About that Prehistoric Mammoth Tusk... Nope, it's a Whale Jawbone
Earlier this month, a photograph by a UC Santa Barbara graduate student showed what may have been a very exciting discovery on Santa Cruz Island off the coasts of Ventura and Santa Barbara: a complete tusk of a prehistoric pygmy mammoth.
If it was to be true, it would confirm theories about the mammals existence on the Channel Islands. "Scientists believe 14-foot-tall mammoths swam out to the Channel Islands from the mainland nearly 20,000 years ago, possibly lured by the sweet smell of island grassland for grazing," the LA Times explained earlier this month. "Later stranded by rising sea levels, the animals shrank over time to a dwarf version."
Unfortunately, for those who were hoping to prove the theory, it ended up being something older, but not from a mammoth, but of a whale.
"Lotus Vermeer of the Nature Conservancy says the bone was found in a rock formation estimated to be between 9.5 million to 25 million years old — long before mammoths roamed the Channel Islands," the Associated Press reported. "A number of other bones were found nearby that could be even older and may include an intact whale skull."