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GEM GRADE FOSSIL IVORY SOLID LOWER MASTODON TUSK SECTION

Withlacoochee River - Florida, U.S.A.

LATE PLIOCENE  TO LATE PLEISTOCENE PERIOD:  1.8 million - 11,000 years ago

Found in the fossil sediments of the Withlacoochee River in North Florida, USA, this is a solid section of a very rare LOWER tusk from a juvenile Mammut americanum or 'American' mastodon.  The internal growth structure in the fossil ivory can be seen in the criss-cross patterns seen on the end in the above photos.  Only young Mastodons possessed lower tusks as well as upper tusks.  These were very small vestigial tusks when compared to the prominent uppers.  The lower tusks were permanently lost once the animal reached adulthood.  They are highly uncommon in fossil collections and often damaged or fragmented when discovered.  A very affordable yet rare and uncommon specimen from a juvenile Mastodon from the Southeastern United States.  The section is in a gem grade condition with the fossil ivory being completely solid and dense as modern ivory.  This is one of the best fossil ivory tusks we have seen as far as preservation goes!  The lower tusk is more rare than the upper.  If you display any fossil proboscidean specimens, especially from juveniles, this lower tusk will be the most fascinating and uncommon addition to any collection regardless of how advanced and would look perfect alongside a fine grade baby Mastodon tooth such as LM15-015This fossil lower tusk section is as found WITH NO RESTORATION AND NO REPAIR   

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.  

EXQUISITE GEM GRADE EXAMPLE OF SOLID SECTION OF THE RARE LOWER TUSK FROM A MASTODON!

3.4" long x 2.1 in diameter

SOLD     LM15-022      INCLUDES STAND     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)

Withlacoochee River - North Florida, USA

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