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VERY RARE FINEST GRADE MATCHING PAIR OF GOMPHOTHERE PREHISTORIC ELEPHANT MOLARS FROM THE SAME ANIMAL

Beaufort - South Carolina, U.S.A.

MIOCENE TO PLIOCENE PERIOD:  23.3 - 1.8 million years ago

This is a supreme grade and VERY rare set of matching molars from the same prehistoric elephant Gomphotherium sp..  This giant of the last Ice Age was a bizarre prehistoric ancestor to the modern day elephant.  Such a set of fossil teeth is very rare from this animal!  Quite frankly, ANY fine grade fossils of gomphotheres are the rarest of all prehistoric proboscidean remains but a set of fossil teeth such as these are really a superb display fossil in such a spectacular state of preservation and color.  The molars are complete and 100% natural as found with none of the cusps missing or crown broken off as is the case with many elephant fossils.  The amazing color is a mix of blue, white and black and is completely natural.  A custom handmade stand elevates and shows of the set as they would have been in the jaw - each molar is a corresponding identical position in each jaw as they were in the skull.  These are completely natural and not a result of any fabrication.  The molars have stabilized fissures in the outer layer of enamel but they are solid and stable and there is NO REPAIR OR RESTORATION.  The molars shows wonderful natural feeding wear and display a highly informative example of the unique anatomy of gomphothere cusp design.   Gomphothere fossils are very rare.  Even a single lose molar tooth is a prize find but a MATCHING SET OF INTACT MOLARS FROM THE SAME GOMPHOTHERE is something usually reserved for museum or educational institution collections.  GOMPHOTHERE FOSSILS ARE THE RAREST OF ALL ELEPHANT FOSSILS!!!  Scientifically, it is usually not possible to attribute isolated teeth such as these, to a specific species of the Gomphotherium genus without cranial elements present hence, our lack of said identification with this listing. 

Gomphotheres are strange prehistoric elephants that resembled a Mastodon but with a set of large lower tusks as well as the upper set of tusks the other elephants have.  Their grinding teeth, for example, had many more cusps and more complicated wear patterns than those of mastodons.  Gomphotheres belong to the family Gomphotheriidae, a family within the mammal order Proboscidea that have been extinct since the Pleistocene Period.  Gomphotheres are regarded as the ancestor to the genus Stegodon as well as mammoths and both the present living species of elephants.  Gomphotheres had both upper and lower incisor tusks.  They are sometimes nicknamed "shovel tuskers" for this feature.  Unlike the compact and high domed skull of the mammoths, the skull of gomphotheres was elongate and low.  They seemed well-adapted for a life in lakes and swamps where they used their tusks to dig or scrape up the vegetation.

Emerging 55 million years ago, the group of mammals called proboscideans are identified by the presence of tusks and a trunk.  They comprise three families: Mammutidae, Gomphotheriidae and Elephantidae.  The oldest known proboscideans in North America date back to the Miocene.  Cuvieronius, the last genus of New World gomphotheres to become extinct, was widely distributed in North, Central, and South America.  All elephant species in these regions became extinct 11,000 years ago.  

Differences in proboscidean tooth anatomy tell us about the types of food they 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.  Gomphotheres likely fed on aquatic vegetation with their complicated, rounded cusp pattern.  The mammoth with its smoother teeth, was best suited for the open plains, feeding on a variety of grasses.  

All proboscideans have 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.  

A GRADE 10 MATCHING SET OF PRISTINE GOMPHOTHERE MOLARS WITH NO REPAIR OR RESTORATION - SUPERB AND RARE!

5.25" long each crown

SOLD for the set of two     LM15-018     INCLUDES CUSTOM STAND      Actual Item

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