Mammutidae

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

Mammutidae (Mastodontidae; order Proboscidea, suborder Mammutoidea) An extinct, monospecific family (Mammut or Mastodon) of mastodons, comprising elephant-like animals that diverged from the evolutionary line leading to the modern elephants. The genus was long-lived, extending from the Lower Miocene to the Holocene, and it survived in Africa and the Holarctic region at least until the end of the Pleistocene. Mastodons were shorter and heavier in build than elephants. Mammut (or Mastodon) species had short, high skulls, longer jaws than elephants, and usually tusks in both upper and lower jaws, the upper tusks often being large and curving outward and upward. There were never more than two teeth in use at a time, never more than a vestige of the lower incisors, and the molars were low-crowned, simple, and lacked cement. It is believed that the evolution of the mastodons paralleled that of the Gomphotheriidae.

views updated

Mammutidae Extinct family of mastodons, comprising the one genus Mammut (Mastodon) of elephant-like animals, which diverged from the evolutionary line leading to the modern elephants. It was long-lived, extending from the Lower Miocene to the Recent, and it survived in Africa, N. America, and Eurasia at least until the end of the Pleistocene. Mastodons were shorter and heavier in build than elephants. Mammut (or Mastodon) species had short, high skulls, longer jaws than elephants, and usually tusks in both upper and lower jaws, the upper tusks often being large and curving outward and upward. There were never more than two teeth in use at a time, never more than a vestige of the lower incisors, and the molars were lowcrowned, simple, and lacked cement. It is believed that the evolution of the mastodons paralleled that of the gomphotheres (Gomphotheriidae).