Does your dog like to dig up your yard?
Scout certainly does, only he’s not searching for roots and worms. The Whidbey Island, Washington, Labrador retriever found something immeasurably more precious in his own backyard: a 13,000-year-old fossil.
According to Business Insider, Owner Kirk Lacewell thought Scout had found a strange stone at first.
“I noticed he was carrying something around in his mouth,” Lacewell told KOMO News.
The 8-month-old Labrador was quite taken by his new find, and carried it around all day. Lacewell didn’t think much of it. After taking a closer look, however, he noticed it looked like a piece of bone.
“On the second day it made me think this is odd, ‘I wonder what’s going on with this,'” he said. “I wonder what’s special about that rock?”
Lacewell asked the paleontologists at University of Washington’s Burke Museum to check it out. They confirmed Scout’s find. It was a woolly mammoth’s tooth from the earth’s last glacial period.
“I can’t remember a time when a dog helped uncover a fossil,” Andrea Godinez, Marketing Director for the Burke Museum, told KOMO news.
Wooly mammoths once roamed Whidbey Island in greater number than Labrador retrievers. They’ve since died out, of course, but 11-ton animals take a while to fully decompose. This isn’t the first time mammoth bones or teeth have been found on the island, though it’s certainly a first for Scout.
The Burke Museum has enough mammoth teeth to show off at this point, and won’t be putting Scout’s find in a new exhibit. Still, he and Lacewell have an incredibly unique story to share about their backyard, and its previous inhabitants.
“We can just look out there and imagine a woolly mammoth,” Lacewell said.
Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.