1996 32¢ Mastodon
Issue Date: June 8, 1996
City: Toronto, Canada
Printed By: Ashton-Potter (USA) Ltd
Printing Method: Lithographed
Perforations: 11.1 x 11
Mastodons were animals very much like modern elephants. The fossil record shows that mastodons first appeared in northern Africa about 40 million years ago. From there they spread all over Europe, Asia, and the rest of Africa. Approximately 14 million years ago, mastodons arrived in the New World.
Mastodons were related to another extinct, elephant-like species, the four-tuskers. Both of these creatures were shorter and stockier than modern elephants. Like four-tuskers, early types of mastodons had tusks on both their lower and upper jaw, but many later examples of the species no longer had this trait. Some types of mastodons and four-tuskers had prominent lower tusks which were very flat. These animals are called shovel-tuskers. All mastodons were covered with reddish brown hair, and had teeth that were much smaller and more primitive than those of elephants.
By 10,000 years ago, at the end of the Pleistocene Epoch, most mastodons had disappeared. However, evidence indicates that the mastodon existed in North America after the Pleistocene – which means they would have co-existed with historic Native American groups. Mankind was probably a factor in the mastodon’s extinction, especially in North America.