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Mammoth tusk found in Saddle Lake

An unknown object uncovered in Saddle Lake has been confirmed to be a part of a mammoth tusk, according to an expert from the University of Alberta.

SADDLE LAKE – It was getting late at night, but Jarrod Cardinal had decided to keep working on a personal project. As he was digging a hole, he spotted what he thought was an odd, unidentified object that he initially believed was wood. 

He attempted to identify the object and thought, “This isn’t wood.” Much to Cardinal’s surprise, the object seemed more like bone. Feeling that the peculiar item was something unique, he decided to keep it.

The puzzling object also brought the attention of others who visited Cardinal. Some took photos of the item, its fragments akin to a wood bark, but its colour a dirty shade of white. When pieced together, it seemed to form into the shape of a blunt, broken horn. 

On Aug.26, Lakeland Today visited Cardinal to inspect the object. Indeed, it wasn’t wood.

Photos of the item were sent to an expert in palaeontology at the University of Alberta and Philip Currie, a professor of Biological Sciences, Faculty of Science at the U of A, responded to Lakeland Today's request for information. 

Currie holds many accolades, according to the U of A, including his contributions in the development of Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum. In addition, information from the U of A also indicates that he has made major contributions to palaeontology in Canada and around the world. 

“Now that I have seen them, the ‘bones’ are actually parts of a mammoth tusk, in other words, they are ivory,” confirmed Currie. He suggested getting in touch with Chris Jass from the Royal Alberta Museum for more information. 

Chris Jass is an expert with extensive knowledge and study of mammoths in Alberta, who also wrote a paper with Christina Barron-Ortiz, also of the Royal Alberta Museum. The paper presented a summary of the museum collection of Quaternary proboscideans found in Alberta. The collection is housed at the Royal Alberta Museum.  

According to the paper, 378 specimens collected from across the province indicate broad distribution of proboscideans during the late Pleistocene in southwestern Canada, which means mammoths regularly roamed the lands.  

For more information and clarification about mammoths, Lakeland Today attempted to get in touch with Jass, who required approval from the Ministry of Culture before being able to talk to media. 

The Ministry of Culture was unable to provide approval for Jass to speak with Lakeland Today prior to the initial publication of this article.