Owner Donates Mammoth Tusk Discovered in Downtown Seattle to Washington Museum


Owner of the site, where workers recently found a mammoth's tusk, has decided to donate the tusk to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture at the University of Washington.

The tusk was discovered during an excavation at South Lake Union area of Seattle.

When the construction workers belonging to Transit Plumbing hit something hard Tuesday, they realized it was a mammoth tusk and immediately reported to the experts. The fossil was buried about 25-to-30 feet below street level at the construction site.

"The excavation will cause us some construction delay. But the scientific and educational benefits of this discovery clearly outweigh the costs and delay. This is an exciting discovery for our local Northwest history," Scott Koppelman, senior vice president of AMLI Residential, said.

Christian Sidor of the Burke Museum said that the tusk probably dates back approximately 10,000 years. The museum will determine the precise age by using carbon dating.  

Jack Horner of the Museum of the Rockies and Montana State University said that the tusk is a relatively rare find because artifacts unearthed at construction sites are normally destroyed by big machines before anyone even notices them.

As a result, the specimen should be preserved for educational purposes so that future generations will know that mammoth elephants once roamed in Seattle.

"A lot of times, people think these things are worth a lot of money," Horner said. Their true value is educational, not what someone can sell a tusk for on eBay, the Epoch Times reports.

Although the specimen is considered a rare find, the tusks and teeth of the ancient relative of the elephant are frequently uncovered in the state of Washington. The Columbian mammoth is named the state fossil of Washington.

If given a chance, the owner said that he would do something commercial with the ice age tusk.

Allyson Brooks, the Washington state preservation officer, said that the decision to determine the status of paleontological finds lies with landowner. They can sell it, destroy it, donate it or ignore it. But the rules are different for human remains or archaeological value because Washington State has introduced laws for such situations.

In 2004, Washington State stopped the construction of a bridge project, after remnants of an ancient Indian village and burial ground were found.

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