Fisherman scoops up mammoth's tooth from the sea

POSTED: Saturday, February 23, 2013 - 8:30pm

UPDATED: Saturday, February 23, 2013 - 8:34pm

When you're dragging a net through a body of water, you're likely to dredge up anything.

One fishing boat captain came across something that likely hasn't been seen for thousands of years.

Captain Mike Anderson found a mammoth's tooth.

The Rimrack hauls in shrimp in January, then converts to scalloping.

As he has for years, Captain Mike Anderson sells his catch right off the dock at Rye Harbor in New Hampshire.

He says he's seen it all.

But a mammoth tooth, that is a first. He talked to CNN by phone while he was fishing on Thursday.

Capt. Mike Anderson said: "We pick through the scallop shells, and threw a few rocks over and we ended up finding that tooth. If you've ever had a tooth extracted, you could see where the nerve ending came off, there's a hole in it."

According to an expert, its not the first evidence that the wooly close cousins of elephants were in these parts, but what Mike Anderson found is rare, and unusual.

He was in about 120-feet of water, about 8-miles due south.

Via Skype, Padi Anderson showed the tooth to Will Clyde, a UNH paleontologist working on a project in Argentina.

Clyde said, "You can see it has on the surface I'm looking at, it has these long crests cut across the tooth, and that's very distinctive of mammoths."

He explained that ten thousand years ago just before mammoths became extinct, the sea level here was 180 feet lower than today. So you could likely walk to the isles of shoals.

Clyde said, "They probably would have been partly forested, and they would have been grazing. Mammoths were grazers, that means they ate grass."

For now, the Andersons say they plan on showing off their discovery to customers at the Rye Harbor dock.

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