Comprehensive Description

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Comprehensive Description

Mastodons are part of the order Proboscidea, which also includes mammoths and other elephants. Species in this order can be immense in size, and the larger species have massive column-like limbs, a long and flexible trunk, and well-developed tusks.

Mastodons lived from the early Miocene to the Holocene (about 23 million to ~ 10,000 years ago). Mastodons preferred to live in spruce woodlands and forests but were also found to live in valleys, lowlands, and swamps.

Mammut americanum was an herbivore, which means it only ate plants. Mammut americanum mostly ate coniferous trees. They would eat twigs, cones, leaves, and pine needles.

Between 9,000 and 12,000 years ago mastodons went extinct.

The term Mammut comes from European farmers from the Middle Ages and means “earth burrower”. The farmers found the massive bones in their fields and thought they belonged to monstrous burrowing beasts.


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© Sanzenbacher, Beth

Source: EOL Rapid Response Team


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