A Christian charity in Michigan thought it had seen it all after receiving donations of drugs and urns that still contained ashes — until the bones of an extinct relative of the elephant were discovered while sifting through a donation box.
The Grand Rapids Press reports “In The Image,” which connects low-income residents with clothing, received a lacquer-covered tusk and a broken tooth “about the size of a loaf of bread” that seem to have belonged to a mastodon and may be anywhere from 12,000 to 15,000 years old. The artifacts have been added to the Grand Rapids Public Museum’s educational collection.
While the reddish-brown, elephant-mammoth lookalike hasn’t roamed the Great Lakes region in about 10,000 years, every now and then in Michigan, construction workers, a family digging a pond, and crayfishing 11-year-old cousins will stumble upon remains of the extinct mammal, which became the state fossil in 2002. And footprints believed to be the world’s largest mastodon trackway were discovered in the city of Saline, southwest of Ann Arbor, in 1992. A 40-foot plastic mold of the fragile prints was made and is on display at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Natural History.
Now to quote a famous Michigan rapper, would the Good Samaritan who donated the mastodon tooth to the charity please stand up?