Backhoe Operator Finds Mammoth Tusk, Skull - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Backhoe Operator Finds Mammoth Tusk, Skull

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An 8-foot-long mammoth tusk and skull were uncovered today at the construction site for the new Thomas Jefferson School of Law in downtown San Diego's East Village.

A backhoe operator spotted the ancient remains 18-20 feet below ground level this morning, said Chris Saunders, a spokesman for the law school. The excavation is for the school's parking garage, he said.

Paleontologists from the San Diego Natural History Museum will finish the excavation and analyze the site, Saunders said. It was unclear if the rest of the elephant-like creature was under the tusk and skull.

"We don't know how much we have there yet," he said, adding that paleontologists from the museum said the mammoth remains may be the most complete ever found in the city.

Saunders said the mammoth could be about 500,000 years old.

Mammoths lived in the Pliocene epoch, from about 4.8 million years go to about 450,000 years ago, according to Wikipedia.

Workers excavating at the site of a St. Vincent de Paul thrift store in downtown in 2007 also found the tusk of a mammoth.

Construction on the $68.5 million, eight-story building at 11th and Island avenues that will house the Thomas Jefferson School of Law is scheduled to be completed by the 2010-2011 school year.

Saunders said today's find will delay completion of the building by about three weeks.

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