American mastodons in a North American prehistoric forest

American mastodon

The elephant-like American mastodon was a distant relative of the mammoth, with whom it shared its ice age home. There have been over 200 mastodon fossil finds across North America, but they seem to have been most common along the eastern seaboard and in an area immediately south of the Great Lakes. In 1977, a unique find of a complete mastodon was made in Washington State. A human-made spear point was found embedded in the ribs and further investigation showed that the bones had healed around the spear point. This suggested that humans had attacked this animal, but that it had survived and died much later of old age.

Scientific name: Mammut americanum

Rank: Species

Common names:

American breast-tooth

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Behaviours

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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

What their world was like

Ice age Ice age
The last ice age hasn't ended, the climate has just warmed up a bit causing the ice sheets to retreat. When the ice was more extensive, our climate was very different.

Classification

  1. Life
  2. Animals
  3. Vertebrates
  4. Mammals
  5. Proboscidea
  6. Mammutidae
  7. Mammut
  8. American mastodon

BBC News about American mastodon

  • Old American theory is 'speared' An ancient bone with a projectile point lodged within it appears to up-end - once and for all - a long-held theory of how the Americas were populated.