MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (CBS Local) — A South Carolina man combing the Myrtle Beach coast with his family on Monday said he found a prehistoric treasure he initially thought was a piece of trash.
“At first I thought I was picking up trash,” Chon Carlile told CBS affiliate WFMY. “Then I saw the sheen and patterns in it.”
Based on the crystallization, Carlile knew he’d found some kind of fossil, so he reached out to the Fossils of Myrtle Beach South Carolina Facebook page, a group made up of avid fossil finders who work with local museums.
His discovery turned out to be a mastodon molar belonging to a type of elephant that went extinct more than 10,000 years ago.
“I have been stoked about it ever since, even more so, acting more giddy than my 7-year-old!” Carlile said.
Fossils of Myrtle Beach South Carolina said their members have come across mastodon and mammoth fossils for years but it’s rare to find the big teeth like Carlile found.
“Probably due to the dredging or even the recent storms like Florence,” the organization told WFMY. “The hurricanes eroded away a good portion of our beach, so they have been dredging, pumping sand onto shore.”
Carlile said he’s going to get in touch with a paleontologist to find out the fossil’s worth.
“I collect skulls, rocks, and other natural artifacts and love to educate my friends and kids about the outdoors,” he said. “This will be a great showpiece and conversation piece next time someone mentions fossils at the house.”
But if it does have value, Carlile said he would like to get it into a museum “so more people than myself can appreciate it and see it.”