Nineteen-year-old groundskeeper Patrick Walker was edging weeds on the Morrison Lake Country Club golf course in Saranac, Michigan, when he came across a large black rock-looking thing.
His boss was ready to toss it out, but Walker remembered a plaster cast of a mammoth tooth he had seen in a science class once and immediately recognized its shape, size and that unusual tread pattern.
They called up some local folks who had found fossils in their back yard and got the names of some University of Michigan experts, one of whom hilariously suggested that this 9-inch-wide, 10-pound fossil was the remnant of a pig barbecued on the property.
Thankfully, they reached Dr. Scott Beld, from the University’s Museum of Paleontology and he recognized it as the tooth of a small Columbian mammoth, perhaps an adolescent or a female.
There may be more of the mammoth to be found under the green, but the golf course is a small operation and they can’t afford to tear up the property for excavation.