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 tooth of a woolly mammoth.
"It's quite big," said UNH geology professor Will Clyde.
He says other fishermen have pulled up similar fossils, but few as well preserved as this one.
Clyde said 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.
Today, the 12,000-year-old fossil is being kept at Rider's restaurant in Kittery, Maine.
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While it does make for an awesome centerpiece served with lunch, he wasn't sure what to do with it until recently.
With a humanitarian crisis unfolding in Ukraine, Rider decided to use the rare fossil for good, posting it for auction on eBay. He plans to donate 100% of the proceeds.
"I can't imagine what it is like for folks over there, so we found a charity that works with food, and our chefs know the chefs who started that," he said.
The money will go 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.
The woolly mammoth hasn't roamed the earth since the end of the last Ice Age, so he's hoping someone will pay up for a perfectly preserved piece of history.
"If it makes several thousand dollars, that's good, it's going to help someone," Rider said.
The auction will stay open until Sunday.
Bidding was up to $1,275 Wednesday afternoon. By Friday, it had reached $9,600. It is open until Sunday.