A couple of days ago I went to see a friend who knows my weakness for X-ray examinations. He gave me a mammoth tusk. At first glance I doubted if there would be any possibility to produce an image because of the estimated high density of this stone age tooth.
So I decided to try a CT scan. I had some butterflies in my tummy and feared an artistic disaster. Indeed, the first slices emerging from our scanner weren’t much convincing. As a first step of postproduction My technician and I decided to do a volume rendering of the 0.75mm slices. We got a surprisingly good result that showed interesting details of the inner structure of this biological remnant.
A tusk is a tooth of the upper jaw of the mammoth (or elephant). A major blood vessel branching off while running to the tip can easily be seen. The caves on right hand side are assumed to stabilize this life long weapon of a mammoth.
This tusk has been stone age ivory and consists mostly of calcium phosphate and calcium carbonate.
As there is no restriction to trading of mammoth ivory there is an increasing amount of siberian stone age ivory emerging to the market.