Presumed mammoth tusk is actually a whale jawbone

SANTA CRUZ ISLAND, Calif. (AP) - Earlier this month, a graduate
student photographed what some thought was a remarkable find: A
complete tusk of a prehistoric pygmy mammoth.
Fortunately, it didn't turn out to be a mammoth - it was
something even far older.
A team of researchers spent two days on Santa Cruz Island
excavating and determined it was a jawbone from an extinct whale
species.
Lotus Vermeer of the Nature Conservancy says the bone was found
in a rock formation estimated to be between 9.5 million to 25
million years old - long before mammoths roamed the Channel
Islands.
The team dug out the bone and cast it in plaster. The bone,
about 3 feet in length, then was airlifted out via a helicopter.
A number of other bones were found nearby that could be even
older and may include an intact whale skull.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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