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Carver

Fossilized Tusk

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Carver

I recently purchased a box of miscellaneous knife making supplies at an estate sale. When I first saw this object, I thought I had bought an ugly piece of wood, but when I picked it up, I realized it was something else due to the weight. It looks like a small tusk, but I’m a newbie and have no real clue as to what this is. I’m confident this forum is the place to find the answer. Thanks!

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mikeymig

I'm thinking fossil walrus tusk.

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Auspex

I propose that you grip a nail with pliers and heat it to red hot, then apply it to this object.
If it is not mineralized (ie: more recent origins), it will smell of burned hair (keratin).

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Auspex
34 minutes ago, mikeymig said:

I'm thinking fossil walrus tusk.

And yes, that is my thinking too (except for the 'fossil' part).

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Carver

I used a wood burning pen and applied it to 3 different surfaces. No smell of burning hair, although it did emit a faint odor which I can’t describe.  The heat barely left a mark and as you can see from the photos, the tip of the pen was red hot. Hope this helps.

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abyssunder

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Carver

Thank you, Auspex and the other members who responded to my post. So, it appears that I have a piece of modern walrus ivory and not a fossil at all. I’ll attempt to contact family members of the estate in the hopes that someone can provide a bit more provenance. I image it was purchased quite a while back - there is an old piece of tape with a price of $46 attached to the tusk. Thanks again, this is a great forum!

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Peat Burns

I'm in the marine mammal bone camp.

 

 @Boesse

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Carver

I sawed a piece off of one end and it's definitely some type of bone. Very porous and when I made the cut, it smelled exactly like bone I've cut in the past. Now I just have to discover what type of bone. Thanks again!

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Auspex

I think the case for Walrus baculum is building; the 'rind' and the trabecular structure are consistent with Al Dente's example.
We can rule out whale rib by comparison to one I have:

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Boesse

@Al Dente has it - it's an oosik (walrus baculum). The ends were sawn off, but you can make out a little ring-shaped raised ridge of bone at the thick end, which is sort of a telltale sign.

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Carver

Unfortunately, that's the exact spot that I chose to make my saw cut. But is this the type of ridge you're referring to?

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