November 5, 2007

Wis. Boy, 3, Finds Wooly Mammoth Tooth

LA CROSSE, Wis. - Gary Kidd had a pretty good idea that what his 3-year-old grandson had found was no rock, but the tooth of a woolly mammoth. That's because he had found one himself nine years ago.

Kaleb Kidd was playing Monday at a family friend's property near La Crosse when he spotted what looked like an unusual rock.

"Grandpa, what's that?" Kaleb asked.

He told his grandson it looked like the tooth of the extinct woolly mammoth.

Next stop was the Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, which confirmed that it was, indeed, the tooth of a mammoth.

Connie Arzigian, the center's lab director, said it could be 10,000 to 30,000 years old. It weighs 2 pounds and measures 6 inches long and 3 inches wide.

The latest find is in better shape than the one Gary Kidd brought up from the bottom of the Mississippi River in 1998. That tooth was water-soaked and had fallen apart, he was told when he took it to the center.

The center already has a woolly mammoth tooth in its collection, but it's always fun to see someone discover another one, Arzigian said.

"It's wonderful to get an idea of what was here in the past," she said.