The Red Book Of Animal Stories - online children's book

Stories of Animals, Fantastic and Mundane, Edited By Andrew Lang

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one pair of tusks, many of the species had two, one in each jaw.
This variety of proboscis-bearing or long-nosed quadruped of the elephant tribe was called the Masto­don. He lived in America as well as in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and could suit himself well to any climate, though, from the many remains that have been found in the temperate zones, he seems to have disliked extremes, either of hot or cold. The mastodon was a huge creature, the skeleton measuring as much as eleven feet in height, with long straight tusks that have been known to stand out as much as ten feet beyond its head. From the fact that stone arrow-heads have been discovered lying round the skeleton in America, and from stories told by the Indians, it seems likely that the mastodon was living in the New World, at any rate when the earliest men peopled the land ; but on our side of the Atlantic it had probably died out long before.
Anyone who examines the skeletons that have been pieced together by those who have made bones their study, will be struck by two things—the immense size and clumsiness of the dwellers both on earth and in the sea, ages and ages before man was dreamed of, and also by certain resemblances with several forms that survive up to the present moment. Besides the animals with long trunks, there are monsters with long heads, all stuck with bony nobs, and in shape like the rhinoceros. These skeletons are mostly found in North America, and teach us that the beasts to whom they belonged must have been very nearly as big as elephants, to whose legs theirs bear some likeness. Their bodies were very heavy and awkward, and their eyes small; they had an odd number of toes on their hoofs, and very small brains. Altogether, it is easy to understand how, when the rain descended, and the floods came, in those far-off times, long before the woolly rhinoceros was feeding with the mammoth on the
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