Mastodon Tusk Project Posters


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Document Type



Mastodons--Iowa--Franklin County; Fossils--Collection and preservation--Iowa;


One of the most important objects in the University of Northern Iowa Museum collection is the Mammut Americanum (American Mastodon) tusk, which was originally found in 1933 in a sand pit south of Hampton, Iowa. Since then, severe mechanical and chemical damage was done to the tusk in attempts of restoration and storage, as shown in Figure 1. In order to address these problems, the UNI Museum was awarded a Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust Grant to restore and preserve the American Mastodon tusk. The purpose of the project is quantitative determination of the heavy metal content in the core of the tusk ivory by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Information about trace heavy metals found in mastodon ivory, will help to draw conclusions about the dietary habits and the environment of the mastodon. In addition, since heavy metals are toxic even low concentrations, the content of the heavy metals in ivory is needed to be known, in order to avoid the hazard of heavy metal poisoning for the scientists working on further restoration of the tusk.

Publication Date


Faculty Advisor

Joshua A. Sebree


Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry


Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa



File Format


Quantitative Evaluation of Heavy Metals in the Mastodon Tusk Ivory by Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy

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