Hyde Park Mastodon Research: Mastodon Teeth Isotopes

"You are what you eat." This is true not only for humans, but extinct mastodons as well. Scientists have drilled holes in the teeth of both the Hyde Park and Gilbert Mastodons and are analyzing the chemistry of these cuttings. As an amimal eats, certain chemical ratios of the food it eats becomes incorporated into the animal's bones and teeth. It is therefore possible to determine, for example, whether or not an extinct animal ate meat or was strictly vegetarian, and what sorts of vegetation an herbivore would have eaten.