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Rare Mastodon tooth discovered in Michigan creek

A 6-year-old boy discovered a 12,000-year-old Mastodon tooth in a Michigan nature preserve. The family later donated the tooth to the museum.

Julian Gagnon, 6, was walking with his family in the Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve on Sept. 6 when he found an object that he initially identified to his parents as a dragon tooth. Gagnon said that he felt something on his foot and he grabbed it. He initially assumed it as a dragon tooth. Gagnon’s parents allowed him to bring his discovery home, where the family took a closer look and realized it might indeed be a fossil.

The family contacted the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontologists, which identified the discovery as the upper right molar of a juvenile Mastodon, a species that lived in Michigan about 12,000 years ago. Experts said that both mammoths and Mastodon are known to have lived in Michigan but discoveries are rare. The carcasses of the animals were taken by scavengers far before they could become fossils.

Adam Rountrey, the palaeontology museum’s research museum collection manager said that mammoth and Mastodon fossils are relatively rare in Michigan, but compared to other places in the United States there have been more occurrences. The Gagnon family donated the tooth to the museum, which said Julian will be rewarded for his donation with a behind-the-scenes tour this month.

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