Mammoth Discovery in Douglas County

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Construction workers make a rare find in Douglas County. It appears to be a tusk from a Columbian mammoth.

The mammoth made its home in Colorado some 50,000 years ago. On Monday, construction crews were digging a road near Parker when they “struck gold.” What crews first thought was a log, turned out to be ivory. The tusk is likely from a full-grown Columbian Mammoth. It stretched 14-feet long and was broken in two.

The Columbian Mammoth is a cousin of the Wooly Mammoth, but it lived in warmer climates. It roamed the western United States hundreds of thousands of years before the Wooly arrived and was much bigger---probably larger than a modern day African elephant, with tusks weighing 200 pounds.

Volunteers put the tusk in a cast so they could take it to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and determine its age. They also want to know more about when and where the mammoth lived, and how it died. Dr. Russ Graham is chief curator of the museum. "If we can understand the mechanisms that caused that extinction, it will tell us more about what we may face and the animals and plants of the earth may face with future global warming."

Crews will remain on the site in case any more bones are discovered.