Mastodon, not mammoth


AUGUSTA (AP) – A Maine fisherman’s find that was believed to be the tusk of an ancient mammoth turns out to be a mastodon’s, an expert says.

Tim Winchenbach of Cushing found the tusk while scallop fishing in Georges Bank off Maine’s coast several weeks ago. He brought the dark, pointed object home, where he and his wife Michelle have been doing research ever since.

Earlier this week, the couple took the tusk to the Maine State Museum in Augusta, where a paleontologist confirmed it was part of a pre-historic tusk. But the expert, Paula Work, said the tusk actually came from a mastodon, which was slightly smaller than the wooly mammoth and had shorter, thicker legs.

Mastodons roamed the area that is now covered by North Atlantic waters 13,000 years ago, although the tusk could be much older, Work said.

“We can actually start to map out where these finds are and we may very well find out the mastodons were right over here on Georges Bank that must have been a forested area,” Work told WCSH-TV.

The Winchenbachs also brought another artifact, a huge tooth that was found by Tim’s brother Anthony last spring. Work positively identified it as a mastodon tooth.

Winchenbach said he would like to have the tusk carbon dated in order to show how long ago the ocean off Maine’s coast was dry land.