Though similar in appearance to the woolly mammoth, the American mastodon is not closely related. The mastodons split from the other members of the order Proboscidea around 25 million years ago. The most well-known of these beasts was the American mastodon, which was the last of the group to go extinct about 11,000 years ago.
Though the genus name “Mastodon” is no longer used in this creature’s scientific name, it’s still the most frequently used informal common name for these giant elephant-like animals. The currently accepted genus is Mammut.
Mastodons (or mammutids) were not as large as most mammoths or even modern day elephants, and were not as widespread. While most mastodons went extinct along with other “megafauna” around 11,000 or 10,000 years ago, it’s believed that small pockets of these animals may have survived up until as recently as 4,000 years ago.
Suggested age range: 3+
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