SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) –
© Provided by WWSB Tampa Columbian Mammoth tusks discovered off Florida’s coast
About a month ago, Blair Morrow found a Columbian Mammoth tusk in the Gulf of Mexico during a routine scuba dive. It was found less than a mile offshore. The tusk that Blair discovered is roughly 8-feet long and is 22 inches around on the fat end of the tusk. She is a mate of the Aquanutz Scuba Diving Charters.
The most recent discovery of a Columbian Mammoth tusk was found by First Mate Ryan Picou, a diver with Aquanutz Scuba Diving Charters and involved in a group called iHUNTdeadThings (youtube.com/ihuntdeadthings). The Columbian Mammoth tusk that he found is about 6-feet long.
“You don’t think of something like that being around here,” says Glenn Swanger who is a diver with Aquanutz Scuba Diving Charters. Swanger says that he has found horse teeth, whale bones and other rare fossils. But he missed out on the excursion when the Columbian Mammoth tusks were discovered. “You just don’t see them come up. Blaire found one about a month ago, then all of a sudden you see Ryan’s post on your Facebook, and you’re like that’s another one,” said Swanger. The Columbian Mammoths are went extinct nearly 11,500 years ago.
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“It’s really cool for me to see the mix in the variety of animals that we encounter out there. This tusk in particular was in a fossil bed. So, there were glyptodonts scute laying right under it, which is a giant armadillo, a lot of different pieces of turtle shell. I really feel like that we are going to find a Saber Tooth Cat out there,” says Picou.
The divers with the Aquanutz Scuba Diver Charters don’t just dive anywhere, there is a method to where they decide to explore.
“When we have storms come through like this past cold front, those waves come through and expose certain areas. They kind of run in veins, so you just try to find that vein in rock and rubble, and then a lot of the times there will be fossil material mixed in,” states Picou.
It took a team of divers and a well thought out strategy to get the tusks out of the water without breaking apart. Picou says, “when the tusk fossilizes, a lot of the times it just breaks apart. You might come across a large tusk that breaks into thousands of pieces. We’ll find those little scraps pretty commonly, but to find the whole tusk together is pretty rare.”
There is a market for these kind of rare fossils, and depending on the buyer a complete Columbian Mammoth Tusk can be sold anywhere from $4,000-10,000.
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