Systematics and Taxonomy
Mammut americanum belongs to the Mammutidae family and there are about 15 different species of mastodon. Mastodons are a much older taxon than mammoths or elephants. Mastodons share a common ancestor with mammoths and elephants but evolved millions of years before mammoths and elephants. For example, the earliest mastodon is at least 27 million years old; the oldest known elephants are likely not older than 9 million years; the oldest mammoth is from Africa and dates to about 6-5 million years. As mastodons evolved they became much larger (from rhino-sized to elephant-sized) and their teeth became broader.
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