San Francisco construction crews dug up an 11,000-year-old woolly mammoth tooth and possibly a jaw yesterday afternoon, more than 100 feet below the surface where the city's Central Station is to be built.
Crane operator Brandon Valasik was excavating at the east end of the Transbay Transit Center site in downtown when he made the toothy find.
Experts have confirmed that the tooth comes from a Columbian Mammoth -- a relative of the modern day elephant that lived in the Bay Area during the Pleistocene epoch. They are still trying to confirm that they also found a jaw belonging to the historic beast.
During that period -- which was more than 2.5 million years ago -- the San Francisco Bay Area was considered a grassy valley that
closely resembled the Serengeti of East Africa, with saber tooth cats, giant ground sloths, mastodons,
elk, tapirs, and bison, which as you know can be found in Golden
Gate Park today.
Apparently, this mammoth had some nice chops, as paleontology consultants say the tooth had "nicely preserved enamel ridges" on both the side and the top, making it easier for researchers to learn more about the Pleistocene and the overall evolutionary process of extinct organisms.
The kind folks over at the Transbay Joint Power Authority are planning to donate the tooth to the California Academy of Sciences; there 's also some talk about putting the relic on public exhibition.
Follow us on Twitter at @TheSnitchSF and @SFWeekly