A 10,000-year-old tooth from an extinct species has been discovered by a child.
Plenty of kids go through dinosaur-loving phases and attempt to dig up fossils in the yard, but very few literally stumble upon a 10,000-year-old tooth while playing in a nearby creek. That's exactly what happened to 9-year-old Philip Stoll last summer, though--while exploring a creek, he stepped on an oddly-shaped item, which "everybody in the neighborhood thought... was pretty cool." As it turned out, it was indeed pretty cool, as the object was the tooth of a mastodon, a species that has been extinct for thousands of years.
Upon seeing her son's discovery, Philip's mother did some research on the mysterious eight-inch-long object, finding a picture of a mastodon tooth on the internet that appeared to match what had been found in the creek. James Harding, a Michigan State expert on reptiles and amphibians, confirmed it. In an email to CNN, Harding stated, "This is indeed a mastodon tooth... Apparently (it is) the upper surface, broken off at the roots."
This must be especially exciting for Philip, who wants to be a paleontologist when he grows up. Following his discovery, however, his mother has her own worries: "It's going to be hard to get him run around with shoes on or come inside to do his schoolwork."