Workers digging the new campus of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law have excavated the remains of a 500,000-year-old mammoth

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Here's a little-known fact about Thomas Jefferson: He had a thing for mammoths, and even kept a collection of their bones in the White House.

So it seems strangely fitting that workers unearthed a 500,000-year-old mammoth skull and two tusks last month while excavating in downtown San Diego for the new campus of the Thomas Jefferson School of Law.

"It seemed bizarre at first, but when we heard about Thomas Jefferson's fascination with the mammoth, the coincidence was almost too good to be true," said Rudy Hasl, dean of the law school.

The fossils included a mostly intact skull with three molars, two tusks, and an assortment of foot and leg bones. Patrick J. Sena, a paleontologist with the San Diego Natural History Museum, says the bones probably belonged to a Columbian mammoth that may have been 15 to 17 feet tall.

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