Fishermen Catch 12,000-Year-Old Mammoth Tooth, Auction It Off To Donate Money To Ukraine

by Megan Molseed
Getty Images

It was quite an amazing catch, even though it was also an extremely unexpected one. And now, A New England fisherman who pulled up a 12,000-year-old mammoth molar during a fishing exhibition plans to sell off the unique item and donate all of the proceeds to help the people of war-torn Ukraine.

The New England Fishmongers, a crew based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, were dredging for scallops off the coast of Newburyport Massachusetts last winter. But, the crew, headed by captain Tim Rider would soon learn this trip would be an extraordinary one when they discovered they had caught something pretty unusual, a 7-pound mammoth tooth.

Knowing he had something quite valuable in his possession, Rider moved fast, taking the artifact to the experts at the University of New Hampshire (UNH). It was here that the 11-inch mammoth molar was officially authenticated.

“It’s quite big,” says UNH geology professor Will Clyde of the valuable fossil. Clyde adds that he has seen other area fishermen pull up fossils similar to this one. However, the professor notes that few of these finds are as well preserved as Rider’s.

The Mammoth Fossil Is A Reminder Of A World That Existed Not-So Long Ago

When thinking of the discovery, the geology professor adds that he is often fascinated by the finds. Especially when considering how discoveries such as this one highlight the connection our modern world has with its geological past.

A mammoth molar is often flat with ridges that the extinct animal used to break up its food. Getty Images

“I always love thinking about the landscape in New England, with mammoths and mastodons walking around,” the professor explains. “And in terms of geological times, that wasn’t that long ago.”

The Fisherman Wasn’t Sure What To Do With The Unique Mammoth Tooth – Until Now

Since pulling up the unique -and very rare – find, the 12,000-year-old mammoth tooth has been kept on display at Tim Rider’s Kittery, Maine restaurant. Rider, of course, did appreciate the awesome conversations the molar created since the December discovery. However, the Maine business owner knew that the mammoth molar’s journey wasn’t over. But, just exactly what he needed to do with it was unclear. Until now.

With the humanitarian crisis continuing to unfold in Ukraine, Rider decided that the unique fossil could do some good. He quickly turned to eBay, posing the rare molar for sale. He plans to donate every cent he earns from the sale to the people of Ukraine.

“I can’t imagine what it is like for folks over there,” Rider explains.

“So we found a charity that works with food,” the restaurant owner continues. “And our chefs know the chefs who started that.”

All Procedes Will Go to Create Hot Meals In the Ukraine

Rider explains that the money raised from the sale of the rare fossil will go to an organization called World Central Kitchen. This organization serves hot meals in several Ukrainian cities. The World Central Kitchen also provides meals at border crossings, feeding refugees fleeing the country during the Russian invasion.

“Obviously, I can’t solve the world’s problems as a fisherman,” Rider explains. “But I can contribute to help the people that are suffering.”

The online auction will remain open until Sunday. So far, bids are approaching an unbelievable amount of 10 thousand dollars. And, says Rider, the higher the bid the better.

“If it makes several thousand dollars, that’s good,” the fisherman says of the fossil. “It’s going to help someone.”