SEATTLE -- A Ice Age tusk was been found thirty feet below a housing development in South Lake Union Tuesday morning.
Construction crews preparing to lay concrete made the discovery on land at the corner of Mercer and Pontius.
Paleontologists from the Burke Museum were called by the contractor, and indicated confidence it "represents a tusk from an Ice Age mammoth."
"They turn up in the glacial till," explained paleontologist Bruce Crowley from the Burke Museum, "This is the kind of sediment in which you're going to find things like that."
Crowley inspected the tusk himself, which he called "cool" and "really nice".
The tusk was first found by journeyman plumber Joe Wells from Transit Plumbing.
"I noticed something different," said Wells, "Didn't take long for us to figure out it was a tusk.
"I've dug a lot of ditches and seen bottles and other weird stuff," he continued, "Never anything like this."
The bone is on private property, so it’s up to the landowner to decide what to do with it.
According to Burke Museum scientists, mastodons and mammoths went extinct thousands of years ago, but were prevalent in a region stretching from Siberia to North America. They died out as the glaciers receded at the end of the Ice Ages, between 10,000 and 11,000 years ago.
Mammoths, larger than mastodons and more closely related to elephants, arrived in North America from Asia about 2 million years ago. Some grew to 12 feet at the shoulder and has very long tusks that curved from the face and then upwards. They ate grass with flat teeth, similar to the teeth of modern elephants.