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Alberta man discovers prehistoric mammoth tusk in yard on Saddle Lake Cree Nation

Click to play video: 'Saddle Lake Cree Nation man discovers prehistoric mammoth tusk in yard'
Saddle Lake Cree Nation man discovers prehistoric mammoth tusk in yard
A man from Saddle Lake Cree Nation, northeast of Edmonton, made the discovery of a lifetime while working on a project in his yard. What he unearthed is not only old — but it comes from an animal you only see or hear about in museums. Chris Chacon reports. – Sep 30, 2022

A man from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, east of Edmonton, made the discovery of a lifetime while working on a project in his yard.

Read more: Prehistoric shark tooth fossil discovered by young boy in central Alberta yard

Jarrod Cardinal was digging a hole for a project in his yard — until his shovel struck a hard object roughly six feet in the ground.

Jarrod Cardinal was digging a hole when he found a mammoth tusk on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alta. in September 2022.
Jarrod Cardinal was digging a hole when he found a mammoth tusk on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alta. in September 2022. Supplied

“I didn’t really know what is was at first,” Jarrod Cardinal said, not thinking much of it. “It was getting dark — I took it out of the dirt and threw it to the side.”

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He didn’t get a closer look until the next day.

“I thought it was wood at first. I was just puzzled by it. I didn’t know what it was, I thought maybe this is a tusk or something,” Cardinal said.

“We’re like, ‘What is a tusk doing here?'” said Cardinal’s sister Carol Buffalo, who was there when he found the object.

“It forms into a tusk if you put all the pieces together and there probably still is something under there still.”

A mammoth tusk was found by Jarrod Cardinal on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alta. in September 2022. Courtesy: LakelandTODAY.ca via Global News

Pictures of the mystery find were sent to a paleontologist at the University of Alberta. Not only is it old — but it comes from an animal you only see or hear about in museums.

“An expert verified and they told us it was a mammoth tusk. He’s an expert in that field and right away he said it was authentic,” Cardinal said.

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The vast majority of woolly mammoths have been extinct for about 11,000 years, since the end of the last ice age.

They were known to have roamed parts of Alberta, but finding part of one is something Cardinal said he would have never thought he’d come across.

“I was just blown away! I didn’t know what to think about it at first,” Cardinal said.

“I didn’t think it was a big deal at first, but who digs a hole in the ground and finds something like that?”

A mammoth tusk found by Jarrod Cardinal on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alta. in September 2022. Courtesy: LakelandTODAY.ca via Global News

“That’s like a one-in-a-million (chance of) finding something in the ground like that,” Buffalo said.

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News of the fossil find had sparked a buzz of excitement for some on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation.

“Its popular now, everyone keeps walking up to him to asks to see it because we’ve never seen something like that —  it’s just in the museums you see it,” Buffalo said.

A mammoth tusk found by Jarrod Cardinal on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alta. in September 2022. Courtesy: LakelandTODAY.ca via Global News

Cardinal stopped digging the area, not wanting to damage any other possible fossils in the ground.

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He plans to hold on to the fossil for a now, but welcomes further expert examination of the tusk and the site where it was found.

A mammoth tusk found by Jarrod Cardinal on the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, Alta. in September 2022. Courtesy: LakelandTODAY.ca via Global News

If a homeowner or business thinks they have found a fossil while digging a basement or dugout, they’re advised to stop their work, take photos and record where the fossil was, and call or email the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology in Drumheller.

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Click to play video: 'Sacred Indigenous stone to be returned to original site in Alberta'
Sacred Indigenous stone to be returned to original site in Alberta

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