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Stone Age catch

JAN. 12 — A fisherman from Maine hauled in an object recently while dredging for scallops that experts say is an ancient mastodon tusk.

Fisherman Tim Winchenbach, of Cushing, Maine, discovered the foot-long tusk-like object and took it home to examine it, a Boston Globe newspaper report says. He sent photos of the tusk to the MaineStateMuseum. Paula T. Work, curator of zoology at the museum, later examined the specimen and determined it was a piece of a mastodon tusk.

"I'd like to have it carbon dated so I know how old it is,” Winchenbach says in another news report. “Because they don't really know how long ago it was that [Georges Bank, where he found the tusk] was dry land, and how far back the dry land was there.”

Mastodons roamed the area that is now covered by North Atlantic waters 13,000 years ago, Work says in the report. Extinct for 10,000 years, mastodons were hairy elephant-like mammals that resembled the also-extinct woolly mammoth. Besides North America, mastodon remains have been found in Europe, Asia and Africa, the Boston Globe report says.

Jason Fell