Mar
17
2008

Has your old mastodon skeleton worn out? Buy a new one!

A mastodon: Hey! Hey! Quit looking at its nipple teeth!
A mastodon: Hey! Hey! Quit looking at its nipple teeth!Courtesy wikimedia commons
Whether you’re the last kid on the block without your own mastodon skeleton, or if the old mastodon skeleton you already have is starting to look a little threadbare, I have some exciting news for you: a California woman plans to auction off a mastodon skeleton on eBay. Bids will start at $115,000.

Mastodons are, for the willfully ignorant among you, hairy, extinct elephant relatives that went extinct about 10,000 years ago, near the end of the last ice age.

I like to think of them as the poor man’s wooly mammoths.

While outwardly similar to mammoths in some respects, mastodons were a distinct species, and only distantly related to their larger cousins. Mastodons had straighter tusks, larger, flatter skulls, and while mammoths were grazers (eating low-growing plants like grasses) mastodons were browsers (eating higher growing plants, like leaves, shoots, and fruit). The difference in diet is obvious when comparing the teeth of mammoths and mastodons—mammoths have low, rippling molar surfaces, where mastodons’ molars are high crowned. In fact, “mastodon” means “nipple tooth,” which is, of course, the most striking difference from the cooler-named wooly mammoth.

Wait, what was this post about again? Oh, yeah, eBay.

The mastodon to be auctioned was found on the woman’s northeastern California ranch, an entirely intact skeleton except for a pair of missing tusks. After excavation, the skeleton made a tour of the Oakland Museum of Natural History, a wine bar, and finally a garage. And now the woman’s son wants to use the garage to work on his hotrod, so the skeleton has got to go.

Some paleontologists are doubtful that the skeleton will fetch the asking price, and would prefer to see it donated to a museum. Figures—those greedy paleontologists.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

LEE's picture
LEE says:

So she auctioned the mastodon skeleton on eBay? Starting at $115,000? Dang that's a lot! Is it rare to have a mastodon skeleton?

posted on Sat, 03/22/2008 - 2:47pm
eclod23's picture
eclod23 says:

Either that woman is crazy or she is in need of a lot of $$$$$$$$$

posted on Sat, 03/22/2008 - 3:22pm

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