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Joe Rogan Ignites Treasure Hunt for Mammoth Bones in New York City

Based on a guest's best guess about the location of valuable fossils, treasure hunters are literally all in.

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If Joe Rogan told you to jump in a river, would you?

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The answer is yes, if you are Don Gann, a 35-year-old commercial diver from New Jersey.

After hearing a guest on The Joe Rogan Experience talk about valuable wooly mammoth bones and tusks that were supposedly dumped in New York City's East River by museum curators in the 1940s, Gann and other treasure hunters started diving.

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Now, if you are not from New York or are unfamiliar with the East River, you should know that it is…not nice. The murky water allows divers to see about one foot in front of them, and a strong current rips across the bottom. It's not exactly a pleasure dive on the Great Barrier Reef.

So what are the odds of finding lost bones dumped along the river bed more than 80 years ago? Gann admits they aren't high.

"I think the chances are just as good as the lottery," he told ABC7NY. "And people buy those tickets every day."

What might be an additional hurdle for the treasure hunter is that the treasure he's hunting might not actually exist.

Representatives from the American Museum of Natural History, where the supposed bone dumpers worked, released a statement to the Associated Press that tusk-tusks the whole deal: "We do not have any record of the disposal of these fossils in the East River, nor have we been able to find any record of this report in the museum's archives or other scientific sources."

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The mammoth treasure hunt was sparked by John Reeves, an Alaskan gold miner and fossil hunter, who shared the tale of the dumped tusks on the December 30, 2022 episode of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast.

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After describing the number of prehistoric artifacts he uncovered while digging on his gold mine claim, Reeves discussed a document that described how prehistoric material that was found on the same land was sent to the American Museum of Natural History in the early part of the 20th century, and that the museum workers deemed them unsuitable for display and dumped them in the river near East 65th Street.

"I'm going to start a bone rush," Reeves told Rogan. "We'll see if anybody out there's got a sense of adventure."

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So far, Gann and about two dozen other groups of fossil hunters haven't found the site of the supposed fossil dump, but he remains unfettered, telling ABC7NY that he was going to move downstream and continue the search.

"If I find nothing, then I find nothing," he said. "I gave it an honest shot."

His efforts sure seem worth it. Depending on the condition, a single tusk could be worth $20,000.

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