American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. Any of several very large, extinct proboscidian mammals of the genus Mammut (sometimes Mastodon), resembling the elephant but having molar teeth of a different structure.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. An extinct proboscidean quadruped of the family Elephantidæ and subfamily Mastodontinæ. Several genera and rather numerous species have been discovered in Tertiary deposits of most parts of the world, in some cases associated with those of the mammoth. One of the largest and best-known of these is the American Mastodon giganteus, which survived to a late Pleistocene period. A specimen nearly perfect was found in Missouri in 1840; it is now in the British museum, and its dimensions are—extreme length 20 feet 2 inches; height 9 feet 6¼ inches; cranium, length 3⅓ feet, width 2 feet 11 inches; tusks, extreme length 7 feet 2 inches, circumference at base 27 inches. See cut on following page.
- n. [capitalized] The typical genus of Mastodontinæ, formerly held to include all the mastodons, now restricted to those of the tetralophodont series, such as M. avernensis of Europe.
- n. Extinct elephant-like mammal of the genus Mammut that flourished worldwide from Miocene through Pleistocene times; differs from elephants and mammoths in the form of molar teeth.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. (Paleon.) An extinct genus of mammals closely allied to the elephant, but having less complex molar teeth, and often a pair of lower, as well as upper, tusks, which are incisor teeth. The species were mostly larger than elephants, and their remains occur in nearly all parts of the world in deposits ranging from Miocene to late Quaternary time.
- First attested 1813, from the New Latin genus name Mastodon (1806), coined by Georges Cuvier, from Ancient Greek μαστός (mastos, "breast") + ὀδούς (odous, "tooth"), from the similarity of the mammilloid projections on the crowns of the extinct mammal's molars. (Wiktionary)
- New Latin Mastodōn, genus name : Greek mastos, breast, nipple + Greek odōn, odont-, tooth (from the nipple-shaped protrusions on the crowns of its molars); see dent- in Indo-European roots. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“You wouldn't have us call a mastodon like that Fanny, would you, or Tatters?”
“A mastodon is the more amazing animal too, isn't it?”
“The mastodon was a relatively squat creature, standing certainly four feet shorter than the imperial elephant, with comparatively small and slightly curved tusks and a flatter head.”
“The mastodon was a giant elephant of a still earlier period than the mammoth.”
“Workers started by removing the front and hind legs from the mastodon, which is supported by a steel bracket.”
“The mastodon was a contemporary of saber-toothed cats.”
“Instead of a lower jaw a foot long, as in an elephant or in the common kind of mastodon -- this long-jawed kind had a lower jaw 5 feet or 6 feet long!”
“It appears that he slew also a notable dun cow, of a kind of mastodon breed, which prevailed in those early days, which was making great havoc in the neighborhood.”
“A mastodon is a much older species, a third cousin once removed.”
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