SHELDON, Iowa (KCAU) — A woolly mammoth tooth found in Sheldon, Iowa, is believed to be as old as the last time Earth experienced a glacial maximum — which scientists say dates back more than 20,000 years.
The dent was discovered about two weeks ago at a construction site on the campus of Northwest Iowa Community College. Justin Blauwet, a wastewater technician with DGR Engineering, was checking on the station’s progress when he made the extraordinary discovery.
“I had just been going back to that place just to check if something else had been done or something and I stopped and started looking around and then it was right there,” Blauwet said.
Blauwet said he believed the woolly mammoth tooth sat on top of an excavated pile of dirt for about a month. Once he saw it, he knew it was more than just an old rock.
“My 6-year-old really likes dinosaurs and stuff like that, so we watch the Discovery Channel all the time,” Blauwet said. “All the dinosaur shows, and stuff with woolly mammoths and all that. So it’s kind of from there that I recognized him.
The tooth is believed to be a molar and weighs around 11 pounds. Since he was found on the NCC campus, they have been putting him on display for the past two days along with a mammoth rib and vertebrae that were donated to the school decades ago.
NCC President John Hartog said the new artifact had the campus buzzing with excitement.
“It reminds us of our past again, connects us to what came before, and it’s great, it’s exciting, it’s interesting,” Hartog said. “It brought a lot of people together and we’re talking about it.”
Hartog said the tooth will be on display at the Sheldon Prairie Museum for the foreseeable future, but would like to show NCC’s three mammoth fossils one day.