COLLECTION HIGHLIGHT

Woolly Mammoth Tusk

OBJECT DETAILS

Type: Natural artifact
Date created: 8,000-10,000 BC
Age of artifact: Approximately 10,000-12,000 years old
Physical Dimensions: 34″ x 5.5″ x 13″
Object number: a.999.01.101
Building location: On display on the second floor of the Hudson Library
Inscriptions: “Andrew J. Stone to Lincoln Ellsworth, Nome, Oct. 15th 1905”
Scientific association: Mammuthus primigenius

The tusk received conservation treatment at the ICA – Art Conservation (ICA) in 2018, thanks to a grant from the Federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) awarded by the State Library of Ohio.

This tusk is approximately 10,000-12,000 years old and came from a woolly mammoth. Woolly mammoths are a specific type of mammoth, an extinct animal most closely related to elephants. Woolly mammoths had fur coats, ears that were smaller than an elephant’s, a mound of fat on their back, and tusks that pointed downwards and were often curved, such as this one. They had rings in their tusks that are similar to trees, helping scientists to date their age. They may have used their tusks for fighting or foraging for food under the snow.

A look at the “rings” inside the Woolly Mammoth tusk

This woolly mammoth tusk once belonged to renowned polar explorer and Hudson resident, Lincoln Ellsworth (1880-1951). Ellsworth, raised in Hudson, is best known for his Arctic and Antarctic expeditions, which claimed over 350,000 square miles of Antarctic territory for the United States. Ellsworth received two Congressional gold medals for his work on behalf of the United States and in 1988 the U.S. Post Office issued a commemorative Ellsworth postage stamp. Ellsworth’s Antarctic plan, the Polar Star, is on display in the National Air and Space Museum. The Hudson City Schools sports teams are named the “Explorers” in his honor. The tusk was likely presented to Ellsworth from Andrew J. Stone in Alaska. Stone was also a well-known explorer who led several expeditions in British Columbia and Alaska. Stone was working as a surveyor for a gold mining company in Alaska when we believe he gave the tusk to Ellsworth. It was Ellsworth’s time in Alaska and perhaps his meeting with Stone that may have influenced him to become a polar explorer.

Mammoth tusk, view A

Facts

1910 Pounds

The weight of Lincoln Ellsworth's plane Northrop Gamma "Polar Star"

2,300 Miles

The distance that Lincoln traveled in 1935 when discovering unexplored land in Antarctica

3,000 square miles

The approximate total area of Antarctica territory explored by Ellsworth

10,000+ Years

The age of the woolly mammoth tusk

Lincoln Ellsworth

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

  • BBC. (n.d.). 13 mammoth facts about mammoths. BBC Natural Histories.
  • Bradford, A. (2016, October 28). Facts about woolly mammoths. Live Science. 
  • Encyclopedia Britannica. (2021, February 26). Mammoth
  • Mason, T. K. (1982). Two Against the Ice, Amundsen and Ellsworth. Dodd Mead.
  • Maynard, J. (2019). Antarctica’s Lost Aviator: The epic adventure to explore the last frontier on Earth. Pegasus Books.
  • Pool, B. H. (2002). Polar Extremes: The world of Lincoln Ellsworth. University of Alaska Press.
  • Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. (1933). Northrop Gamma Polar Star. National Air and Space Museum. Washington D.C., USA. 

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