Mastodon excavation, 1799

The first American Mastodon (Mammuthus)

    The first American mastodon to be exhumed was found in a swamp in New York state in 1799.  The artist Charles Peale (the figure at right in black, holding a sketch of the leg bone) paid $300 for the remains and painted this picture of the excavation. The possibility that such creatures might still be living in the unexplored interior of North America was one of the motivations for the Lewis & Clark Expedition of 1804.

Text material © 2018 by Steven M. Carr