The young man told local news reporters: ,,I think that was a message that I’m going to be a paleontologist.”
During a recent family hike in Michigan, a youngster stumbled. It was a rock that resembled a tooth after stepping into a creek. He initially believed it to be a dinosaur. Paleontologists eventually discovered that the enormous molar belonged to a mastodon.
According to Detroit news source WDIV Local 4, six-year-old Julian Gagnon found the tooth. It was on September 6 while out on a stroll at Rochester Hills, Michigan’s Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve. Julian told WDIV: ,,I simply felt something on my foot and I snatched it up.”
Performing a Google search at home revealed that the teeth was most certainly not that of a dinosaur. The tooth was more like mastodon teeth in size and form. As determined by a later investigation by researchers at the University of Michigan’s Museum of Paleontology (UMMP), according to WDIV.
Mastodons were extinct around 10,000 years ago. They were the ancestors of contemporary elephants and initially emerged between 27 and 30 million years ago. According to the San Diego Natural History Museum, they could reach heights of 8 to 10 feet (2.5 to 3 meters) and weights of up to 6 tons (5.4 metric tons) while living in forests all over the planet, particularly in North and Central America.
According to Adam Rountrey, collection manager at the UMMP, several smaller species were ruled out by the size of the molar’s crown that Julian discovered, which was around the size of an adult human’s fist. The ,,tall bumps” that set mastodon teeth apart from those of mammoths, another extinct ice period elephant cousin that coexisted with mastodons, were the cherry on top, according to Rountrey. According to Mary Gagnon, Julian determined that this was the beginning of his career as a paleontologist.
The eager young scientist also pondered whether his discovery would earn him a million dollars or make him president. He opted for a behind-the-scenes tour of the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor Research Museums Center and a visit with museum paleontologists.