A fisherman who reeled in a woolly mammoth tooth sold it at auction for more than $10,000 to help the people of Ukraine.
While dredging for scallops in late December off the coast of Newburyport, Massachusetts, a crew called the New England Fishmongers, based in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, pulled up something unusual.
Captain Tim Rider took the 11-inch, 7-pound artifact to experts at the University of New Hampshire, who identified it as the 12,000-year-old tooth of a woolly mammoth.
"It's quite big," said UNH geology professor Will Clyde.
Rider kept the tooth at his restaurant in Kittery, Maine, while the bids grew on eBay. He pledged to donate 100% of the proceeds to World Central Kitchen, an organization serving hot meals in several Ukrainian cities and at border crossings to feed refugees fleeing the war.
"Obviously, I can't solve the world's problems as a fisherman, but I can contribute to help the people that are suffering," Rider said last week.
The tooth is staying local. The highest bid of $10,300 came from Dan Healey, who is donating the tooth to the Newburyport Maritime Museum.
"It feels great, and I think it's just going to bring more recognition to the cause in Ukraine," Healey said. "We have a Ukrainian flag flying over at the maritime museum, we have fundraisers that are going on."
Clyde says other fishermen have pulled up similar fossils, but few as well preserved as this one. He is fascinated by how these discoveries connect today's world with the geological past.
"I always love thinking about the landscape in New England, with mammoths and mastodons walking around, and in terms of geological times, that wasn't that long ago," he said.