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Final preparations are underway for the removal of a mammoth tusk (in size and species) found at a construction site near downtown Seattle. Paleontologists from the Burke Museum have been hard at work excavating and protecting the tusk since its discovery on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, the tusk, which the team estimates at more than 20,000 years old, has seen better days — water damage means it might fall apart in transit unless carefully prepared. To that end, the Burke scientists are applying a huge amount of plaster to protect and immobilize the tusk for transit. It'll dry out over the next few months and the plaster will slowly be removed.

The plan was to remove the 8.5-foot tusk before the weekend, moving it to the Burke for further analysis — and letting the construction workers get on with their job. Soil samples are also being taken so more can be learned about the ice-age northwest.

The excitement of the find brought out many onlookers, and the mammoth now even has a gag Twitter profile, serving up Seattle-themed humor:

We'll follow up with the Burke Museum once the tusk has made its big move and the paleontologists have had a chance to examine it more closely.