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Since the name of the mastodon refers to its teeth, this article would benefit from a photograph of mastodon teeth. This would also let us compare them with Mammoth teeth on the Mammoth article. —MiguelMunoz (talk) 09:41, 22 February 2009 (UTC)


I read the article for the first time - the dates are a little confusing.

In the Habitat section it says:

[...] more recent radiocarbon dates have been found, such as 5200 BC in Seneca, Michigan,[3] 5140 BC in Utah,[4] 4150 BC in Washtenaw, Michigan,[5] 4080 BC in Lapeer, Michigan.

And in the Extinction section:

Recent studies indicate that tuberculosis may have been partly responsible for the extinction of the mastodon 10,000 years ago.

Might I propose:


A mastodon.

Mastodons are thought to have first appeared almost four million years ago. They were native to both Eurasia and North America - fossils having been found in England, Germany, the Netherlands, Romania[1] and northern Greece.

Though their habitat spanned a large territory, mastodons were most common in the ice age spruce forests of the eastern United States, as well as in warmer lowland environments.[2] Their remains have been found as far as 300 kilometers offshore of the northeastern United States, in areas that were dry land during the low sea level stand of the last ice age.[3] Mastodon fossils have been found on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, USA (Manis Mastodon Site),[4] in Kentucky (particularly noteworthy are early finds in what is now Big Bone Lick State Park);the floodplain of the East Branch of the DuPage River, near Glen Ellyn, Illinois;[5] the Kimmswick Bone Bed in Missouri; in Stewiacke, Nova Scotia, Canada; at a number of sites in New York State;[6] in Richland County, Wisconsin (Boaz mastodon); La Grange, Texas; Southern Louisiana; north of Fort Wayne, Indiana; Savannah, Georgia; and Johnstown, Ohio[7] USA.


Warren Mastodon skeleton

Mammut americanum is generally reported as having disappeared from North America about 10,000 years ago,[8] at the same time as most other Pleistocene megafauna. However more recent radiocarbon dates have been found, such as 5200 BC in Seneca, Michigan,[9] 5140 BC in Utah,[10] 4150 BC in Washtenaw, Michigan,[11] 4080 BC in Lapeer, Michigan.[12] It is known from fossils found ranging from present-day Alaska and New England in the north, to Florida, southern California, Mexico, and as far south as Honduras.[13]

Recent studies indicate that tuberculosis may have been partly responsible for its extinction. [14]Another influencing factor to their eventual extinction in America during the late Pleistocene may have been the presence of Paleo-Indians, who entered the American continent in relatively large numbers 13,000 years ago.[15] Their hunting caused a gradual attrition to the mastodon and mammoth populations, significant enough that over time the mastodons were hunted to extinction.[16]

In September 2007, Mark Holley, an underwater archaeologist with the Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve Council who teaches at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City, Michigan, said that they might have discovered a boulder (3.5 to 4 feet (1.2 m) high x 5 feet (1.5 m) long) with a prehistoric carving in the Grand Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan. The granite rock has markings that resemble a mastodon with a spear in its side. Confirmation that the markings are an ancient petroglyph will require more evidence.[17] (talk) 12:45, 15 July 2009 (UTC) thx xymx

I think part of the problem with the description in ages is the use of different terminology. It may get confusing using "thousand years ago" and then switching to B.C. dates. Seeing as this is a topic in paleontology, perhaps using the preferred geologic terminology would be best and maybe less confusing. Anyone else have any thoughts on that? Mcharles57 (talk) 02:29, 15 November 2010 (UTC)


  1. ^ 2.5 million-year-old mastodon unearthed in Romania
  2. ^ Kurtén, Björn and Elaine Anderson. Pleistocene Mammals of North America. New York: Columbia University Press, 1980, p. 344.
  3. ^ Kurtén and Anderson, p. 344.
  4. ^ Kirk, Ruth and Richard D. Daugherty. Archaeology in Washington. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2007.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Allmon, Warren D. and Peter L. Nester, editors. Mastodon Paleobiology, Taphonomy, and Paleoenvironment in the Late Pleistocene of New York State: Studies on the Hyde Park, Chemung, and North Java Sites. Ithaca, N.Y.: Paleontological Research Institution, 2008.
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Greek mastodon find 'spectacular'". BBC News. 24 July 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-24. 
  9. ^ Richard E. Morlan, Bruggeman Mastodon, Canadian Archaeological Radiocarbon Database,, (Hull Quebec: Canadian Museum of Civilization), retrieved online October 2008).
  10. ^ Wade E. Miller, “Mammut Americanum: Utah’s First Record of the American Mastodon”, Journal of Paleontology, Volume 61, Number 1, (The Paleontological Society, 1987), 168-183.
  11. ^ Margaret Ann Skeels, “The Mastodons and Mammoths of Michigan”, Michigan Academician, Volume XXXIV, Number 3, (Ann Arbor: Michigan Academy of Science, 2002), 254.
  12. ^ H. R. Crane and James B. Griffin, Russell Farm, “University of Michigan Radiocarbon Dates IV”, Radiocarbon, Volume 1, Number 1, (New Haven: Yale, 1959), 178.
  13. ^ Polaco, O. J.; Arroyo-Cabrales, J.; Corona-M., E.; López-Oliva, J. G. (2001), "The American Mastodon Mammut americanum in Mexico", in Cavarretta, G.; Gioia, P.; Mussi, M.; Palombo, M. R., The World of Elephants - Proceedings of the 1st International Congress, Rome October 16-20 2001, Rome: Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, pp. 237–242, ISBN 88-8080-025-6 
  14. ^ Mastodons Driven to Extinction by Tuberculosis, Fossils Suggest
  15. ^ Beck, Roger B.; Linda Black, Larry S. Krieger, Phillip C. Naylor, Dahia Ibo Shabaka, (1999). World History: Patterns of Interaction. Evanston, IL: McDougal Littell. ISBN 0-395-87274-X.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help)
  16. ^ Ward, Peter (1997). "The Call of Distant Mammoths". 
  17. ^ Flesher, John (2007-09-04). "Possible mastodon carving found on rock". Associated Press. Retrieved 2007-09-05. 

Why is the common name Greek?[edit]

What's the explanation for that? Similar to Platypus/Ornithorhynchus? Or Brontosaurus/Apatosaurus? FunkMonk (talk) 18:04, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Because it was not a common name. Some people decided the proles would be confused by new discoveries and naming, so ignored the consensus of opinion. The genus name may be resurrected, through a quirk of fate and nomenclature, I wonder what that article will be called? cygnis insignis 21:41, 26 October 2009 (UTC)

Did Mastodons Have an Elephant-Like Trunk?[edit]

Is it possible to deduce from the fossil whether the animal had an elephant-like trunk, and, if so, how large it would have been? The word "trunk" is not used in the present article.

Perhaps the existence of a trunk can be deduced from the tusks? Drinking might have been quite problematic without one? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:12, 5 March 2010 (UTC)

Not to mention getting hold of food. Modern elephants - and no doubt exrtinct species of the family too - use the trunk to grab boughs, break them down, and to lift things off the ground, even tree logs. it's as useful to them as an arm and a hand to us. Strausszek (talk) 19:25, 20 July 2010 (UTC)

Weight of tusks?[edit]

"In July 2007, a team of Greek and Dutch paleontologists excavated the longest mastodon tusks in the world in Milia, a village near Grevena. The tusks each measure 5 meters long, and weigh 1 ton. Experts believe that the mammal was a 25–30 year-old male, 11.375 feet (3.5 meters) tall and weighed approximately 6 tons.[22][23]"

Sure, that's directly from [1], but that's saying a third of the animal's weight would've been in its tusks, which I find hard to believe... Unless the tusks become heavier during fossilization. Does anyone who _knows_ about this stuff have anything to say? Skydiver (talk) 19:31, 22 December 2010 (UTC)

All fossils become heavier in fossilization, as minerals leach in and harden. The tusks still would have weighed a lot in life, though. Crimsonraptor(Contact me) Dumpster dive if you must 16:04, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

i wondered about the weight of the tusks, too. doesn't seem reasonable that 1/3rd weight of animal was in the tusks or it would have had to have incredibly powerful back muscles just to lift its head. (talk) 14:27, 4 November 2011 (UTC)

Mastodon is not only mammut[edit]

As far as I've found the genus Mammut is endemic to North America, this article constantly falls into the confusion of assinging "mastodon" remains and information as part of this specific genus when in fact the name is used too for all genera in the Mammutidae family. This genus is giving me a headache, is hard to find anything on it and 3 of the species appear to haven't been mentioned on the literature other than when they where declared species. Mike.BRZ (talk) 22:17, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Yeah, I noticed this may be one of the crappiest Wikipedia pages I've seen, which isn't a stub. I tried to improve it a little bit last week. FunkMonk (talk) 10:17, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Yes, the improvement is welcome, I find kind of sad the scarcity on mammut publications, I always though it was kind of famous. On a similar note, why we have Mastodon spenceri here? even the source doesn't make mention of it belogning to mammut, though I can see that since the old genus mastodon was sinonimized with mammut that'll be the case but Sanders and Miller (2002) used the name Gomphotherium angustidens libycum instead of Mastodon spenceri, Pickford (2003) used Afromastodon libycum instead while Shoshani and Tassy (2005) used the same name as Sanders and Miller. Regardless of the name they all placed it whithin Gomphotheriinae, so it is not considered a mastodont, I'm gonna remove it from the taxobox and article.

The gomphotheres here also seem to have problems and given how they have more publications available I think I'm gonna try and tackle them first.

Reference: Shoshani and Tassy (2005). Advances in proboscidean taxonomy & classification, anatomy & physiology, and ecology & behavior.

Mike.BRZ (talk) 18:35, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

Even the mammoth articles are not too good. As for spenceri, the Paleo database lists it for some reason, so I didn't remove it: FunkMonk (talk) 18:46, 14 June 2012 (UTC)
I found that odd too. About the mammoth articles, you are correct, though the difference is that publications about its evolution, taxonomy and what not are fairly more available, since is better researched, it just needs to be implemented. Mike.BRZ (talk) 21:26, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

I made some changes to de description of M. cosoensis, according to this the Coso Formation is no younger than 2.5 million years and there was also this interesting quote:

Wilson (1932) described a small rodent, Cosomys primus, from the same locality studied by Schultz (1937, loc. 131). He tentatively assigned a Pliocene (Blanchan) age to fossiliferous strata, on the basis of horse material. Neville, Opdyke, Lindsay, and Johnson (1979), investigating the magnetic stratigraphy, radiometric age relationships, and fossil mammals of the Glenns Ferry Formation in Idaho, determined an age of 3.75 m.y. for the lowest stratigraphic occurence of Cosomys. According to C. A. Repenning (written commun., 1979) Cosomys primus from the Coso Formation is about 3.4 m.y. old.

Of course is not directly related to the mastodon but if that rodent is from the same locality and is estimated at 3.4 million years then is likely that M. cosoensis remains are of similar age; though this is OR and I wont put it on the article, It's just to explain my reasoning. I'm also planing to make similar changes to the other species descriptions once I got the age of the formations. I already got one paper related to M. raki but I haven't read it yet. Mike.BRZ (talk) 23:17, 14 June 2012 (UTC)

On that note, what do you think about the articles for individual species? Would it be better to merge them into this one? At present, there isn't much unique material in those articles. FunkMonk (talk) 11:27, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
I think it'll be better to merge at least the M. raki one, I think that the american mastodon article can be improved as there's considerably more information about it, this past days I've been accomulating as much publications about mammut as I can, hope they can help me on that. (June 16 edit: you know what, considering how the "extinction" section would be all about the M. americanum and how obscure are the other species, merging them all wouldn't be a bad idea, is that, or the mammut article ends up pretty bare) Mike.BRZ (talk) 13:37, 15 June 2012 (UTC)
Heheh, the extinction section is the only reason why I didn't merge americanum into this one already, as you say, it's very specific. But I'm sure it could be incorporated anyway. One thing that's disappointing about both articles is that they do not cover the quite interesting history of discovery, which includes Thomas Jefferson, Lewis & Clark, and the Missiourum "hoax", just to mention a few things. FunkMonk (talk) 17:55, 16 June 2012 (UTC)
Then we could work on changing that ;D Mike.BRZ (talk) 04:40, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Yep, there's a good overview in the book "Written in Stone" by Brian Switek, I might use that as a springboard. FunkMonk (talk) 10:15, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
Ok, I guess I migh start cleaning up the current discovery section, most of it are news about fossils found on the european species, mastodon bornsoni which has been synonimized to Zygolophodon, and others are normal finds of M. americanum which I feel are not that newsworthy but,what you think about them? Mike.BRZ (talk) 20:54, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
The bornsoni stuff should definitely be moved to the other article, as for the americanum info, perhaps it could be summarised in some way? FunkMonk (talk) 21:22, 17 June 2012 (UTC)
I'll start working on that on the sandbox, though, I thing what you said about the discovery of the genus would be more appropiate than a sumarized list of finding found on the press, I sincerely don't think that's encyclopedia worthy. Mike.BRZ (talk) 18:20, 22 June 2012 (UTC)

I want to make this changes to the article, I know I said I will do this like half a year ago and the article is not that extensive for the amount of time but I think it should be a good replacement for both the American mastodon article and the mammut article, the extinction section is small but that can be completed with what's on the American mastodon article, I haven't done that yet. Well, the reason for the comment is for opinions on the changes. Mike.BRZ (talk) 18:35, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Looks good to me, I'd say go ahead! Not like there are any other people actually working on the article anyway... FunkMonk (talk) 18:43, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Orphaned references in Mastodon[edit]

I check pages listed in Category:Pages with incorrect ref formatting to try to fix reference errors. One of the things I do is look for content for orphaned references in wikilinked articles. I have found content for some of Mastodon's orphans, the problem is that I found more than one version. I can't determine which (if any) is correct for this article, so I am asking for a sentient editor to look it over and copy the correct ref content into this article.

Reference named "MastWilliams":

  • From James K. Hampson: Williams, Steven (Apr., 1957). "The Island 35 Mastodon: Its Bearing on the Age of Archaic Cultures in the East". American Antiquity. 22 (4): 359–372. doi:10.2307/276134.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • From Hampson Archeological Museum State Park: Williams, Steven (Apr., 1957). "The Island 35 Mastodon: Its Bearing on the Age of Archaic Cultures in the East". American Antiquity. 22 (4): 359–372. doi:10.2307/276134.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  • From Nodena Site: Williams, Steven (Apr., 1957). "The Island 35 Mastodon: Its Bearing on the Age of Archaic Cultures in the East". American Antiquity, Vol. 22, No. 4, pp. 359-372. doi:10.2307/276134.  Check date values in: |date= (help)

I apologize if any of the above are effectively identical; I am just a simple computer program, so I can't determine whether minor differences are significant or not. AnomieBOT 08:12, 12 October 2012 (UTC)

DNA from a fossil?[edit]

Since when do fossils contain anything but stone? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:18, 14 November 2012 (UTC)

When they're relatively recent (say, just a couple thousand of years) it is possible to find not fossilized bone in enviroments like the artic permafrost, I think that, technically, they shouldn't be called fossils but is not a stretch to see why it'll make some sense to still call them "fossils" being prehistoric and all of that. Mike.BRZ (talk) 05:41, 14 November 2012 (UTC)
The term subfossil would cover such. FunkMonk (talk) 18:41, 25 January 2013 (UTC)

Manis Mastodon Site[edit]

The article about the Manis Mastodon Site in Washington State, where a stone spearpoint was found embedded in the rib of a fossil mastodon, should be placed in the See Also section. I'd do it myself, but I don't know how. (talk) 22:18, 21 November 2012 (UTC)

Merge American mastodon into mastodon.[edit]

The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
The result of this discussion was to merge Mike.BRZ (talk) 15:35, 5 March 2013 (UTC)

The American mastodon is the only mastodon species that has a decent number of published information regarding its diet, lifestyle and morphology, compared to practically nonexistent information for the other species, understandably because they're known mainly by jaw (or jaw fragments) and molars that differ mostly on proportions from those of the American mastodon, this is a situation of when one thinks of mastodons, they think of the American mastodon, I think a "dinosaur article" approach to this article is more appropriate, instead of having a sparse article about the genus Mammut and one for the species M. americanum, lets have one that encompasses everything related to Mammut, after all, pretty much everything we know of Mammut comes from M. americanum. Mike.BRZ (talk) 21:00, 12 February 2013 (UTC)

I agree. One could call me a hypocrite for splitting off a few mammoth articles though, but much more is known about individual mammoth species in general, than mastodons. FunkMonk (talk) 04:00, 13 February 2013 (UTC)
I had several typos there, well, I wouldn't call you hypocrite, like you said, there's much more information on individual mammoth species than there is on mastodons, I think I will wait a week before starting the merge, thanks for your thoughts. Mike.BRZ (talk) 08:23, 14 February 2013 (UTC)
Alright. If the wait is for more views, I say don't count on it... Even comments on the woolly mammoth talk page are extremely slow at getting responses. FunkMonk (talk) 09:18, 14 February 2013 (UTC)

The above discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section.

Are the extinction dates accurate[edit]

From an earlier post it read that the American Mastodon fossils have been radiocarbon dated to around 5,000 to 4,000 years old. Is that reliable, because I've tried checking on other websites, and yet they all say the species died out 10,000 years ago. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:55, 30 July 2013 (UTC)

Semi-protected edit request on 12 February 2014[edit]

In the last paragraph of "Classification and species" there is a typo in the dating of the remains.

"The remains are thought to be 50 to 130 Ma old." should be "The remains are thought to be 50,000 to 130,000 years old."

As source, check reference 22 of article. Pekka li (talk) 12:47, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done - I don't think it was a typo as much as a non-standard abbreviation for Millennia - Arjayay (talk) 14:59, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Mostly gone by 50,000 BC[edit]

A new re-dating of Beringian fossils at Oxford and UC-Irvine indicates that Mastadons were all gone in that area "more than 50,000 years earlier than previously thought.... We're not saying that humans were uninvolved in the megafauna's last stand 10,000 years ago. But by that time, whatever the mastodon population was down to, their range had shrunken mostly to the Great Lakes region...." Twang (talk) 01:45, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Mastodons were forest-dwelling animals. The article shows that during the more intense phases of the last ice age, they disappeared from Beringia since the climate there became too cold for them and produced tundra-like conditions. This is what one would expect, although it had not previously been demonstrated because the dating of Beringian fossils wasn't good enough. However, Berinigia was a small fraction of their former range. Contrary to news stories, this finding has no obvious relevance to their extinction. WolfmanSF (talk) 02:49, 8 December 2014 (UTC)

Year of the names[edit]

Mammut americanum has been the oldest name, which was first used by Kerr in 1792. Elephas americanus was given much later by De Kay in 1894.[2] Dino nam (talk) 17:07, 9 July 2015 (UTC)D. Nam

But Mammut was first used in 1799 (see here [3] for example), so how can it have been used in 1792? We're not interested here in Elephas americanus, which is, indeed, a later name, but only in Elephas americanum (note the 'm'). To have evidence for what you're claiming, we would need hard evidence that Mammut (the genus) was not named by Blumenbach in 1799, and was, instead, coined by Kerr in 1792 - the only possible way that the type species could have the same genus name as the genus it currently belongs to. I have been unable to find any source contradicting the Blumenbach 1799 claim, and that is what we need - the source and date of the species name is irrelevant. Anaxial (talk) 17:51, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Kerr coined the binomal Elephas americanum in 1792, and Blumenbach erected the genus Mammut in 1799. Elephas americanum would then be placed in Mammut as "Mammut americanum (Kerr 1792)." Thus, Elephas americanum is a synonym of Mammut americanum.--Mr Fink (talk) 19:40, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Exactly. Anaxial (talk) 20:16, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
Do you have any sources to prove that it was Elephas americanum in 1792? Thanks!
This one looks reliable: [4]. Anaxial (talk) 18:41, 10 July 2015 (UTC)

Size of mastodon compared to Elephas maximus and Elephas africanus[edit]

Hi !  :-) How is your world, this day ! Question : Why do many pictures, photographs, writings insist that the American mastodon was smaller than the Indian elephant and also the African elephant of nowadays ? If an answer is known to anyone, I would be quite surprised !! Thank you !  :-) -- (talk) 07:17, 13 May 2016 (UTC)

I don't remember seeing or reading that they are smaller than Asian elephants, that they are the same size yes but not smaller, compared to the African elephant yes they are generally described as being smaller, the basis for both comparisons is shoulder height alone, disregarding the tremendously wide hips (and bellies) of mastodons, which make them much heavier than living elephants at the same shoulder height. I'm guilty of that mistake myself. Mike.BRZ (talk) 15:07, 13 May 2016 (UTC)