There is a 21st century treasure hunt taking place in New York City’s East River. But the treasure hunters aren’t looking for gold or gemstones, they’re looking for bones–mammoth tusks, to be precise.
This week, the river started playing host to teams of people looking to cash in by finding the submerged treasure. Local TV station PIX 11 talked to a father-son duo of geologists hoping to strike it rich. The East River is filthy, so some teams are using sonar to help narrow the search area. Others are simply relying on scuba gear to navigate the murky waters.
A single mammoth tusk could be worth up to $20,000. The treasure hunters think there could be thousands of tusks under the water.
On the Joe Rogan Experience, the host recently interviewed Alaskan businessman and bone collector John Reeves. Reeves claimed to have a report from the American Museum of Natural History that said thousands of mammoth tusks were dumped into the East River in the mid 20th century.
“This is gonna be a bone rush,” Reeves said to Rogan during the podcast. According to Reeves, the report said around 500,000 mammoth tusks were dumped at an exact location along the East River between 1928 and 1958. Reeves said the bulk of the dumping was done in 1940.
The American Museum of Natural History said it doesn’t have any record of mammoth tusks being dumped into the East River, and there’s no record any report alleging the disposal took place was ever published.
While the search for mammoth bones in the East River may turn out to be more of a wild goose chase, the treasure hunters can still see mammoth tusks in New York City. The museum does have a nice woolly mammoth skeleton on display.