Monday, 9 November 2015

Mammoth tusk unearthed in Idaho sparking hunt for full skeleton

12-foot Columbian mammoth tusk found in Idaho
9:55PM GMT 06 Nov 2015

A 12-foot Columbian mammoth tusk has been unearthed in Idaho and scientists say more of the fossil skeleton might still be buried at the site.

Researchers say the large herbivore lived 72,000 to 200,000 years ago and was about 16 to 19 when it died. Its left tusk was found earlier this year at American Falls Reservoir.

"That's a really good find out there," said Mary Thompson, collections manager at the Idaho Museum of Natural History at Idaho State University. "We know we have Columbian mammoth (in the region). We're constantly finding bits and pieces."

Researchers with the university unearthed about 60 percent of the skull last year and about 8 feet of the right tusk after a volunteer with the US Bureau of Reclamation spotted the fossil.

Rising water at the reservoir forced a stop to the excavation, but researchers returned this year when the water dropped and removed the tusk last week.

Thompson said the tusk will likely go on display next year.

She said the recently found mammoth specimen is likely better preserved than others in the area because it spent thousands of years under the sediment of the ancient American Falls Lake that formed when a lava flow dammed what is now the Snake River.

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