Mastodons were primarily browsers who tended more toward woody plants while mammoths favored the grasslands. They were somewhat shorter and stockier than mammoths and their lives may have resembled those of the modern African forest elephants. Wisconsin hosted an abundant population of "furry elephants" during the Ice Age.
This is the skeleton of the "Boaz Mastodon," discovered in 1897 just west of Richland Center, Wisconsin. It is now on display at the University of Wisconsin Geology Museum in Madison. This creature was part of the inspiration for Journeys: An Ice Age Adventure.
Mastodon bones and teeth are found throughout the Midwest and sometimes yield evidence of humans butchering them.
Check out new research into the Boaz Mastodon at these links. The new discoveries are even more fascinating!
Explore the UW Geology Museum.
Check out the pictures of a mastodon tooth discovered by kids in Iowa this summer! http://www.uiu.edu/ocm/news/2013/jul/mastodon-tooth.html
Check out The Elephant Listening Project and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust (Orphan's Project) to learn about mastodons through the lives of their modern cousins.
This link describes the probable role of mastodons in their ecosystem and warns of impending danger regarding today's forest elephant population.