Girl has mammoth find on High Island

December 12, 2008 8:26:19 AM PST
Mother Nature helped unearth a bit of history when Hurricane Ike roared ashore three months ago.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

You may remember back in October, the discovery of a mammoth tooth made headlines until it was later realized the tooth was part of a private collection scattered by the storm.

But now it appears a ten year old girl has found the real thing, near High Island. Three months after Hurricane Ike crashed on shore, the beach along High Island holds a tattered feel. Still the storm that tore apart so much also revealed ancient treasures.

What Cayley Mandadi found while searching the beach for her fifth grade science project wasn't just a cool rock. It was a part of a mammoth tooth.

"I was very excited," she said "I just found a mammoth tooth and I had never had anything like that before."

Dr. James Westgate a paleontologist from Lamar University estimates the tooth fragment is at least 10,000 years old.

"We have a minimum date because we know mammoths when extinct in Texas and North America about 10,000 years ago," he said.

For hundreds of thousands of years, mammoths roamed across North America.

"I can barely imagine that, it's just sand now," Mandadi said.

At the height of the ice age, about 20,000 years ago, High Island was actually a forest and the beach was about 150 miles away.

Off shore are miles of ice age stream channels with gravel, bones and teeth.

"When we get storm waves, the waves excavate those old channels and throw the big things up onto the beach," Dr. Westgate told us.

The budding scientist's successful first find means a life time of walks on the beach.

Unearthing fossils must also be in Mandadi's genes. She also found a 10,000 year old bison bone while searching the beach. She hopes to use her discoveries in an outreach exhibit for other students.

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