Special Report: Michigan Mastodons

Although the mastodon went extinct around 10,000 years ago, they shaped a tree through evolution that can still be seen today in parts of northern Michigan.

If you’ve ever spent time in the woods in Michigan, chances are you’ve seen honey locust seed pods, and those long, curly seed pods have also been preserved in the stomachs of mastodons, leading scientists to believe they were a popular food for these giant elephant-like creatures.Mastodon

Mastodons would digest the sweet pods, and the seeds would pass through, landing in new locations. It’s thought that the trees used the mastodons as one of the main distributors of their seeds. Over time, the trees developed a defensive feature to ward off mastodons.

We might not see mastodons roaming Michigan anytime soon, but the evidence of their time here is likely to stick around.

So the next time your in the woods of Michigan, take a second and look around. You might just find yourself face to face with a prehistoric weapon of nature.