Difference Between Mastodon and Mammoth

Mastodon vs Mammoth

It is fairly a common mistake that many people would understand the enormous and prehistoric mammoth as the same animal as mastodon. There are many differences to identify those two as what they really were. Using the fossil records of mammoths and mastodons, scientists have discovered some significant differences between them, and this article aims to emphasize the most interesting of those findings.


Mammoth was an enormously built mammal belonged to the extinct genus Mammuthus. Fossil evidences show their close relationship to the modern elephants. One of the most interesting feature of mammoths was their long tusks with a characteristic curve. The length of their tusks was as same as their height, 3 – 5 metres tall. They were massive and largely built animals with an average estimated weight between five and ten tons. Their head was the highest point of the body, in fossils it almost looks like an erected and distinct skull. They were also living in herds as the modern elephants, and those were female matriarchal herds. Mammoths were grazers according to the analyses based on their molar shapes. Their gestation periods have lasted for 22 months, which is the same as the modern elephants. However, these gigantic creatures became extinct before 10,000 years from today, but well-preserved specimens from Siberia have increased the interests among scientists to clone mammoths.


Mastodon was also a large mammal belonged to the extinct genus Mammut. They lived in Africa, Europe, Asia, and Americas. According to fossil evidences, their evolutionary relationship to the modern elephants was not that close. Their appearance of the molar teeth differed from mammoths and modern elephants. In fact, mastodon teeth suggest that they were browsers, as they had blunt, conical-like projections on their molars. They had tusks, which were short, slender, and curved upwards a little. The maximum length recorded for the mastodon tusk is 2.5 metres. Mastodons were two to three metres tall, and the estimated weight is about eight tons. The skull was large and flat in their stocky and robust skeleton. Their head did not erect like in mammoths, but stayed low or very little above the backbone. Their extinction has taken place a little before about 10,000 years ago, in the last ice age.

What is the difference between Mammoth and Mastodon?

- Mammoth have a closer evolutionary relationship to the modern elephants than mastodons have.

- Mammoth had longer and thicker tusks those curved dramatically. However, the tusks in mastodons were shorter, slender, and less curved than the mammoths’.

- Both these proboscideans were enormous, but mammoth was larger than mastodon.

- Mastodon had more teeth in the jaw at a time than the mammoth. However, the number of teeth throughout the lifetime was the same in both animals.

- Mastodon molars had conical processes, while mammoth molars did not have.

- Mastodons were browsers, whereas mammoth were grazers.

- The head position compared to the rest of the body was very different between these two, as mammoths had a very high head position but it was almost the same as the backbone height in mastodons.

- The mastodons became extinct a little before the mammoth extinction.