Mastodon Project

Welcome to the Mastodon Project

Over the past decade tens of thousands of students from across the U.S. have participated in the Mastodon Matrix Project TM. The project has attracted considerable media attention, most recently an article first published in LiveScience.com:

4th-Grade "Paleontologists" Discover 11,500-Year-Old Mastodon Hair

If you would like to help more children become citizen scientists, please click here to donate.

Since August, 1999, PRI, in conjunction with Cornell University, has been involved with  mastodon excavations in Hyde Park, NY and in Chemung County, NY (Cornell's Gilbert Mastodon). Click below to find out more about the digs, research currently being done on both sites, and a host of other information.

Mastodons walking across Ithaca's South Hill, 13,000 years ago, painting by Ithaca artist W.C. Dilger (1952)

What is a mastodon?


Mastodons are extinct relatives of modern elephants which branched off the elephant family tree around 15 million years ago. Mastodons were numerous and widespread in North America up until around 10,000 years ago, when they became extinct together with many other species of large mammals at the end of the last glacial period.

Click Here for a printable pdf line drawing of the bones of a typical mastodon