Fossil Friday-mastodon jaw fragments

Temecula mastodon

We’re entering the final hours of our crowdfunding campaign at, and are very close to our funding goal. This week we’re featuring another specimen that will be included in this study.

While the bulk of the Western Science Center’s collection came from Diamond Valley Lake, we are a regional repository with a number of collections from other localities. This specimen was recovered during a mitigation project in Temecula in southwestern Riverside County, and after reconstruction by WSC volunteers it became apparent we had a significant portion of a mastodon lower jaw. The image is in dorsal view, with anterior to the left. Parts of both dentaries are preserved, although there is considerably more of the left dentary present.

Portions of four teeth are preserved, the lower second and third molars. On the left side the second molar is complete, and the third molar is nearly so, allowing us to get length and width measurements for inclusion in our project; it turns out that these teeth are long and narrow, exactly what we’ve come to expect from California mastodons. The second molars are pretty heavily worn, while the third molars show wear only on the first two lophs. That is very close to the same wear state found in Max, so these two were probably close to the same age.

If you haven’t already done so, please go to and donate to our project, so we can start to understand how mastodons were distributed through North America.



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