SEATTLE -- The line at the Burke Museum stretched around the block Saturday as people waited to get a look at the Columbian mammoth tusk that was found in downtown Seattle last month.
“It’s kind of like the Super Bowl for us, we were going to have Dino Days anyway, this kind of just caps it off and makes it a real celebration,” said Bax Barton, a museum research associate.
“I’m in my 70’s and it’s exciting to me,” said Tom Dunnihoo, who visited the exhibit with his granddaughter Kendra.
The fossil is the most complete and largest mammoth tusk ever found in Seattle.
“It appeals to the imagination that in Seattle 20,000 years ago we had this huge mammoth walking around and living here,” said Barton.
Scientists are keeping the tusk in a protective cast made of plaster bandages and aluminum foil, reinforced with wooden planks. Workers are also keeping the fossil moist to prevent it from splitting and cracking.
The tusk will be on display at the museum Saturdays and Sundays from March 15-20 and then wrapped up for a year to prepare for further research.
“We’re going to open it up and ill have a chance to go in and do some technical studies on the age of the animal when they died and whether it’s a male or female,” said Barton.
Without any scientific evidence to prove it yet, Barton believes the tusk comes from a male mammoth based on the size of it.
The Burke Museum, AMLI and KING 5 are asking the public to help the mammoth rediscover its name.
Submissions will be accepted from March 8 to March 30 and winners will be announced at the Burke Museum on April 11 from 6 to 8 p.m. Winners will receive a membership to the Burke Museum, a gift bag and a behind-the-scenes tour of the museum's paleontology collection.
Entries can be submitted online at seattlemammoth.org, in person at the Burke Museum, or its Facebook page.