A 12-year-old kid found an ancient wooly mammoth tooth while on vacation in Ohio’s Amish Country.
As reported by Fox 8, Jackson Hepner—a relative of the hotel manager at The Inn at Honey Run in Millersburg, Ohio— found the tooth
while enjoying the late spring climate with his family, who were there for a big reunion.
As the family was taking a few photos of one another close to Honey Run Creek, Hepner saw a peculiar looking item by the edge
of the water. When he recovered it from the mud, he understood it was some kind of tooth.
“I found the tooth about ten yards upstream from the bridge we had our family pictures on,” Hepner wrote on the hotel’s blog.
“It was partially buried on the left side of the creek. It was completely out of the water on the creek bed.”
The family took the tooth to specialists Nick Kardulias from the College of Wooster’s Program of Archeology, Dale Gnidovec from The Ohio State University’s Orton Geological Museum and Nigel Ashland, from Ashland University’s Geology Department.
Between them, the specialists recognized the tooth as that of a wooly mammoth. It has unmistakable parallel edges, which the creatures used to ground down their food, including grass and seeds. They determined the tooth was an upper third molar.
“We’re thrilled to be the site of a unique and special find that proves there could be some hidden treasures among the rolling hills of Ohio’s Amish Country still waiting to be uncovered,” the hotel team wrote in the blog.
Since the specialists have examined the tooth, Hepner is now anxious to have his discovery returned back to him. “I would like to have my tooth back in my hands as soon as possible,” he wrote in the blog. “I want to show my friends.”
Wooly mammoths wandered what is today the state of Ohio, during the last Ice Age. This spanned the years roughly between 110,000 and 12,000 years ago. It should be noted, however, that the very last of the Wooly Mammoths on Earth survived until roughly 4,000 years ago, in Siberia.
“During the Ice Age there were two kinds of ‘elephants’ living in Ohio—mammoths and mastodons,” Gnidovec said in an interview to Newsweek.
“Their remains have been found at about 230 places around the state, usually only a bone here or a tooth there. Mastodons are much more common—there have been at least half a dozen nearly complete skeletons found here—mammoths much more rare.
That is because Ice Age Ohio had much more forested areas, which the mastodons lived in, that it did open grasslands preferred by the mammoths.”
“Mammoths entered North America from Asia around two million years ago but the ones in Ohio are much later, generally in the neighborhood of 13,000 years old, about the time they became extinct,” he said. “Multiple glacial advances over our state destroyed earlier evidence.”
Gnidovec argues that man was the most likely reason for their extinction, either directly by overhunting, or because of the way humans disrupted the Mammoth’s environment. They had survived many changes in the ice, but not the arrival of Man.
“The landscape and wildlife that visitors at the Inn experience now is definitely changed from the time of the great Ice Age,” the Inn team wrote in the blog.
“What is now lush greenery, flowing waters, and hundreds of beautiful species was once an enormous glacial sheet that would slowly (and literally) shape Ohio’s future.
The unearthing of the Mammoth tooth shows that there are definite pieces of ancient history hidden around us, connecting us to an interesting past.”