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November 2004

WAS DARWIN WRONG?
Digging It


Finding mammoth tusks wasn't a mammoth task in Alaska in the early 1900s. Though extinct for some 10,000 years, woolly mammoths left a lot of themselves behind. Often ancient ivory was found poking from the snow, but this tusk hunter probably had to dig for his. In another unpublished shot from our archives, he stands between the tusks, gripping a shovel. Notes on the image say the bottom of the pit where the tusks were found was "covered with hair and small pieces of bones."

Many tusk hunters in Alaska and elsewhere sold their finds. A September 1907 Geographic article reported that in Siberia "there has been a regular export of mammoth ivory. More than 100 pairs of mammoth tusks have come into the market yearly during the last 200 years." They're still coming. Trade in mammoth ivory remains legal to this day.
 
—Margaret G. Zackowitz
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August Flashback
 Photograph by Dave Gove


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