You can bid on mammoth tooth fossil found by Kittery fishermen to help Ukrainian refugees – Seacoastonline.com

KITTERY, Maine — New England Fishmongers crew members fondly recall two years ago pulling from the waters a VHS copy of “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective,” the 1994 film starring Jim Carrey. However, more recently, two miles off the Newburyport coastline, the Fishmongers recovered an item thousands of years older than the cult classic.
Capt. Asher Molyneaux and deckhands pulled up a woolly mammoth tooth fossil while dredging for scallops with a 47-foot F/V Finlander II just before Christmas.
Displaying the fossilized tooth at the company’s “Gourmet Alley” storefront, which opened in October, Fishmongers captain and co-owner Tim Rider said a University of New Hampshire paleontologist verified the fossil and said it’s likely 10,000 to 15,000 years old.
In hopes of giving the fossil a better home, the New England Fishmongers are auctioning the tooth off and donating all proceeds to the World Central Kitchen, which is serving hot food in Poland to Ukrainian refugees fleeing the war.
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“We found out what it was from Google,” Rider said. “Since then, we’ve allowed kids and families to come in and see it and talk about it. Basically everyone asked what we were going to do with it and in light of everything in the world going on right now … the best thing was to donate it for charity.”
Roaming the globe for millions of years, the woolly mammoth population disappeared around 4,000 years ago. Research published last fall in the journal “Nature” suggested climate change caused the extinction of the mammoths, which were roughly the size of a modern African elephant, contradicting the belief humans caused their extinction through hunting.
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Nearly two weeks since Russia’s military invaded Ukraine, which declared its independence in 1991 following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Rider said he feels that every individual effort to assist the war-torn country and its people collectively amounts to a lot. 
“I’m a fisherman but anytime you see families and children struggling in that type of situation you really try to be thankful for what you have and do what you can to help,” he said. 
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Rider, who co-owns New England Fishmongers with Kayla Cox, a fellow commercial fishermen, said that throughout his career he’s worked with several food banks for charitable purposes, a reminder of the times when he was struggling in life.
“No pun intended, but it’s kept me really even-keeled in this business to do charitable work,” he said.
Founded by celebrity chef José Andrés, World Central Kitchen’s history is rooted in Haiti, where Andres and volunteers traveled in 2010 to cook for displaced citizens following the devastating magnitude 7.0 earthquake that struck the island. 
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Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began Feb. 24, the World Central Kitchen has set up hot meal stations at eight border crossings in Poland and are preparing meals in eight Ukrainian cities, according to its website. The organization has also employed volunteers to assist Ukrainian refugees in Romania, Moldova and Hungary.
A few inches longer, and certainly a lot heavier, than baskets of the Fishmongers’ tasty fish and chips and fish tacos, the grooved fossil has been kept soaking in water at the restaurant and fish market for preservation purposes. 
While Rider said he believes finding an “Ace Ventura” Pet Detective” VHS is more interesting than the fossil, and much less potentially dangerous than the phosphorous flare he found as a younger fisherman, the tooth could have an unparalleled benefit at auction.
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“It’s in pretty good shape. I’ve seen other people have smaller pieces, so it came up intact which is really a miracle,” Rider said. “It’s pretty heavy duty equipment that we use so I’m surprised that it didn’t that it didn’t break on the way up.”
The Fishmongers’ auction for the fossilized tooth, set up through eBay, will run until Sunday afternoon, March 13. To place a bid, go to ebay.com and search for “mammoth tooth molar.”


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