Scientists hope to lift tusk from trench Friday

View photos
Researchers from the University of Washington's Burke Museum clean dirt from around a fossilized mammoth tusk that was found earlier in the week Thursday, Feb. 13, 2014, in Seattle. In the crowded south Lake Union neighborhood where workers go out for espresso, an ice age mammoth died 10,000 years ago and remained until this week, when a plumbing contractor crew uncovered its tusk. Paleontologists with the Burke Museum are working with the building contractor to remove the tusk. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE (AP) — Scientists have encased in plaster a mammoth tusk found in a Seattle construction site as they prepare to remove it.

The tusk, believed to be of a Columbian mammoth, was measured at 8.5 feet long after it was fully exposed overnight. Scientists with the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture plan to remove the tusk using the construction crane at the site sometime Friday evening.

Paleontologist Christian Sidor says the tusk is between 22,000 and 60,000 years old and with the plaster encasing could weigh up to 500 pounds.

Construction workers found the tusk Tuesday about 30 feet below street level, thinking at first that it might be a pipe or a root. The company building a 118-unit apartment complex at the site has nearly stopped construction to accommodate the scientists.