The tooth was discovered about two weeks ago at a construction site on the campus of Northwest Iowa Community College. Justin Blauwet, a wastewater technician from DGR Engineering, was checking on the station’s progress when he made the extraordinary find.
“I had just gone back to that location just to check if anything else had been done or anything like that and I pulled up and started looking around, and then it was just laying right there on top,” said Blauwet.
Blauwet said he believes the woolly mammoth tooth had been sitting on top of an excavated pile of dirt there for about a month. Once he saw it, he knew it was more than just a regular old rock.
“My 6-year-old is really into dinosaurs and stuff like that, so we watch the Discovery Channel all the time,” Blauwet said. “All of the dinosaur shows, and stuff with woolly mammoths and all that. So that’s kind of where I recognized it from.”
The tooth is believed to be a molar and weighs around 11 pounds. Since it was found on NCC’s campus, they’ve displayed it over the last couple of days along with a mammoth rib and vertebrae that were donated to the school decades ago.
NCC president John Hartog said the new artifact has the campus buzzing with excitement.
“It just reminds us again of our past, connects us to what has come before, and it’s great, it’s exciting, it’s interesting,” said Hartog. “It’s brought lots of people together and we’re talking about it.”
Hartog said the tooth will be displayed at the Sheldon Prairie Museum for the foreseeable future but would love to one day show off all three of NCC’s mammoth fossils.