The one-foot-long tooth was found on Rio Del Mar beach.
A huge molar discovered by a beachgoer in Santa Cruz County in the US has been handed over to a local museum. The massive tooth dating from the Ice Age belongs to a mastodon, a prehistoric relative of today's elephants. The one-foot-long tooth was found on Rio Del Mar beach near Aptos Creek by a tourist on Friday, according to local news outlet KRON4. She photographed the strange object, left it on the beach and uploaded the pictures on Facebook wanting to know what it was.
The photo generated a discussion on the social media platforms and several palaeontologists claimed it was a mastodon tooth.
"I practically hit the floor. It was a mastodon tooth, right in the same area where we know mastodons lived in Santa Cruz County," Wayne Thompson, a paleontology collections advisor for the Santa Cruz County Museum of Natural History, told the outlet.
The locals and museum officials reached the beach and tried to relocate the molar but a local had already carried it home, reported KRON4.
A call quickly went out to the public to have it returned to the museum.
On Tuesday, local resident Jim Smith called the museum after seeing the story about the tooth on the news and said he had found it while jogging on the beach.
"He was so excited to hear it was a mastodon tooth and was eager to share it with the Museum," Liz Broughton, Visitor Experience Manager at the Museum, was quoted as saying by New York Post.
The tooth will now be studied at the museum before officials put it as exhibit for the public to view.