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Lot 0055
North America, Alaska, Pleistocene epoch (Ice Age), ca. 35,000 years ago. An absolutely stunning, complete, and enormous mammoth tusk with wonderful dark blue-green coloring. Comes with custom stand. Due to the complexity of the form, we have provided extensive measurements. For further description, we have provided more information below. Size: 66.75" L from tip to tip; 77" L along its length; 12" in circumference at widest point (169.5 cm; 195.5 cm; 30.5 cm). Height on stand is 29" (73.7 cm); size of stand is 19.5" W x 10.5" L (49.5 cm x 26.7 cm). Please note: due to the size and weight of this piece, a custom shipping quote is required. Please inquire.

The same Alaskan mineral deposits that led to the gold rush of the 1890s has turned this huge mammoth tusk its distinctive blue green color through the process of mineralization - after the animal's death, the tusk lay in soil containing the mineral Vivianite, which occurs near mineral ores, as in gold mines. The color contrasts beautifully with the more familiar fossilization colors of cream and gold that are also present. The area of darker coloration at one end of the tusk represents where the tusk was connected to the mammoth's body; the lighter area beyond was exposed to the air.

While mammoths survived until ca. 5600 years ago on remote Alaskan islands, those animals had begun to shrink in size as the climate warmed from the end of the Ice Age ca. 10,000 years ago. A tusk of this size comes from deep within the Pleistocene, when the northern hemisphere was dominated by massive ice sheets drained by enormous glacial rivers and lakes. Imagine encountering this animal on an Ice Age steppe, towering up to 13 feet at the shoulder and weighing up to 12 tons, with this tusk and its partner rising in an upward curve from their jaw. Imagine the strength the animal's neck must have had just to hold up these massive teeth!

Continue to imagine, now walking in a modern Arctic or sub-Arctic landscape like Alaska, northern Canada, or Siberia and finding a tusk like this rising from the ground. The name mammoth comes from a Siberian word used to describe the tusks found there by native people, like the Khanty of the Irtysh River basin, and traded to Europe and China. Their occasional finds of massive tusks and even preserved mammoth bodies in the permafrost - often eroding out of the sides of river banks - led to their folkloric belief that mammoths were like huge rodents, dwelling underground, dying when they accidentally surfaced. With the invention of science as a discipline during the Age of Enlightenment, massive tusks like this one continued to capture imaginations all over the world - for example, Thomas Jefferson, who was fascinated by paleontology, is credited with introducing the use of the word mammoth as an adjective to describe something very large.

Provenance: Ex-Private South Dakota collection, acquired in Alasaka

All items legal to buy/sell under U.S. Statute covering cultural patrimony Code 2600, CHAPTER 14, and are guaranteed to be as described or your money back.

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Surface coated with epoxy resin; small areas of fill, but no visible repairs.

Buyer's Premium

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Huge Blue Mammoth Tusk from Alaska - Over Six Feet Long

Estimate $20,000 - $30,000Mar 15, 2017