Trilophodon in Tennessee Backyard‎?

A man from Tennessee by the name of Jim Leyden got a real surprise this past week when trying to put in a new swimming pool in his backyard next to his home in Tennessee.

Contractors discovered the bones of a prehistoric mammal, possibly a Trilophodon, part of the mastodon family. Mastodons are extinct relatives of today's elephants.

I live in Tennessee and had no idea it was possible to find fossils of Trilophodons or other animals in your backyard.

How did the Trilophodon looked like? Was it just like an elephant?

asked by Anne in Science | 1885 views | 07-04-2010 at 10:20 PM

Fossils of mastodons -- forebears of the elephant -- previously have been found in the Mid-South, but this discovery is a significant one, the jawbone may have belonged to a close relative of the mastodon called a trilophodon, an animal which has never before been found in the Mid-South.

Trilophodon was about 5 m long and 2.5 m high, had four parallel tusks (two on the top jaw, two smaller ones on the bottom jaw) and lived from the Miocene epoch (26 million years ago) to the Pleistocene epoch (2 million years ago) in Europe, Eurasia, Africa, and North America.

Trilophodons basically looked like this.

Trilophodon fossil

The trilophodon had a long, pointed chin tipped with two short tusks, a short trunk and two larger tusks on the skull that curved down. The fossil found Wednesday belonged to an adult that was 7 to 8 feet tall and 12 to 15 feet long and weighed between one and two tons.

It was very lucky for this man to find one of these rare fossils in his backyard.

answered by Weston | 07-04-2010 at 10:21 PM

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