PRATT, Ks. – On Monday, September 28, construction workers discovered a mammoth tusk in Pratt, Kansas, that could be thousands, or even millions, of years old.
R. Thimesch Construction uncovered the tusk while they were trenching in sewer lines for a new truck-oil change and tire repair station.
“So on Monday, we showed up at the job site to dig our footings for the new oil change… As we start digging, I noticed something in the wall that was out of the ordinary a little bit and I jokingly said it looks like a mammoth tooth. And then as I looked at it more, I was like ‘man, I think it’s a mammoth tusk,’” said Randy Thimesch of R. Thimesch Construction.
Thimesch contacted a local expert and shortly after, the discovery was confirmed.
“So we slowly start digging it out using brushes and everything, cleaning it off. Got roughly about three feet of it up out of there,” said Thimesch.
On top of the three feet of tusk, the crew found other “rocks that looked kind of suspicious” that are being sent off to be investigated.
The crew reported back to the owner of the property, Dale Withers of Pratt, KS, who plans on keeping the mammoth tusk parts, getting it professionally preserved and displaying it for others to see.
“It feels pretty neat, you know, to have the chance to be the one that dug it up… We were pretty excited that we found one and got to see one and everything. We were just all kind of in awe. That’s amazing that we actually got to witness it and see it,” said Thimesch.
This discovery is unique due to being found in the plains, as tusks are usually found in gravel pits or river beds.
“They are less common as far south as Kansas,” said Dr. Reese Barrick, director of Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays, KS. “These materials [tusks] will easily decay and will splinter and fall apart when dried out and exposed to wide changes in humidity. This is why tusks themselves are quite rare.”
In 2016, another mammoth tusk was found in Cunningham, KS, and is now on display at the Cunningham Historical Museum in Kingman County.