, mammoths survived long enough through the years to have their population be hunted to near extinction from primal humans. Compared to mammoths, mastodons also have additional differences in biology. The heads of the great beasts were flatter, with the tusks positioned in a different way that the tusks of the mammoths. The mastodons were also shorter, with smaller legs to support the huge mass of the beasts. However, the most critical difference to note is the difference between the teeth. The mammoths were more suited for grazing like modern elephants whereas mastodons, as previously mentioned, were able to crush vegetation with great force.

The exact range of the animals is relatively unknown due to the only information having to go off of being conclusions reached through fossil evidence. What is known is that mastodons roamed all across America during the Late Pleistocene era. Mastodon fossil sites exist in a wide range, from as far north as Alaska to as east and as south as Florida and up to New England. The mastodons, however, chose to not adventure into South America.


To continue this thriving, I would enjoy some input from all like 1 person that actually reads all the way through. It is hard to find thematic specimens to conduct posts on so if you happen to be reading this and want to know more about any organism, inform me. If there’s enough information available, it will most likely happen

Illustration from the encyclopedia Britannica comparing the size of the mastodon, mammoth, and elephant.