Mammoths and mastodons were distantly-related kinds of elephants that lived during the Pleistocene. Their teeth were very different and are the best feature for telling them apart.
Mammoths and mastodons are extinct types of elephants (or, more technically, proboscideans) that are frequently confused. Both were common during the Ice Age of the Pleistocene Epoch, but they had different ecological preferences and are usually found separately as fossils.
In skeletal details, the quickest way to tell the difference between a mammoth and mastodon skeleton is by the teeth (see below). The teeth are indicative of the two species' ecological differences. Both mammoths and mastodons became extinct around 10,000 years ago.
Mammoths were close cousins of modern African and Asian elephants.
Compared with mastodons, mammoths were taller and thinner, with a high "domed" skull.
Mammoths had teeth with numerous parallel rows of low ridges, very similar to those of modern elephants. They referred tough, silica-rich grasses. Their teeth were therefore suitable for grinding.
Mastodons are distant relatives of modern elephants and mammoths. They are a separate evolutionary branch of proboscideans that branched off from the modern elephant line during the Miocene epoch.
Compared with mammoths, mastodons have a shorter, stockier build and longer body.
Mastodons have teeth with cone-shaped ridges, a bit like the bottom of an egg carton. They preferred to bite off twigs of brush and trees. Their teeth were therefore adapted for cutting.