Salvage excavations of a nearly complete and remarkably well-preserved skeleton of an American mastodont (Mammut americanum) in Licking County, Ohio, yielded a discrete, cylindrical mass of plant material found in association with articulated vertebrae and associated ribs. This material is interpreted as intestinal contents of the mastodont and paleobotanical analyses indicate that the mastodont diet included significant amounts of low, herbaceous vegetation. Enteric bacteria (Enterobacter cloacae), isolated from a sample of this material, are believed to represent survivors or descendants of the intestinal microflora of the mastodont. This is the first report of the isolation of bacteria associated with late Pleistocene megafauna.
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