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Pleistocene mastodons. These large herbivores browsed on leaves and
grasses. All mastodons are now extinct. Drawing by Andrew Janson,
The American mastodon, Mammut americanum, became extinct in Florida only about 10,000
years ago. It was large, standing about 12 feet tall at the head. Like its cousin the wooly
mammoth, this mastodon was covered with a coat of long shaggy hair. It browsed in herds,
feeding on leaves. The pictured skeleton was recovered from Wakulla Springs, Wakulla County,
in 1930. Photo courtesy of the Museum of Florida History, Tallahassee.
The dire wolf, Canis dirus, looked much like the modern wolf, but was
larger and more heavily built. Dire wolves inhabited Florida in the Late
Pleistocene. The pictured individual is about six feet long, and is from
the LaBrea Tar Pits in California. Photo courtesy of the George C. Page
Museum, Los Angeles, California.
Barbourofelis love, the false sabercat, from the Love Site in Alachua County. This Miocene
predator lived in Florida about nine million years ago. Like the true sabertooth cat Smilodon
(below), to which it is unrelated, Barbourofelis killed its prey with its long canine teeth. Length
of the pictured specimen is about 4 feet. Photo by Stan Blomeley and Rob Blount, and used
courtesy of the Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville.
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A Miocene dugong, Hesperosiren cratagensis, found in a fuller's earth mine in Midway, Gadsden County.
This aquatic vegetarian inhabited the shallow bays and rivers of Florida 15 million years ago. It resembled
the modern manatee In size and appearance. The pictured skeleton is about 10 feet long, and is on
Display at the Florida Geological Survey offices in Tallahassee.
The giant ground sloth, Eremotherium mirabile was a Pleistocene
herbivore, and the longest land animal that ever lived in Florida.
Reaching twenty feet in length, it often stood on its hind legs to eat
leaves in trees. It may have also used its large claws to dig up roots and
tubers. This pictured specimen, from the Daytona Beach bone bed,
stands about fourteen feet tall. Photo by Sandra Lake Miller, and used
courtesy of Dr. Robin Brown and the Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and
The giant ground sloth, Eremotherium. In the foreground is a glyptodont,
Glyptotherium, a large armadillo-like mammal. Drawing by Andrew
Janson, FGS, 1956.
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For more information, contact:
Florida Geological Survey
903 W. Tennessee St
Tallahassee, FL 32304
Florida Museum of Natural History
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
FLORIDA GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Florida has been home to a unique succession of mammals for much of the
last 40 million years. Many species no longer live in the state, or have
become extinct. Most have left behind only scattered bones, incomplete
reminders of the interesting diversity of mammalian life here. This poster
illustrates some of Florida's extinct fossil mammals for which complete
skeletons have been reconstructed.
Poster compiled by Frank R. Rupert with the cooperation of:
The Daytona Beach Museum of Arts and Sciences, Daytona Beach, Florida
The Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville, Florida
The George C. Page Museum, Los Angeles, California
The Museum of Florida History, Tallahassee, Florida
For further reading:
Brown, R.C., 188, Florida's Fossils: Pineapple Press.
Kurten, B., 190, Pleisooene mammals o North
America: Columbia University Press, 442
Olsen, SJ.. 1959, Fossil mammals of Florida: Florida
Bureau of Geology Special Publication
No. 6, 74 p.
Scott, W.B., 1962, A history of land mammals in the
westemr hemisphere: Hafner Publishers,
Webb, S.D., 1974, Pleistocene mammals o Florida:
The Universiy Presses of Florida 259 p.
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The bison, Bison antiquus, roamed the Late Pleistocene grasslands of
Florida. Bison skeletons have been found In Florida, but to date, none
have been assembled. The pictured specimen is from the La Brea tar
pits in California. Length of the individual shown is about 10.5 feet.
Photo courtesy of the George C. Page Museum, Los Angeles, California.
A Pleistocene mammoth, Mammuthus columbo The pictured specimen
was found in Melbourne, Brevard County, in 1925, by paleontologists
from Amherst College in Massachusetts. It stands about thirteen feet tall.
Today the specimen is housed at the Pratt Museum of Natural History,
Amherst, Massachusetts. Photo by W.E. Corbin, from the FGS photo
Pleistocene mammoth and young. Mammoths were grazers, feeding
mainly on grasses. They were close relatives of the modern elephant.
Drawing by Andrew Janson, FGS, 1956.
Smilodon, the sabertooth cat, watches a herd of Pleistocene horses while its companions dine
in the foreground. Drawing by Andrew Janson, FGS, 1956.
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