Diver Finds Mastodon Jaw In Georgia River

| by Karin Sun
Bill Eberlein posing with the mastodon jaw fossil he discoveredBill Eberlein posing with the mastodon jaw fossil he discovered

A man reportedly found a fossilized mastodon jaw in a river near Savannah, Georgia.  

Bill Eberlein, a professional diver and shark teeth hunter, recently discovered the ancient fossil embedded in mud at the bottom of the Intracoastal Waterway in Richmond Hill, Georgia, Savannah Morning News reported on April 26.

Eberlein was reportedly diving in 45 feet of water when he found the fossil.

"I was doing my normal dive when I felt what I thought was a fossilized log, but when I felt the molars I knew I had found something very rare," he told Savannah Morning News about his discovery.

"[The fossil] was really heavy to bring to the surface after I dug it out of the mud and weighs about 60 pounds," Eberlein added.

The jaw Eberlein discovered belonged to a mastodon, a large elephant-like mammal that roamed North America during the Ice Age and became extinct 10,000 years ago. The creature was reportedly 9 feet tall at the shoulder and weighed about 4 or 5 tons.

Eberlein said he had never found anything like this before. 

"I have been diving in coastal Georgia rivers for over 15 years for prehistoric shark teeth, but this is the first time I have discovered a mastodon jaw," he said, adding that he had found individual mastodon teeth in the past.

A former teacher turned entrepreneur, Eberlein frequently dives in the muddy coastal rivers of Georgia to search for megalodon teeth, which can be as long as 6 inches. Megalodons are ancient sharks that became extinct more than 2 million years ago.

Eberlein became a certified search and rescue diver about 30 years ago when he lived in Erie, Pennsylvania. He conducted search and rescue operations in Lake Erie, where he was trained to work in areas of low visibility.

He began hunting for shark teeth and other fossils after moving to Savannah 14 years ago. 

Sources: Savannah Morning News (2) / Photo Credit: Lesley Francis PR/Savannah Morning News

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