What is the Difference Between a Mastodon and a Woolly Mammoth and How Do You Tell Them Apart?

The mammoth and mastodon were animals from the ice age, and were closely related to one another.

mastodon from the ice age

Both the mammoth and mastodon were similar to each other in overall structure, and both looked similar to our modern-day elephant.

However, there were a few differences.

Mastodons were browsers while mammoths were grazers.

The mastodon also had a different tooth structure.

Its teeth weren’t flat like an elephant’s teeth, but bumpy or cone-shaped. Perhaps this design was better suited for tearing and grinding up woody or pulpy plants.

The mastodon was smaller in stature, about eight to ten feet tall, than the woolly mammoth, which easily stood fourteen feet tall at the shoulder.

Mastodon tusks also curved up and were more flat than the mammoth’s. Some speculate these flat tusks made good tools for digging out of snow.

In contrast, the mammoth had gargantuan tusks that curved down and have been measured at over thirteen feet long.

What they were good for, exactly, we’re not sure.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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