Elephant teeth lost to Ike will show up, Bolivar man says
By DIANA HEIDGERD Associated Press
Oct. 16, 2008, 3:55PM
Brian Sattler AP
Roy Davis evacuated his home on Sept. 11, two days before Ike slammed into the Texas coast.
Davis, 57, said today that among the items scattered from his one-bedroom house were prized animal keepsakes from his years working at zoos.
"I probably had 30 pieces of modern-day elephants," he said. "They shed their teeth. They wear them down."
Two treasured elephant teeth have now been returned to Davis, after media reports about the discovery of what appeared to be an unusual fossil on the beach.
Davis says he lived a couple of doors down from Lamar University educator Dorothy Sisk, whose house in the Caplen community also was destroyed by Ike.
Sisk and a Lamar colleague, paleontologist Jim Westgate, went to the area a few days after the Sept. 13 hurricane to see what was left of her place.
They came upon a 6-pound tooth that Westgate recognized as a tooth from a mammoth common to North America until about 10,000 years ago. Eventually, the teeth made it back to Davis after media accounts surfaced about a fossil possibly washing ashore.
Davis, superintendent of Lake Houston Park, is making his interim home in a travel trailer since Ike.
He has had the mammoth's tooth since the mid-1980s, when it turned up at a construction site in Tyler. At the time, Davis was head elephant trainer at Caldwell Zoo.
The native of Moore, Okla., says the African elephant tooth came from when he was working at the Oklahoma City Zoo. An elephant named Timboo died in the 1970s.
"Since I was the only one that could handle the animal at the time, they gave it to me as a remembrance," he said.
As for the rest of his elephant items?
"They're still somewhere on the beach down there," Davis said. "None have shown up yet. They may. If they don't, they'll turn up 10-15 years from now."