9-Year-Old Michigan Boy Steps On 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A 9-year-old Michigan boy found a mastodon tooth dating back 10,000 years in a creek near his home.

Phillip Stoll found the tooth with his bare feet.

“It felt weird,” he told the Detroit Free Press. “I had to see what it was. I pulled it out and brought it to my mom.”

Phillip and his mother, Heidi Stoll, thought they had found an oddly shaped rock or a car part.

“I didn’t even think that it could have been a tooth until I started checking online for some kind of match,” Heidi said. “We saw a picture of a Mastodon tooth and said ‘there it is.’”

The family emailed a picture of the find to Jim Harding, Michigan State University Herpetologist and Wildlife Outreach Specialist for the Department of Zoology and MSU Museum.

Harding confirmed it’s a tooth from the top portion of a mastodon's mouth, which probably broke off from the 10,000-pound beast.

Mastodons, which could grow up to 9 feet in height, died out at the end of the Pelisocene period.

“These were elephant-sized beasts that roamed through Michigan over 10,000 years ago,” Harding said. “They would look like a hairy elephant if you saw one today.”

Their remains turn up every three or four years in Michigan.

“It is a great reminder of what used to roam the country,” he said. “It most likely got stuck in a swampy area and drowned.”

Phillip and his six siblings are homeschooled by Heidi and the specimen has become part of their lessons.

“It’s really neat how it looks like a giant tooth,” Phillip said. “It was fun trying to figure out what it was. My mom was surprised.”

Sources: Detroit Free Press