A mastodon tooth is not your everyday donation item, but an ancient tooth and lacquered tusk were recently dropped in a charity box in Grand Rapids, Mich. The charity opted to donate the massive tooth and accompanying tusk to the Grand Rapids Public Museum instead, a fitting place for the rare discovery, UPI.com reports this Thursday, Oct. 10.
The mastodon tooth is in fact one of several teeth that were lacquered and found alongside a piece of a giant tusk in a charity donation box for In The Image Christian charity. The fossils are thought to be anywhere between 10,000 and 15,000 years old.
“At first, it looked like broken parts of something,” said Jay Starkey, leading director of In The Image.
Yet expert inspection of these “broken parts” in fact revealed that a set of mastodon teeth, as well as a cracked portion of what was once a mastodon tusk, were the actual identity of the lacquered objects.
"I'd like to know the history behind these ancient fossils," the director added.
Mastodons have long been extinct, but once roamed much of North American over ten thousand years ago, a giant species that bears some similarities to today’s elephants.
One of the bones in particular, the mastodon tooth, is said to be bigger than the size of a bread loaf. A tusk is also thought to be carved at one point, though the investigation into their history continues.
Of course, quite a few strange donations have been received by the Christian charity in recent years, aside from this prehistoric gift. A number of illegal drugs, a painting worth thousands of dollars, and an urn (complete with someone’s ashes) were also discovered in the drop-off box.
Here’s to hoping the ancient mastodon tooth and lacquered tusk will find a happy home in the Grand Rapids, Mich., museum.