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SIDE VIEW SHOWING COMPLETE ROUND TUSK SECTION

MASTODON TUSK OF RARE BLUE IVORY CROSS-SECTION CUT AND POLISHED

Steinhatchee River - Florida, U.S.A.

PLEISTOCENE PERIOD:  1.8 million - 10,000 years ago

Mastodon ivory is far more rare than mammoth ivory.  Finding complete dense tusks that can be cut and polished so that the ENTIRE round section of the tusk remains intact is not common.  The RAREST OF ALL FOSSIL IVORY COLORS IS BLUE which this tusk is made of.  This is a complete circular tusk cross-section from a Mammut americanum or 'American' mastodon.  It is very dense and stabile with the end that was sawn, polished to show the mesmerizing grain and stunning blue overtones.  High grade North American Mastodon fossils have continued to appreciate in price over the recent years.  Globally speaking, the fossil-bearing rivers that produce Mastodon remains are extremely limited.  Increasing legislation to protect and close these rivers from collecting along with prior years of collecting pressure make for a constant shortage of high grade specimens.  Absolutely TOP GRADE!  It is INTACT and WITH NO RESTORATION AND NO REPAIR Old private collection as this river is now protected and off-limits to fossil hunting!

Emerging 55 million years ago, the group of mammals called proboscideans are identified by the presence of tusks and a trunk and comprise three families: Mammutidae, Gomphotheriidae and Elephantidae.  In Florida, the mastodon, a member of the family Mammutidae (mammoths are members of Elephantidae), represents one of two of the oldest known proboscideans first dating back to the Miocene.  They became extinct 11,000 years ago along with all other proboscideans in Florida.  

When standing aside a mammoth, the mastodon looks just like a Neanderthal version of the proboscideans.  The body form is shorter, more stout and robust and lends itself to a much more muscular physique in contrast to the more graceful and taller mammoth.  The cheek teeth of mastodons are also more primitive with sharp crests and a dramatic lobed surface in unworn examples compared to the flat and fine ridged surface of mammoth teeth that resemble the sole of a boating sneaker.  These differences tell us about the types of food that both types of creatures ate.  The mastodon was more suited for forest environments with teeth that were well adapted for chewing tougher vegetation like twigs, leaves, shrubs, fruits, pinecones, pine needles and mosses.  The mammoth with its smoother teeth, was best suited for the open plains feeding on a variety of grasses.  

A mastodon, like all proboscideans, has a system of horizontal tooth replacement whereby new molars erupt from the rear of the jaw and move forward.  The most worn teeth at the front, are pushed out of the jaw.  Sometimes while still in the jaw, the anterior portion of a worn front tooth is broken off.  These partial teeth are found as fossils along with complete specimens.  

A baby proboscidean at age 6, will have already had three sets of teeth.  By 13 years of age, the fourth set emerges followed by a fifth set at age 27 years.  The final set of teeth come in around 43 years of age and as it wears away, the animal eventually starves to death and dies on average between 60 and 80 years of age.  Interestingly, the animal's life is limited by the fact that after the sixth set, no new teeth grow in to replace the final worn down set and the animal is no longer able to chew its food.  This characteristic is still true of modern elephants.  

MASTODON IVORY IS FAR, FAR MORE RARE THAN MAMMOTH IVORY - THE RAREST OF THIS IS BLUE!

3.25" long x 3" wide

SOLD     LM15-016      Actual Item - One Only

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Florida 'American' Mastodon

Comparison of the skeletal structure and body types of a Florida 'American' Mastodon (left)

and a Florida 'Columbian' Mammoth (right)

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