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A Story of a Mastodon Named Fred That Ends in a Violent Death

By: Lian Zhu

About 13,000 years ago, a mastodon we call Fred was born somewhere in the midwestern United States. Fred’s early life he stayed close to his parents. At some point, he left his family to make his own mark.

Fred walked around in which is now Indiana. For the rest of his life, Fred competed in violent battles for a mate. These were violent and physical battles. Eventually looking for a mate led to his end.

Dead at age 34, in a battle, for a mate, the male fought harshly. These days Fred’s preserved skeleton is in the Indiana State Museum. His tusks were the main subject to look at his life. Analyzing his tusks with chemical compounds, people can see about his seasonal migration pattern.

Mastodons’ tusks grow in layers so that scientist can learn by nutrients stuck between the layers. With this, scientists can study more about Fred’s behavior.

How did his last battle bring him to his own end? In the battle Fred tried to fend himself but failed. The other male fought fiercely. Their tusks are their main weapons. Like that, they fought. That battle was going to take him down. The opponent lunged and stabbed on of his tusks into Fred’s skull and broke it.

The violent injury killed him immediately and that was the end of Fred the mastodon.

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