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,