I spend a lot of energy commanding my dog to stop digging in the backyard. After this story, maybe I will just allow him to dig, he might find a treasure in my backyard. In this case, the little dog discovered something spectacular and of huge scientific importance.
The dog, a Labrador retriever, lived in Whidbey Island, Washington with its owner. It loved to dig, and in September, the Labrador’s efforts paid off with the discovery of a 13,000-year-old mammoth fossil. At first, it was not clear what the object was, but the scent excited the dog. It was like the dog knew it had unearthed something of a great mystery.
The object was analyzed, and it later turned out to be a mammoth tooth. The dog’s owner Kirk Lacewell was excited about the discovery, and the potential of finding more fossils in his backyard.
Lacewell confirmed he knew when the dog named Scout discovered the fossil, but at that time it looked like a piece of rock. Scout had other thoughts, he played with the discovery and did not discard it; Scout carefully left the mammoth fossil at a location it could be seen by Lacewell the next day. A closer look revealed the object had the features of a bone. Lacewell washed it and realized that he was holding something that needed to be further examined by professionals.
The pictures of the bone were sent to the scientists at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum. They examined its features and determined what it was, and its age was estimated. Lacewell had read about such discoveries before but never imagined he will be the person to make such a finding. He was in possession of a mammoth's tooth, it was incredible.
At the Burke Museum, it was confirmed that there had been so many other fossils of woolly mammoths discovered in different parts of the Whidbey Island. This indicates that many years ago the Island was home to hundreds of these creatures. The unique composition of their bones made it possible to be preserved for many years. The woolly mammoths are thought to have gone extinct after the last Ice Age which happened about 11,000 years ago.
It is not known if Lacewell plans to sell his mammoth tooth. For now, it hangs on his living room mantle, where he and other visitors can admire the tooth. There have been so many discoveries in the area, so museums are not particularly interested in purchasing the tooth because they have so many already. However, it helps to know that neighbors and friends will not have to make a trip to the museum if they want to see what a mammoth's tooth looks like. All it takes is a visit to Lacewell’s home.
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