elephant tusk

In a startling discovery made by archaeologists from Oxford University, a giant, 325,000-year-old tusk belonging to an extinct species of elephant, remarkably preserved and embedded by an ancient lake has been found deep in the deserts of Saudi Arabia.

The group, led by Prof Mike Petraglia found the two pieces of excavated tusk measuring 2.25m (7.4ft) preserved in an ancient lake in the Nafud Desert and is believed to have belonged to an extinct species of elephant known as the Palaeoloxodon.

Based on the elephant’s carpal bone, scientists estimate it weighed 6-7 tonnes (13,300-15,400lbs), compared to 3-6 tonnes for a modern-day African elephant, the BBC reported. Its height was put at more than 3.6m (11.8ft) at the shoulder.

Prof Petraglia said that the discovery of the elephant tusk is a huge paleontological find and is significant in demonstrating that the Arabian desert was green many times and that environmental change may have led to flexible responses in humans.