mastodon

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mastodon

(măs`tədŏn'), name for a number of prehistoric mammals of the extinct genus Mammut, from which modern elephants are believed to have developed. The earliest known forms lived in the Oligocene epoch in Africa. These were long-jawed mastodons about 4 1-2 ft (137 cm) high, with four tusks and a greatly elongated face. Their descendants in the Miocene epoch were the size of large elephants, the latest forms having long, flexible trunks, like those of elephants, and only two tusks. During Miocene times they spread over Europe, Asia, and North America. The mastodons were forest dwellers; they obtained their food by browsing and their teeth were more numerous and of a simpler form than those of the elephant. They were apparently extinct in the Old World by the early Pleistocene epoch but survived in North America until late Pleistocene times. They are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Mammalia, order Proboscidae, family Mammutidae.

mastodon

[′mas·tə‚dän]
(paleontology)
A member of the Mastodontidae, especially the genus Mammut.

mastodon

similar to the elephant, the mastodon is now extinct. [Ecology: Hammond, 290]

mastodon

any extinct elephant-like proboscidean mammal of the genus Mammut (or Mastodon), common in Pliocene times
References in periodicals archive ?
Cuvier's term Mastodon has frequently been used as a generic name for the American mastodon, and "Mastodon americanus" is still used in a loose sense today because it is so prevalent in the literature (Jepsen 1960).
The foregoing are synonymous names, names that have been used in past years for the American mastodon in Michigan.
One of the differences between the American mastodon and the mammoth is the way the tusks leave the skull.
The cheek teeth of the American mastodon consist of six on each side of each jaw.
See Table 1 for measurements of American mastodon teeth in the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology.
Benjamin Franklin, who was one of the first to study such teeth systematically, concluded that it would have been impossible for the American mastodon to have eaten meat.
Near Newburgh, in the State of New York, an American mastodon was discovered in 1845.
MacAlpin (1940) listed 114 specimens of the American mastodon that had been found in Michigan.
According to the above radiocarbon dates, the American mastodon became extinct somewhere after 6,000 years ago.
Over the decades, as more and more bones and teeth have been discovered and as parallel studies have been conducted, it has become possible to make inferences about the habitats of American mastodon (M.
Mammutamericanum, Utah's first record of the American mastodon.

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