Really doesn’t have much to do with the dino sculpture my son created, next to the THANG on our family’s fireplace matel. But I bet Carl Zimmer has a guess. I recall the time I brought this heavy THANG into HIS office at Discover. Back when HE had a windowed office and I did not. Cut me a break, HE was 28, I was still young…and, oh yeah, there was that AAAS award he won for “God-like writers under the age of 30”.
I asked, genuflecting upon entering his office, as we all did: “Carl, what do you think this is? My father-in-law found it in a local, Long Beach Island, NJ, fishing shop.”
HE said: “Looks like a Mastodon tooth, maybe a molar. Probably a young one because it’s not worn down too far. You should take this to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philly, near where you live, and I bet they can tell you more.”
So I did. I pulled the THANG out of my baby’s diaper bag, and asked the resident paleontologist: “What do you think this THANG is?”
He replied: “WHERE DID YOU GET THAT? DID YOU STEAL THAT?!”
I spent the next hour ‘splainin’ the situation. Hey, Carl, back then, they never heard of YOU. The best thing I had going for me was the real baby in the real baby stroller…and two, twenty dollar bills.
But I digress.
I never did learn more about the origins of this tooth. Who knows more about this tooth? Closest to the tooth-truth earns a Tshirt. And now that I FINALLY have some street-cred with the National Academy of Sciences, I know I can find the answer there if you all fail. 🙂