What would we do without curious children? Apparently, we would be down one ancient mastodon tooth as one little boy just made an incredible once-in-a-lifetime discovery.
Last month, Julian Gagnon, an inquisitive 6-year-old, had been walking a creek at Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve in Michigan when he spotted his awesome find. According to Fox News, Gagnon and his family initially believed he simply found a “standard rock” or a dinosaur tooth.
Gagnon told media that while walking the creek, he felt something on his foot. Of the discovery, he said, “it kind of looked like a tooth.” And what a tooth it is.
6-year-old Julian Gagnon was on a family walk in September when he made the incredible discovery of a mastodon tooth—and he’s donating the tooth to the University of Michigan!— University of Michigan Museum of Natural History (@UMMNH) October 2, 2021
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The child’s discovery happens to be an extremely rare 12,000-year-old mastodon tooth. At first, Gagnon thought he would earn money for the ancient tooth. He said, “I thought…I was gonna get a million dollars. So embarrassing right now.” What a cutie.
Anyway, Gagnon decided to put the ancient tooth to better use. Soon after making the discovery, he decided to donate the mastodon tooth to the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontologists.
Additionally, the rare find has provided some clarity as far as 6-year-old Julian is concerned. “I really wanted to be an archaeologist,” he shared, “but I think that was a sign that I’m going to be a paleontologist.”
Ancient Tooth Provides Contemporary Clarity
Gagnon’s mastodon discovery highlights the prevalence of the extinct creatures in Michigan long ago. However, other ancient teeth provide insight into other prehistoric creatures’ lifestyles.
Researchers previously discovered the tooth of an ancient sperm whale. The gouge marks across it reveal that the animal which previously possessed it suffered quite a violent death. Scientists studying the sperm whale tooth found it suffered an attack courtesy of history’s intriguing gigantic shark, the megalodon.
The gouge marks, three of which lie across the tooth, reveal that the creature attacking the ancient sperm whale possessed serrated, evenly spaced teeth. Further, the size and spacing of the gouge marks prove the only possible responsible party for the attack was megalodon.
Interestingly, measurements gleaned from the ancient tooth, dated to the Neogene period 23 to 2.5 million years ago, proved the deceased sperm whale was a diminutive 13 feet in length. Modern sperm whales occupy much more space, typically measuring around 50 feet in length.
Regardless, the historic attack proves the often 60-foot or more sharks were relentless in their hunt for food. Researcher Stephen Godfrey said the vicious ocean dwellers “were preying on whatever they wanted to, and no marine animal was safe from attacks from these giant sharks.”