Three families of proboscideans are represented in the Pleistocene of the region. Mastodonts have relatively simple cheek teeth, suggesting that they were browsers on soft vegetation. Stomach contents from elsewhere in North America bear this up, with conifers making up a fair amount of the diet.
Although common during the Pleistocene in the northern parts of the continent, mastodonts are relatively uncommon in the inland West and Southwest. Extinction apparently occurred concurrently with other megafaunal taxa. Fiedel (2009) gives a number dates seemingly marking the last survivors and ranging from 11,720 ± 110 to 10,395 ± 100 BP.
Fig. 1. Mastodont skeleton, Museum of the Earth. This file is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 License. This image was originally posted to Flickr by bronayur at http://flickr.com/photos/54137788@N00/1882868267.
Pleistocene: Lemitar (Morgan and Lucas 2005); Los Lunas (Morgan and Lucas 2005); Piñon (Morgan and Lucas 2005); Rancho Creek (Wheeler 1875); Trapped Rock Draw (Morgan and Lucas 2005); Tree Spring, Sandia Mts. (Morgan and Lucas 2005).
Irvingtonian: El Paso (East of El Paso, Personal Observation; Northeast El Paso [UTEP]); N Bowie Mastodont Site (Pasenko 2012); Northeast El Paso (UTEP).
Rancholabrean: Jal (Schultz 1943); Placitas (Hibben 1941; Morgan and Lucas 2005).
Early Rancholabrean: Albuquerque Gravel Pits (Morgan and Lucas 2005).
Wisconsin: Lehner Site (Mead et al. 1979).
Late Wisconsin: Billings (Minckley et al. 1997); Cerros Negros (Agenbroad et al. 2013); Davidson Canyon (Pasenko 2011); Leupp (Minckley et al. 1997); M & M Mastodon (Pasenko 2011); Placitas (Hibben 1941); Saint Johns (Agenbroad et al. 2013); Sandia Cave, Sandia Level (Hibben 1941; Morgan and Lucas 1997).
Literature. Agenbroad et al. 2013; Fiedel 2009; Hibben 1941; Lucas and Morgan 1997; Mead et al. 1979; Minckley et al 1997; Morgan and Lucas 2005; Pasenko 2011, 2012; Schultz 1943; Wheeler 1875.
Last Update: 25 Apr 2013