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Mastodons

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Mastodons were large, widely-distributed mammals that are now extinct. These quadrupeds were well adapted to the cold weather; they were large (which retains body heat), had thick, insulating fur, and had long tusks, which they may have used to push through the snow to obtain food. Mastodons were closely related to the mammoths and the elephant.

Diet: Mastodons were herbivores (plant-eaters) who ate the leaves of tree leaves, shrubs, mosses, twigs, and other plants. Some mastodons have been found with food in the mouth or stomach.

Anatomy: Mastodons had long, brown, shaggy fur and two large, upper tusks. Mastodons were smaller than modern-day elephants; they ranged from about 6.5-10 feet (2-3 m) tall at the shoulder.

Evolution and Extinction: Mastodons evolved in Africa about 35 million years ago and spread throughout Africa, Europe, and Asia. About 3.7 million years ago, mastodons migrated to North America via the Bering Strait land bridge. The last of the mastodons went extinct about 10,000 years ago, when the last Ice Age ended.

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