CHICAGO (CBS) — A fossil found on public land in McHenry County last month has been identified as the tooth of a giant beaver that used to roam the area in the Ice Age.
A maintenance worker walking along the Kishwaukee River found the fossilized incisor just lying in some brush, according to McHenry County Conservation District spokeswoman Wendy Kummerer.
“That was the first question I asked. I’m like, ‘Were you guys digging around out there?’” she said. “Typically, people are digging, and they find it.”
The roughly footlong tooth is from a relative of the modern day beaver. The giant beaver went extinct about 13,000 years ago, according to Jeffrey Sunders, chair of geology at the Illinois State Museum.
“The extinct giant beaver is Castoroides Ohioensis, so it’s a different genus and species,” he said.
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