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INCREDIBLE SUPREME BABY MASTODON ELEPHANT MOLAR WITH INTERESTING TOOTH DECAY CAVITY

Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A.

PLEISTOCENE PERIOD:  1.8 million - 10,000 years ago

Mastodon teeth are far more rare than mammoth teeth and few truly nice specimens ever make it to market.  When one is offered, it is often a "spit tooth", a partial or near complete specimen what was ejected from the jaw when the elephant was alive.  Such a fossil tooth is far more common than one that has roots or is unerupted where it would have been in the elephant's jaw when it died.  Teeth that show signs of being in the elephant's jaw when it died are rare and fossil teeth are seldom found complete.

This impeccable Mammut americanum or 'American' mastodon tooth is from a juvenile and shows an interesting feature - it has a cavity from tooth decay as seen in the light brown area between two cusps.  The spectacular lustrous midnight black enamel is natural from river polish and not from being oiled or dipped in any type of artificial sealer.  Evidence of the roots are also present on the underside.  The crown is 100% complete - this was a tooth that was in the baby mastodon's jaw when it died.  Cracks you see are age fissures and not a result of repair or damage.  This stunning specimen is of the highest possible quality a collector could demand.  At less than full size, its proportions indicate it came from an animal in its adolescent years.  A fascinating fossil for not only a discriminating collector of quality but also a great display in a dentist office.  It is INTACT and 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.  

EXTREMELY HIGH GRADE EXAMPLE IN AMAZING LIQUID MIDNIGHT BLACK NATURAL LUSTER - WITH TOOTH CAVITY!!!

A COMPLETE TOOTH, NOT A "SPIT TOOTH"!

2.5" long x 1.8" wide

$795     LM15-039     Actual Item - One Only

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Florida 'American' mastodon

795