Sunday, November 13, 2011

MASTODON FAMILY: Look Closer and Think

Often confused with Mammoths, Mastodons (Mammutidae) are in their own family, since They split off from Elephants and Mammoths earlier.  Therefore, there are many differences between the two Animals.  Mastodons have larger and flatter brows than Mammoths.  Moreover, They have paired low conical cusps for teeth, and upper jaw tusks.  In addition, Mastodons are shorter and more muscular than Mammoths.
            Living side by side with Mammoths, Mastodons colonized Eurasia and North America about fifteen million years ago.  As browsers, They preferred to live in spruce forests and open woodlands.  During the winter, Mastodons had a double coat of fur to prevent Them from freezing in the icy cold.
            Fossil Mastodons have been found with full stomachs, indicating that They consumed about 500 pounds (1,000 kilos) of food each day.  Since their enormous appetites drove Them to seek more and more food, Mastodons roamed the countryside endlessly searching for food.  Mastodons tramped through forests to feast on moss and twigs of cedar, larch, pine, and spruce trees.  Their hunger drove Them deeper into bogs and swamps in search of food, where They died.             
Look closer and think teach Mastodons.  Do not mistake Them for their cousins, the Mammoths.  Examine the differences before making a judgment.  If you do not ponder what you see, you may end up stuck in a bog.

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