SEATTLE -

A Seattle museum official says construction workers digging in the city's south Lake Union area have found a tusk from an ice age mammoth.

KIRO-TV reports that the construction workers stopped digging when they found the fossil and called the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. Christian Sidor is curator of vertebrate paleontology at the museum.

Sidor said yesterday that museum experts have examined the fossil and, in his words, "we are confident that it represents a tusk from an ice age mammoth."

Since the fossil was found recently on private property, Sidor says it's up to the landowner to decide what to do with the tusk.

Sidor calls it "a rare opportunity to directly study Seattle's ancient natural history."

According to the museum, the ancient elephant relatives lived in Washington until approximately 10,000 years ago and their fossils have been found throughout western Washington.