Big fossil found in Ike-ravaged home's front yard

A homeowner whose beachfront property in Texas was destroyed during Hurricane Ike has found a football-size fossil tooth in the debris.

This photo released by Lamar University shows Jim Westgate, a trained paleontologist and a research associate with the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory at the University of Texas Memorial Museum, posing in Beaumont,Texas, Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2008, with a fossil tooth of a mammoth that he found in Caplen, Texas, in the debris from Hurricane Ike. Westgate believes the fossil discovered in the Ike-damaged debris is from a Columbian mammoth. (AP Photo/Lamar University, Brian Sattler) ** NO SALES **

CAPLEN, Texas (AP) -- A homeowner whose beachfront property in Texas was destroyed during Hurricane Ike has found a football-size fossil tooth in the debris.

Dorothy Sisk asked her colleague, Lamar University paleontologist Jim Westgate, to accompany her to her Bolivar Peninsula home after Ike hit. Together they found something unusual in the remains of Sisk's front yard: a six-pound fossil tooth.

Westgate believes the fossil is from a Columbian mammoth common in North America until around 10,000 years ago.

The tooth, which looks like a series of boot soles or slices of bread wedged together, is expected to be sent to the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin.

More than 1 million people fled the Texas coast because of Hurricane Ike.


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