Construction worker finds woolly mammoth tooth in Iowa: DGR


DGR Engineering says employee Justin Blauwet found this mammoth tooth at a construction site in Sheldon, Iowa.

Photo provided by DGR Engineering

When Justin Blauwet made his “unique discovery” observing the construction project of an engineering firm, he immediately understood what it was all about.

That’s because he’s always had an interest in fossils and prehistoric animals, and his two young sons also have a “huge interest” in dinosaurs.

What he had found was a woolly mammoth toothsaid his employer DGR Engineering, and officials later confirmed that Blauwet had successfully identified his rare find.

“I’m a ‘nerd’ like that,” he said in the company’s March 16 press release.

The engineering firm said Blauwet was “conducting a construction observation on a lift station project” at property owned by Northwest Iowa Community College (NCC) on Friday, March 4, when he spotted the “clearly exposed” dent. On the ground.

“This is something you can’t find on campus every day – a woolly mammoth tooth! » CNC shared on Facebook.

DGR Engineering says employees then contacted Tiffany Adrain, Paleontology Repository Instructor, University of Iowa for confirmation.

“Although the discovery of mammoth remains is not uncommon in Iowa, once bones and teeth are exposed, they can crumble and disappear quickly because they are not completely fossilized,” Adrain said, according to DGR. “It was a happy find.”

The tooth weighed 11.2 pounds and measured 11 inches by 7 inches by 4 inches.

“This is an upper 3rd molar, likely a right one,” Chris Widga, chief curator at East Tennessee State University, said in the press release. “Based on the degree of wear, this animal was likely in his early 30s when he died.”

The preserved tooth probably lay in the ground for more than 20,000 years, from the Last Glacial Maximumaccording to the press release.

“Measures are taken to prevent the tooth from drying out too quickly and possibly disintegrating,” DGR said.

The town of Sheldon says the tooth belongs to NCC and the university plans to donate it to the Sheldon Prairie Museum.

“NCC has already forged many ties with its communities over the past half-century. When Blauwet discovered this woolly mammoth tooth, she discovered an even deeper connection – a connection that now connects our campus property to the prehistoric era of retreating glaciers,” said NCC President Dr. John Hartog, in the press release. “As NCC is the public college for all of its communities, we are pleased to display the tooth at the Sheldon Prairie Museum on semi-permanent loan.

“That way everyone from our service area can come to the museum to see and appreciate this artifact,” he continued. “We could display it at the College for special occasions, but we will house the artifact at the Sheldon Prairie Museum.

The Sheldon Prairie Museum has confirmed that the tooth is “coming soon”.

Sheldon is in the northwest corner of Iowaabout 225 miles from Des Moines.

Kaitlyn Alanis is a McClatchy National Realtime Reporter based in Kansas. She is an alumnus of agricultural communication and journalism at Kansas State University.

Alice F. Ponder