Mastodon Tooth Found at Michigan Christian Charity Donated to Local Museum

A Christian charity in Michigan received the donation of a lifetime after someone left them a mastodon tooth.

The Grand Rapids based charity, In The Image, recovered the ancient tooth from a donation box during a July pickup.

"We do pickups for donations all the time, mostly at people's estates if grandfather passed away and the family decides to donate their belongings to us," John Timmer, an employee at the charity's warehouse, told ABC. "But I suspect whoever donated it didn't know it was there."

The charity serves low-income residents who are in need of housewares and clothing and will donate the tooth to the Grand Rapid Public Museum. The artifact is believed to be anywhere between 12,000 to 15,000 years old.

The tooth is roughly the size of a loaf of bread.

"And there was a sharper piece that looked like a tusk, possibly, and that one was probably a little bigger, about a foot long and maybe five inches wide," Timmer said.

So far no one has come forward to claim the tooth.

"It's pretty amazing the things we get," the charity's executive director, Jay Starkey, told "I just looked at it and said, 'This is something different.'"

The charity could have sold the piece, but as Starkey reveals that educational value far exceeds any monetary value that could have been derived from the tooth.

"The fact it will be used for education purposes is the coolest thing," Starkey said. "They're going to let the kids feel it, touch it and learn about it. How cool is that?"

 "It's worth more that it'll be part of an educational program …. We believe in that process."

The animals roamed North America more than 10,000 years ago and their remains have been recovered all over the northern plains, but most were found in Siberia.

"This is kind of an oddball way for something to come in," Tim Priest, the museum's collections manager, told CBS