The reconstructed skeletons of two American mastodons, an adult (foreground, with tusks) and a juvenile (background), recovered from the La Brea Tar Pits. They’re on display at the George C. Page Museum.
The American mastodon (Mammut americanum) was a member of the elephant family that lived in North America from about 3.7 million years ago until it went extinct around 11,000 years ago. Mastodon means breast tooth in Greek. The name refers to the rounded conical projections on the animals’ molars, used for chewing leaves.