Got an extra mastodon tooth lying around? How about a tusk? If so, you can donate them to the Michigan Christian charity “In The Image,” who says this is not the first time a bizarre item has been donated for use by the needy. It would seem that some people see charities as a dumping ground of sorts, reports Fox News on Oct. 9, but a giant tooth and tusk from an extinct mammal related to an elephant? That’s a new one.
Volunteers collected the tooth and tusk from a donation box during a July pickup in Grand Rapids. The tooth fragments and tusk, which are covered with a heavy lacquer, are believed to be anywhere from 12,000 to 15,000 years old.
“It’s pretty amazing the things we get,” the charity’s executive director, Jay Starkey, said. “I just looked at it and said, ‘This is something different.’”
Starkey said the charity considered selling it and using the proceeds to assist those in need, but instead of searching out a private buyer, they decided to follow suit and donate the tooth and tusk themselves, sending the set over to the Grand Rapid Public Museum to add to its collection.
The new additions will be used by the museum and local educators as a classroom tool.
“It’s worth more that it’ll be part of an educational program,” Starkey said. “We believe in that process.”
While used clothing and other household items are the typical donations the charity receives, they also have come across some peculiar finds in their pile: Including an urn filled with a dead person’s ashes, divorce papers (that were framed no less), a painting that was sold for $5,000 and drugs.
“This is kind of an oddball way for something to come in,” said Tim Priest, the museum’s collections manager.