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Fossil-hunting diver makes astonishing ancient discovery off Florida coast: ‘Very rare’

A Florida man recently discovered a prehistoric jackpot while diving off the coast of the Sunshine State.

Lundberg, who studied marine biology at the University of South Florida, told Fox News Digital that he found an ancient mastodon tusk while searching for fossils off the coast of Manasota Key, about 90 miles away south of Tampa. He found the relic in April.

The mastodon’s tusk, which has not been dated, could be millions of years old. While the 29-year-old says he’s been scuba diving for 12 years, Lundberg has been a fossil hunter since he was “old enough to walk.”

“When I was a kid, my dad took us to construction sites all the time to look for fossils,” Lundberg said.

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Lundberg, who studied marine biology at the University of South Florida, discovered the tusk in April. (Alex Lundberg)

“Finding small bits and pieces of tusk is common, but finding one this large and well preserved is very rare,” the scavenger added. “The tusks found in Florida are normally very delicate and usually crumble.”

American mastodons went extinct about 10,500 years ago, according to the National Park Service (NPS). Fossils of these massive creatures have been discovered throughout North and Central America, from Alaska to Mexico.

Contrary to popular belief, mastodons are not the same species as mammoths, although they share a common ancestor with mammoths and elephants. The creatures could grow up to 10 feet tall.

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Lundberg describes himself as a longtime fossil hunter. (Alex Lundberg)

“Although the mastodon has been around since (4 to 3 million years ago), mammoths did not arrive in North America until much later, during the Pleistocene ice ages,” the website reads. of the NPS. The Pleistocene epoch spans from 2.6 million years ago to 11,700 years ago.

“Mastodons coexisted in many places with mammoths, but all proboscideans in North America became extinct about 10,500 years ago,” the NPS added.

Lundberg advises aspiring fossil hunters to consider obtaining a fossil permit if they are lucky enough to find a prehistoric object. He said fossil permits from the state of Florida cost just five dollars each.

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Lunberg says it’s rare to find an intact, well-preserved mastodon tusk off Florida waters. (Alex Lundberg)

“My best advice is to get out, explore and keep your head down,” he said. “This stuff is out there and all over the state.”

As for where the ancient juggernaut tusk will go next, Lundberg said he will keep it unless experts deem it important enough to donate.

“I intend to keep it, but I have to report it at the end of the year to the Florida Museum of Natural History,” he said. “If they deem it scientifically important, I should donate it, but that’s very unlikely.”

The mammoth tusk will be donated to a natural history museum if it is deemed scientifically significant. (Alex Lundberg)

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Fox News Digital reached out to the Florida Museum of Natural History for comment, but experts were unable to comment at the time of publication.

For more lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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