Updated: Sunday, 23 Aug 2009, 11:27 PM EDT
Published : Sunday, 23 Aug 2009, 6:15 PM EDT
SARANAC, Mich. (WOOD) - A golf course groundskeeper stumbled onto something unexpected on the job Tuesday: A tooth from a 10,000-year-old mammoth.
Recent high school graduate Patrick Walker found the 10-pound tooth when he was at Morrison Lake Country Club in Saranac.
He said he knew the tooth exposed by recent rains was from an extinct elephant because he paid attention in his science classes.
Research assistant Scott Beld from the University of Michigan's Museum of Paleontology visited Morrison Lake Country Club and confirmed Walker's find was a mammoth tooth.
The discovery has brought up many questions for club owner Dixie Riley.
"If there was one, was there two? What was this before it was a golf course?" she asked.
But before Riley realized what Walker had found, the discovery was just a disruption to a busy afternoon on the course.
"Patrick, if it is moving or woolly or whatever, it has to go out, it cannot be in here," Riley recalls saying.
Where Walker found the tooth is being kept top secret.
"For right now, for security purposes, for respect for the golf course and the golfers here, we're just kind of keeping it low keyed," Riley said.
The main reason for the secrecy? Beld said there are more teeth and mammoth parts out there.
The discovery has ideas churning at Morrison Lake Country Club.
"This will become prehistoric village," Riley said. "We're gonna have to market T-shirts, our golf ball logo will now have a mammoth on it, (the) menu will now have mammoth burgers."
But for now, said Riley: "It's a blessing all the way around for everybody to have."
The owners of Morrison Lake Country Club say they are willing to show the tooth to schools in the area. But the Ionia County Sheriff's Department warns people against visiting the course after hours. The department will keep a close watch for intruders.