Hewitt man uncovers ancient mammoth tooth on Waco’s Cotton Belt Trail

The molar is estimated to be between 25,000 to 50,000 years old.
Art Castillo of Hewitt found this Columbian mammoth molar while on a hike in Waco's Cotton...
Art Castillo of Hewitt found this Columbian mammoth molar while on a hike in Waco's Cotton Belt Trail last Thursday.(Art Castillo/Facebook)
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 12:00 PM CDT
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) - A Central Texas man made a rare and stunning discovery Thursday when he uncovered a Columbian mammoth tooth while hiking on Waco’s Cotton Belt Trail.

Art Castillo, of Hewitt, told KWTX he found the tooth while on one of his many visits to the trail, which is located off of Highway 84 in Waco.

Having previously spotted other molars at the site, he knew this one was something special.

“I knew it wasn’t a rock when I saw the patterns and layers on it,” Castillo says.

After posting his findings on Facebook and receiving feedback that the fossil could be a mammoth tooth, Castillo decided to verify his discovery by taking it to the Waco Mammoth National Monument the following day.

The park confirmed that the tooth was, indeed, a Columbian mammoth molar and estimated that it was somewhere between 25,000 to 50,000 years old, according to one of Castillo’s Facebook posts documenting the process.

Castillo opted to donate the fossil to the monument in order for kids and other visitors to enjoy it for years to come.

“The reason I didn’t ask for any money is because money isn’t everything to me,” he says. “The happiness and joy this fossil will bring to visitors is more important to me than any dollar amount.”

Castillo hopes this experience encourages others to be adventurous and maybe even look for their own fossils, too.