Scientists excited by mammoth tusk discovery

2014-02-14 07:27
A worker cuts rebar next to an area at a construction site in Seattle where what is believed to be an ice age mammoth tusk was discovered on. (Ted S Warren, AP)

A worker cuts rebar next to an area at a construction site in Seattle where what is believed to be an ice age mammoth tusk was discovered on. (Ted S Warren, AP)

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Seattle - In the crowded south Lake Union neighbourhood where workers go out for espresso, an ice age mammoth died 10 000 years ago and remained until Tuesday, when a plumbing contractor crew uncovered its tusk.

Paleontologists with the University of Washington hope to move the tusk to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture in time for public viewing at its annual Dino Day on 8 March.

It's the latest example of the state fossil: the Columbian mammoth, Mammuthus columbi.

"They are very rare", said Christian Sidor, curator of vertebrate paleontology for the museum on the Seattle campus. "It will be an exciting fossil to get back to the museum."

A Transit Plumbing employee discovered the tusk on Tuesday at a construction site.

Worker Joe Wells "actually uncovered it with a shovel and sort of figured it was a tusk and stopped and contacted the general contractor", Transit Plumbing owner Jeff Estep said.

When Estep was told about the discovery, "I was going, like, 'Yeah, right.'"

It was more exciting than the time they found a jar of money someone had buried in a backyard, he said.

The Burke Museum was waiting for approval from the property owner on Wednesday to excavate the site and perhaps see if there are more buried bones.

"When you start digging, you never know", Sidor said.

Read more on:    us  |  animals  |  archaeology

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