Manitoba man discovers giant ice-age beaver jaw in gravel pit

Ancient beaver jaw Photo courtesy of Graham Young/Manitoba Museum and cbc.ca

A Manitoba man, who has decided to remain anonymous, unearthed an amazing discovery in the Southeastern part of the province.

The man found a giant jaw bone, which he believed to be a fossil, in a local gravel pit. He called the Manitoba Museum where he got in contact with palaeontology curator Graham Young. While Young was initially skeptical about his find, he told the man to bring it by.

The man brought the jaw into the museum on his lunch break and Young was thrilled to discover that the jaw was indeed a fossil, and belonged to an ice-age era beaver. Young is thrilled with the discovery, saying it was a rare and unique fossil.

the two beavers
Photo courtesy of Graham Young/Manitoba Museum and cbc.ca

“The teeth are all there—not just that one big tooth, but the grinding teeth are also there. [They] seem to show a lot of wear and tear on them, so I think it was an old beaver when it died,” he told the CBC.

The man who initially discovered it believed it to be some sort of pig, given the shape and size of the tusk-like tooth.

According to the CBC, this is only the fourth giant-beaver bone to be found in Canada.

“I knew that we had none in our collection from Manitoba, genuine ones, because when we wanted to do an exhibit we had to buy copies,” Young said.

“It was a new thing to our collection and therefore I thought it was probably a new thing to Manitoba. Most of the ice age things that have been collected in Manitoba are in the collection of this museum.”

These ancient beavers were believed to be up to 300 pounds and six feet long—as big as a bear—and to have gone extinct around 10,000 years ago.

The bones are currently being preserved so they can be publicly displayed. They will also be carbon-dated, which will help better determine when exactly they are from.

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