The rise and fall of the now-extinct mastodon exciting topic for March

By: Lisa S. Icenogle
Image for February, March, and April Werner Wildlife Study Series press releases.

The rise and fall of the now-extinct mastodon is the topic for the March edition of the Werner Wildlife Study Series. Russell Hawley will present ”Mastodons” on Thursday, March 21 at 7 p.m.

Hawley, the education specialist at the Tate Geological Museum, will talk about the natural history of the mastodon. The mastodon inhabited North and Central America from its emergence in the late Miocene to its extinction at the end of the Pleistocene over 10,000 years ago.

“Many people assume that the names mammoth and mastodon are more or less interchangeable, but, in reality, they are completely different beasts at opposite ends of the elephant family tree,” said Hawley. During his presentation, Hawley will discuss the American mastodon of the ice age and show what distinguished it from the woolly mammoth. Hawley will closely examine the ancestry of the American mastodon and discuss what he refers to as “weird mammals,” including the deinothere and the shovel-tusker. “Attendees will discover how these creatures solved the challenges of adapting to life as large land mammals and learn how the elephant really got his trunk,” Hawley noted.

At the Tate, Hawley gives tours and produces artwork for museum displays. He also contributes a paleontology question and answer column to the museum newsletter. According to his biography, Hawley has worked at the Tate since 1997 and has been digging up fossils in Wyoming since 1990.

The Werner Wildlife Study Series occurs in the Africa-Arctic Room in the Werner Wildlife Museum. The family-friendly event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the museum at 307-235-2108.

The Werner Wildlife Museum, located off the Casper College campus at 405 E. 15th Street, is free and open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Media contact: Lisa S. Icenogle

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