Mammoth fossil found in Ike-ravaged yard

Ike Big Tooth
Jim Westgate, a trained paleontologist and a research associate with the Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory at the University of Texas Memorial Museum, poses in with a fossil tooth of a mammoth that he found in Caplen, Texas, in the debris from Hurricane Ike. Brian Sattler / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

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.