The Mastodons ( Mastodontoidea ) are no longer in use for a taxon superfamily of mammoths. In this group, the families of gomphotheres Real mastodons ( Mammutidae ) and Stegodonten were originally ( Gomphotheriidae ), combined ( Stegodontidae ). Introduced the term Mastodontoidea for this group of Henry Fairfield Osborn (1857-1935) in 1921. Back she goes on Mastodon, 1817 by Georges Cuvier ( 1769-1832 ) was used for one today as Gomphotherium angustidens designated Rüsseltier the gomphotheres originally ( however, Cuvier had this in 1806 described as mastodonte à dents étroites ). The name comes from the Greek and means μαστός ( mastos, chest ) and οδον ( odon, tooth). It refers to the embossed by cusp molars looking at the side of a woman's breasts remind ( " Brustzähner ").

A commonality within the group of mastodons was her already significantly elephant -like appearance, where they were generally rather elongated and built lower and longer, flatter skull possessed. Early forms were, however, relatively small and rather short legs. Furthermore, they differed markedly nodular her Zahnbau of the elephant with its blade-like teeth. In addition, numerous representatives reported, in contrast to today's elephants on both the under-and also extended in the upper jaw tusks, which had developed from the incisors.

Due kladistischer studies, the mastodons are now assigned to different superfamilies. The Real mastodons now belong to the superfamily Mammutoidea that gomphotheres the superfamily Gomphotherioidea and Stegodonten the superfamily Elephantoidea. The latter also includes the current elephants. All three superfamilies belong to the Elephantimorpha. Mastodon The term is now used only for the American mastodon, mastodons hot while the rights in technical language Mammutiden.