The discovery that had its first sighting in 2019 300 kilometers off the coast of California raised doubts about how the rest ended up at the site.
Biologist Steven Haddock and pilot Randy Prickett returned to the scene in July 2021, as they only recovered a small portion of the tusk during their initial visit.
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With the remotely controlled ROV submarine Doc Ricketts at a depth of more than 3,070 meters, they managed to collect the entire 1-meter tusk, according to an MBARI press release.
Back on shore, the team was able to confirm that the tusk belonged to an extinct Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi).
They estimate that the preservation of the tusk is due to the cold environment and high pressure.