Robert Malone has found something interesting, that’s for sure.
He’s convinced it’s a tusk, either from a mastodon or a woolly mammoth. He may well be correct.
Malone was walking on the beach near his Agnew home the Thursday before Memorial Day weekend when he saw something odd emerging from the bluff. “It stuck out like a sore thumb,” he said.
The object is cylindrical and appears to be organic. When it’s pieced together it measures approximately 24 inches long and is perhaps seven inches in circumference at its thickest. It is slightly curved and slightly tapered.
If it’s a tusk, Malone said, “it’s at least 10,000 years old.”
Malone said as his find dried, it began to crumble. He researched the issue and discovered the state-of-the-art method for preserving finds like his consists of repeated applications of a mixture of Elmer’s glue and water. So far it’s working like a charm.
Malone wanted to confirm his find, so he first contacted the geologist at Olympic National Park and then conferred with Dr. Brian Hauge, a biology professor at Peninsula College.
Hauge says it may well be a tusk. He said they occasionally are found in these parts and the piece Malone has seems to have an enamel layer, like a tooth. “That makes sense,” Hauge said, noting that a tusk is a tooth.
But Hauge also was quick to note that he is no paleontologist and a proper identification should be left to the experts.
Toward that end, Malone has shipped pieces to the Burke Museum in Seattle where it’s being investigated by members of the museum’s paleontology staff.
While Malone waits for the final analysis, he said he wants to ensure the find is made in his father’s name. “He’s the one who gave me my love of the outdoors,” he said. Malone’s father is Layton Malone, 85.