Mastodons of Unusual Size – Cincinnati Museum of Natural History


After leaving Baton Rouge, Brett and I (accompanied by Max the Mastodon) headed north to our second data collection stop: the Cincinnati Museum of Natural History

The Overmyer mastodon from Indiana is one of the premier CMNH mastodons (Max is shown above with the lower jaw). This specimen has actually been published, so much of the data we needed was already available, but we were able to get measurements on postcranial bones and photos of the lower teeth.

All told, we took measurements on 2 femora and 19 teeth, although 6 of the teeth have limited locality information. Several of the teeth were quite large, although none were as big as the monster tooth from Baton Rouge we saw on Tuesday. The lower jaw below was particularly interesting:


This specimen only has third molars, which are heavily worn across their entire length; the second molars have fallen out and the sockets have grown over. This was a really old animal when it died, very likely past 60 years old.

The lower third molar below, from Kentucky, is also noteworthy for a couple of reasons:


First, it has five distinct lophs on the crown, instead of the four we usually see in Mammut third molars. Second, this is a remarkably narrow tooth; it’s actually even narrow by California standards. So far we’ve only seen a handful of teeth with these proportions outside of California. That said, this is still a large tooth, much longer than any California tooth.

After leaving Cincinnati we headed north to Richmond, Indiana, where we’ll spend the next few days while visiting several area museums.

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