8-month-old Scout digs up 13,000-year-old woolly mammoth tooth in Washington man’s backyard.
Kirk Lacewell has lived in Langley, Wa. for approximately six years, part of that time with his dog, Scout. But when Scout began to dig into the backyard, it wasn’t just any old rock he was uncovering — it was a woolly mammoth tooth.
“I saw him with what looked like a rock to me one day a couple months ago and I didn’t think anything of it,” Lacewell told Fox News. “And then the next day he had that rock again. He was just carrying it around the yard.”
Initially, Lacewell thought it was just a rock, but it seemed different and he called experts at the University of Washington who confirmed that it was something much greater than a rock. “I called the museum over there at the University of Washington and the paleontologists examined the pictures and told me this was part of a wooly mammoth tooth,” Lacewell said.
Lacewell was told the tooth could be as old as 13,000-years-old. While it isn’t a rare find for the western part of Washington, according to the Burke Museum, it was most definitely a big find for Lacewell’s dog, Scout.
Now, Lacewell’s neighbors wonder what other prehistoric treasures could be hidden below the surface. Lacewell told Fox News he intends to keep the tooth as a family heirloom, adding that Scout could wind up finding more hidden gems.
“You know Andy Warhol said everybody’s going to have fifteen minutes of fame, well Scout and I are famous for fifteen minutes now.”
Mammoth recoveries around the world
Most woolly mammoths died out about 10,000 years ago, though there have been some remains found on the remote Wrangel Island, off the northern coast of eastern Siberia, that have been dated back to approximately 1,700 years ago. In October, woolly mammoth bones believed to be 130,000 years-old were discovered in England as road workers expanded the A14 highway.
While many scientists believe they died off from the changing climate and human hunters, others are attempting to bring back the mammoth with the use of gene editing, including the controversial CRISPR gene editing tool.
George Church, a Harvard and MIT geneticist and co-founder of CRISPR is the head of the Harvard Woolly Mammoth Revival team, a project that is in attempting to introduce mammoth genes into the Asian elephant for conservation purposes.
“The elephants that lived in the past — and elephants possibly in the future — knocked down trees and allowed the cold air to hit the ground and keep the cold in the winter, and they helped the grass grow and reflect the sunlight in the summer,” Church told Live Science in May. “Those two [factors] combined could result in a huge cooling of the soil and a rich ecosystem.”
In June, a mysterious mammoth bone was found on a beach in Loch Ryan in southwest Scotland.
In August, a frozen woolly mammoth was found in Siberia, with researchers theorizing that it may be a new type of species, because of its small stature. It has been dubbed a “Golden mammoth” and could be as much as 50,000 years old.
In September, a mammoth kill site was found in Austria, where Stone Age people slaughtered mammoths.
Fox News’ Steve Kiggins and James Rogers contributed to this report. Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia