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Proboscidean Fossils

MAMMOTH The latest research indicates that the only two species of mammoth in Florida were the Mammuthus haroldcooki or early mammoth (also called Imperial Mammoth) and the later columbi(Columbian Mammoth). The widely known Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) is now thought to have ventured no farther south than present-day North Carolina. Also, some leading scientists now believe that some mammoths may have survived much later than previously thought, perhaps as recent as 4000 years ago.

MASTODON Mastodons were in Florida almost twice as long as mammoths and so they are more commonly found as fossils. They were generally shorter, thicker and more heavily built than the mammoths, and the males sometimes had two small lower tusks in addition to the large upper tusks. Both mastodons and mammoths were killed and eaten by early humans and today, more and more paleontologists and archaeologists believe hunting them may have caused their extinction in America. Complete mastodon teeth are very hard to find today in Florida, but bits of the enamel are often found in rivers and springs. These pieces may sometimes show beautiful colors and for this reason they are sometimes polished and made into jewelry.