The tooth was later confirmed by scholars to be an upper third molar of the extinct woolly mammoth
With the school year just around the corner, a 12-year-old Ohio boy will surely have the best item to bring for show-and-tell: an ancient woolly mammoth tooth.
Jason Nies, innkeeper at The Inn at Honey Run in Millersburg, Ohio, was hosting a family reunion on the grounds of the resort in July when relative Jackson Hepner made the exciting discovery.
Hepner was taking a break from family photos when he spotted something partially buried in mud along the edge of Honey Run Creek, the resort said in a news release.
The find was described as a “strange-looking solid object covered in ridges,” and was later confirmed by scholars to be an upper third molar tooth of a woolly mammoth.
Hepner described finding the tooth in a handwritten letter published by the inn and said he stumbled upon it on the left side of the creek.
“It was completely out of the water on the creek bed. I would like to have my tooth back in my hands as soon as possible,” he wrote. “I want to show my friends.”
The inn said the tooth’s authenticity was confirmed by Dale Gnidovec of The Ohio State University’s Orton Geological Museum, Nigel Brush of Ashland University’s Geology Department, and P. Nick Kardulias of the College of Wooster’s Program of Archaeology.
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The ridges that Hepner noticed are a distinct feature of the extinct animal’s teeth and were used by the mammoths to grind grass and seeds.
“We couldn’t be prouder to be the site of such an extraordinary find and unforgettable experience!” the inn wrote.
Woolly mammoths lived during the last ice age, and were likely around the size of African elephants, according to National Geographic. Like elephants, they had long tusks that they used to fight and dig in the snow. They were also herbivores who ate mostly grass.