REGINA – A fossil discovery at a work site east of Saskatoon in early October turned out to be the tusk of a woolly mammoth.
The Royal Saskatchewan Museum (RSM) was contacted by Derek Lucik, an Operations Manager with Inland Aggregrates.
“As we were stockpiling gravel that had just been mined, our operator Richard Kaweski noticed something that was outside the norm,” Lucik said.
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“Richard came down from his machine and put the tusk piece aside. I’ve heard that this is not uncommon in our Alberta locations and that they normally contact the museum, so we attempted to do the same thing here. I simply looked online and found Tim Tokaryk’s contact information and reached out. He responded quickly and definitively that it was a tusk.”
The quick thinking by the Inland Aggregrates employees enabled the RSM to properly conserve the tusk.
“Conservation of ivory from fossil animals is extremely delicate as, once the tusk becomes exposed to air, it begins to dry out, expand, and crack,” Royal Saskatchewan Museum Curator of Vertebrate Palaeontology Tim Tokaryk said.
“If left untreated, it would be totally destroyed. We certainly appreciate Inland Aggregates and their workers in the discovery of this find. It would be lost to everyone if it had not been for them.”
Woolly mammoth remains are unique in that they tell of an environment in Saskatchewan of tundra at the edge of ice fields during the glacial period.
Almost all of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum collection of mammoth remains are isolated bones and teeth except for the partial skeleton of one found near Kyle, Sask.