Lori Christie has been combing the beaches of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State for years. She collects rocks, petrified wood, and other small treasures. It was a tooth, however, that made her jaw drop.
"I was pretty I much in awe," she said.
Awestruck is an understatement of mammoth proportions.
What she found recently was a foot-long, 11-pound tooth from an actual Columbian Mammoth.
"Finding something of this significance is a once in a lifetime thing," said Christie.
Scientists with the University of Washington's Burke Museum verified the discovery. They believe the creature was about 14-feet tall, 20,000 pounds and roamed the Northwest some 20,000 years ago.
Photos: Mammoth tooth found on Washington beach
"You can almost get a mind's eye picture of prehistoric mammals lumbering around here," she said.
Mammoths and mastodons have a long history in Sequim. There have been several significant finds around the city in recent decades, including the massive Manis Mastodon, discovered in 1977 by Emanuel Manis while excavating his property with a backhoe. The site is now on the National Register of Historic Places.
Lori Christie plans to loan the tooth to the local museum where other mammoth and mastodon fossils are on display. She may also take it to schools for children to examine.