<i>Mammut americanum</i>

In 1740, the Baron of Longueil, back from his trip to North America, presented the court of France with the strange animal bones that were found along the Ohio River: a femur, a tusk, and molars (shown here). Following several debates on the matter, the naturalist Buffon declared in 1778 that they were the remains of a “lost species”. The concept of a fossil was thus born from Mammut americanum – a North American species that appeared 3.75 million years ago and died out around 10,000 years ago.

The original specimen is kept at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris.
© Miguasha National Park