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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Crane Worker Finds Gnarly Mammoth Tooth at Central Station Construction Site

Posted By on Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Obviously, an avid flosser - MAURICIO ANTÓN/WIKIPEDIA
  • Mauricio Antón/Wikipedia
  • Obviously, an avid flosser

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. 

click to enlarge Nice teeth - MAURICIO ANTÓN/WIKIPEDIA
  • Mauricio Antón/Wikipedia
  • Nice teeth

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.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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