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Sid Meier’s popular turn-based strategy flying game is back, only this time the battle takes place above the Pacific Sea with the U.S. against Japan as World War II is unfolding.

Sid Meier’s popular turn-based strategy flying game is back, only this time the battle takes place above the Pacific Sea with the U.S. against Japan as World War II is unfolding.

Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies is the sequel to the dogfight title that turned board game style playing into an epic battle that changed history. This time, you don’t have to worry about those pesky in-app purchases…


Just like its predecessor, Pacific Skies puts players on a virtual board game where movement is represented by hexagonal spaces. Players can choose to play as either Japan or the U.S. and are able to select the plane that their commander will fly.

Pilots each have their own summary card that shows their rank, maneuverability, speed, and other important statistical information. Use these cards to determine which pilots you’d like to take as your wingman.

When it is your turn, your available moves will be displayed as arrows in different spaces on the grid. Some spaces have multiple move options. Available moves are blue, attack moves are green, and unavailable moves are gray. In this game, pilots learn a lot of new flying tricks right at the beginning, so you’ll be able to direct them into barrel rolls and loops early on. Each available movement will have a designated arrow. For example, an arrow pointing straight ahead, but slightly upward means your plane will move forward at a slight incline.

Friendly territory on the board will be outlined in blue. Enemy territory is outlined in red. Try to avoid entering enemy areas or you may get a few unexpected bullet holes.

You can see everything on the game board by dragging your finger across the screen. Move your view to where the enemy planes are to help determine your upcoming moves. You can also rotate the view by placing two fingers on the screen and moving them in a circular motion. Use two fingers and pinch to zoom in and out, as well.

When you select your movement, your plane will move to the designated space. Then, your enemy will take a turn. When you are in a dogfight, screen’s display switches from the hexagonal board to a mini cinematic clip. The cinematic shows you the result of your attack. If the enemy ship is destroyed, the plane will explode and a pilot will eject and parachute down.


When you first start the game, you will pick your side, either the U.S. or Japan, and pick your military preference, either Navy or Army. Then, you will select a squadron commander. He will be the first pilot to learn new moves and increase in rank. The first few levels are training missions. It is a good idea to send out different pilots to train each mission. That way, if something happens to your commander, like he is captured or his plane is destroyed, your backup pilots will be experienced enough to compete against the big dogs on higher levels.

During the game, you will take a turn, using all available planes, and then the enemy will take a turn. Send your pilots into battle to complete whatever missions you are tasked with. Sometimes, you will need to take down enemy planes. Other times, you will need to destroy P.O.W. camps. Even if you lose a plane during a mission, it doesn’t necessarily mean you did not complete the task. Keep fighting until the bitter end.

If you do take damage, your plane will suffer poor performance, but you can still fight. If your plane goes down over enemy territory, you will lose the pilot that was flying that particular plane for a few levels. When pilots are rescued, they get their plane back with full health again.

As missions are completed, the pilot that was flying at the time will learn new maneuvers, like sharp turns and full loops. You are able to select the new moves that your pilot learns. Be sure to give each one a different specialty so that you have a well-rounded team.

This game also includes multiplayer mode. You can either play against your friend in the same room in pass-and-play “Hot Pad” mode, or play against others online through Game Center. You can either invite friends to play with you, or get teamed up with a random stranger.

Pacific Skies features 180 missions set against iconic WWII battles, including Pearl Harbor, Midway, and Guadalcanal. You can customize your pilots by giving them new names, and even disable male and female pilot options for a more realistic version of history.

The Good

Just like its predecessor, this game makes good use of touch gestures to make a strategy turn-based board game into an action-packed dogfight. Your pilots don’t heal right away, but you don’t have to purchase medicine for them, just give them some bed rest and they will be fine on their own. You also don’t have to pay to unlock new missions. The whole game is included in the download price.

Multiplayer mode is awesome. This game is twice as fun when you are playing against real opponents who have real strategy planning.

The Bad

The save and auto-save functions can be misleading. To save a game, you must select the save space two times or it will not work. The game will auto-save during missions, but there is no pause button or menu screen so some people think that the game restarts if you close the app in the middle of the mission. It doesn’t. It picks up right where you left off, even in the middle of a level.

Because there is no pause or menu screen during a mission, you can’t replay a level if you know you are doing terrible at it. I’d like to be able to start a mission over, even in the middle of a level.


Sid Meier’s Ace Patrol: Pacific Skies costs $4.99. This is the average price of a board game title. In an unusual turn of events, this is one of those rare times when a game developer decides to make something that was previously free-to-play (Ace Patrol) into a paid download. I guess those outspoken gamers who always accuse developers of being “scam artists” who are being “greedy” and trying to “rip people off” are finally being heard.


Fans of the original title will love this game. It features all of the same excitement of the mid-air dogfights and gravity-defying maneuvers, without the in-app purchase looming over your head. This game is available for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Download it in the App Store today.

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Tronsmart Onyx Ace Pro Review: Budget Buds


Good sound quality

Excellent battery life

Gaming Mode



Tricky to get out of the case

Can slip out of ears

Our Verdict

If you’re looking for a simple pair of wireless earbuds and don’t care about noise cancelling, then the Onyx Ace Pro are an excellent choice. Audio sounds great, battery life is long, and the price is one we can all afford. Not bad at all in these difficult times.

Best Prices Today: Tronsmart Oynx Ace Pro




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Over the past year or so there’s been plenty of budget friendly wireless earbuds released that feature active noise cancellation and other fancy modes. The thing is those capabilities have begun to stretch what budget-friendly really means.

Tronsmart seems to have spotted this and has launched the Onyx Ace Pro buds that keep things simple and the cost affordable. But is this minimalist approach a blessing or a curse?

Design & Build

Half in design

Bluetooth 5.2

13mm drivers

Pretty much all of the wireless earbuds I’ve reviewed over the last few years have come with pill-shaped charging cases that have almost no external decoration. Tronsmart has obviously gotten bored of this ascetic approach, so with the Onyx Ace Pro there is a silver trim around the flip-top opening, plus a silver panel on the front that houses the four lights that tell you how much charge it holds. 

Opening up the box and taking out the buds is a little fiddly, but once extracted they bear a very Apple AirPods aesthetic. There’s no rubber ear cups for holding them in your ear canal, instead smooth plastic ovals are attached to short stalks, with the former resting against the openings in your ears. Basically, if you’ve used a pair of regular Apple AirPods in the last ten years then you’ll know how these work.

As is normal with this design, it’s one-size fits most with no silicone tips. So, those who have had problems in the past with semi in-ear buds slipping out by themselves, may prefer to go for a pair of in-ear buds like the affordable Redmi AirDots.

Inside the buds Tronsmart has fitted 13mm composite polymer drivers to deliver the audio, all controlled by a Qualcomm QCC3040 processor that offers aptX adaptive audio decoding and provides cVc 8.0 call reduction technology to help make phone calls clear and free from unwanted artefacts. 

The plastic construction means the Onyx Ace Pro are featherlight, with speakers at one end of the ovals, two microphones for each bud, and a touch sensitive control area on the outside of each stalk.

Martyn Casserley / Foundry

There are a pretty standard range of touch commands available, with a double tap on either one triggering play/pause, tapping and holding for 2 seconds on the right bud will skip to the next track, while doing the same on the left one will take you to the previous track. Thankfully, there is also a volume control option, by tapping once on the right bud to turn up and once on the left to turn down. 

The Onyx Ace Pro support various digital assistants, depending on which smartphone you use, and you can launch this by tapping the right bud three times. You can also use the play/pause command to answer or end phone calls. 

Pairing the buds is simple, with the first time requiring the flip top case to be opened (with the buds still inside), then pressing and holding the pairing button found on the bottom of the case next to the USB-C charging port. When the lights start to flash, it means the pairing mode is active, then it’s just a case of selecting them from the available devices menu on your smartphone or other device.

Once this is set up, they connect automatically every other time you take them out of the case. I found the connections to be reliable and solid throughout my time with the buds, and the Bluetooth 5.2 technology even allows you to venture about ten metres away from your device before the signal is lost. 

An IPX5 rating assures you that the buds can be used in the rain without worrying they’ll go kaputt, plus they should also survive the odd splash or two. 

Sound Quality & Features

Good audio quality


Gaming Mode for enhanced audio/video syncing

The Onyx Ace Pro buds are capable of some very nice audio. Spoken word content sounds rich and full, with enough bottom end to make everything feel solid and warm. Put on some music and again there are pleasing results, with a wide frequency spread that can handle folk to metal without skipping a beat. There’s also plenty of volume on offer, although do be careful with this as prolonged use (of any loud earphones) can damage your hearing. 

I was impressed with the quality of the tones coming out of the buds when they were securely wedged into my ears, but things do drop away a bit if the buds get slightly dislodged. When the buds are fully in your ear, they create enough of a sealed chamber to blot out most of the background noise in a room or busy environment.

Martyn Casserley / Foundry

But the shape of them, and the lack of any different sized covers that you find on the in-ear bud style alternatives, means it can be a little too easy to knock them out from those firm fits when operating the touch controls, allowing noise to get in. This isn’t a problem particular to these headphones, it’s just a design compromise that has always been attached to this style of earphones.

Conversely, if you don’t like having buds jammed in your ear canal, then these are a good alternative. The Nothing Ear (Stick) are another option if you have more to spend.

There’s no active noise cancelling, and therefore no ambient mode that can keep you aware of what’s going on around you while you enjoy content on the buds. This is fine if you want to get rid of the din that’s usually going on in the world, but does make you oblivious (aurally anyway) to your surroundings.

What is on offer is a Gaming Mode, which beefs up the audio/video synchronisation capabilities of the buds, with a slight hit to battery life in the process. The idea is that you can use the Onyx Ace Pro more comfortably with games, as the sounds you hear will stick closely to video you see on your handset.

It worked fine for me and also doubled up to improve the syncing of the buds to my TV so I could watch Netflix at night without waking the family or getting dizzy from the delay of people’s lips moving before I heard them speak. You access the Gaming Mode by tapping the left bud three times, and turn it off by repeating the process. 

Phone calls were equally good, with our recipients reporting clear audio with little in the way of distortion or noise. 

Battery Life & Charging

Over 6 hours from single charge

Case can hold enough energy for 5 recharges

Around 1hr 20mins recharge time for buds

These have to be some of the most impressive buds I’ve tried in terms of battery life. From a single charge in the case the buds are able to pass the six hour mark before needing to pop them back in for a refresh.

Admittedly, it does take over an hour to get them back up to 100%, but that’s a price I’d be happy to pay for the prolonged listening sessions they provide.

Tronsmart doesn’t state the battery sizes for the buds or the charging case, but the latter is no slouch either, having enough reserves (after a full two hour charge) to replenish the buds around five times. A total of 36 hours is commendable. 

Martyn Casserley / Foundry

Price & Availability

You can pick up the Onyx Ace Pro buds from Aliexpress for £29.99/$39.99.

The company also told me that these should be coming to Amazon but they are nowhere to be found at the time of writing.

Looking at the competition, the most obvious alternative is the Redmi AirDots that you can get on Amazon for £25/$25 and which have largely similar appointments to the Onyx Ace Pro.

If you want noise cancelling, then you’ll need to spend a bit more, but the Redmi Buds Pro 3 are an excellent option at £65 on Amazon UK and $59.99 on Amazon US. 

Check out more options in our roundup of the best budget wireless earbuds. 


Tronsmart lives up to the latter half of its name, delivering a solid pair of wireless buds that provide good audio, are comfortable to wear, and have excellent battery life all for a price that most people can afford.

If you’ve been wary of switching to wireless earbuds, these would be the perfect place to start, as you can always upgrade to a pair with active noise cancelling later on without feeling like you’ve wasted your money.

The only real blemish is how easy it can be to dislodge them when using the controls, but if your ears fit with this style of earphone, I think you’ll be very happy with the Onyx Ace Pro. 

Who Will Win The Battle Of The Streaming Services

Even just twenty years ago we wouldn’t have expected our entertainment needs to take this path. Everything is streamed whether it’s movies, TV, or music. Streaming services are becoming nearly as important as utilities in our home. So now they seem to be directly taking each other on. But who will win the battle of the streaming services?

Let’s start with music. Some people eschew downloading songs and buying CDs in favor of paying a monthly subscription price to listen to whatever they want. Spotify seemed to be the leading contender for years, but now Apple Music has entered the fray. Spotify is now launching a new feature, Release Radar, that seems aimed at the Apple Music subscribers. It makes it easier for listeners to find new music that fits their tastes. But Apple’s not taking that laying down. They are rolling out an all-new interface soon that makes it easier to find music as well.

And then there are TV and movies. There are many people that are foregoing cable and satellite and just streaming movies and their TV shows. Netflix seemed to be the place for movies and Hulu the place for TV shows, but now Netflix is offering first-run TV series, and Hulu has just announced that they won’t offer as much television content anymore in what seems like it’s placing itself in battle with Netflix. However, Apple has announced that they will begin producing first-run television shows as well, and let’s not leave Amazon Prime out of this battle.

What’s going to happen in all this competition? Will there be any winners or will this just promote more battles between the opposing services? Is this beneficial to the viewing/listening audience? Or is this something that doesn’t help viewers and listeners at all and only serves to make these big tech companies bigger?

Laura Tucker

Laura has spent nearly 20 years writing news, reviews, and op-eds, with more than 10 of those years as an editor as well. She has exclusively used Apple products for the past three decades. In addition to writing and editing at MTE, she also runs the site’s sponsored review program.

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The Best Cases For The New Macbook Air

Apple launched a new MacBook Air earlier this year, bringing with it a 13-inch Retina display, and, perhaps most importantly, the scissor switch keyboard. So now you may need a case to protect it.

We’ve put together a list of some of the best case options for your new 13-inch MacBook Air, some with slim designs and others with more prominent, eye-catching aesthetics. All of them will help keep your MacBook Air protecting from day-to-day use. So let’s get right into it.

The best MacBook Air cases Twelve South BookBook

This is the second version of Twelve South’s popular BookBook case for the MacBook Air. It retains the familiar design, boasting a look that’s reminiscent of a hardcover book. It features hand-crafted genuine leather, with both the front and back of the case hardback book covers. A rigid spine helps protect against drops. And the inside of the case is constructed from a plush, velvety interior to prevent any scratches with daily use.

There is a new proprietary hinge system within the BookBook case, making it easy to keep working with the MacBook even if you keep it within the BookBook. No straps will block the screen. There is a hidden pocket within the case that can store documents as well.

This BookBook case will also fit the 13-inch MacBook Pro as well.

The BookBook case for the MacBook Air is available now from Amazon.

Buy Twelve South BookBook for $89.99


The Spigen case for the new MacBook Air is designed to be minimal and low-impact, protecting your notebook without adding any major bulk for day-to-day use. It is constructed from a premium knit fabric, which will prevent scratches. The case also offers precise cutouts for the headphone jack and the pair of USB-C ports, so you won’t have any issues connecting accessories to your MacBook Air.

The case also features an elevated bottom, which will help prevent any overheating issues.

Spigen’s case for the MacBook Air is available now from Amazon in either black or rose gold color options.

Buy Spigen’s MacBook Air case for $24.99

Twelve South SuitCase

The SuitCase from Twelve South is a brand new option, featuring full-body protection and a built-in carrying handle, too. It’s designed to protect your MacBook Air while you travel and while you use it, but it doesn’t attach directly to your laptop like the other cases.

The SuitCase features a proprietary bungee hinge design within the case, so when you open it your MacBook Air easily accessible without any straps blocking the display. But thanks to the design, it means you can easily remove the MacBook Air, too. The interior features micro-suede to help not only absorb shocks, but also prevent scratches. Meanwhile, outside, the case is a hardshell case with a unique tailored grey twill in a signature diamond pattern.

Inside, there is a single, relatively large pocket to hold cables, documents, and small notebooks. Some of the other nice touches with the SuitCase include water resistant zippers and the aforementioned carrying handle is full-grain leather. The whole case is made from water repellant material, too.

The SuitCase is available now for your MacBook Air from Amazon.

Buy Twelve South’s SuitCase MacBook Air case for $69.99


The ProCase has a slim design, but it’s a hardshell which means it offers extra durability when compared to other thin cases out there for the MacBook Air. It has a wrap-around bumper to help protect against drops thanks to its built-in shock absorbency, and there is a foldable built-in stand as well.

Accessing ports is easy thanks to the cutouts, and the bottom of the heavy duty case is ventilated to help prevent any overheating issues, thanks to four rows of cooling holes. The back of the lid is protected by an anti-scratch layer as well.

The case is easy to snap on and off when needed, and it’s available now in grey from Amazon.

Buy the ProCase hardshell MacBook Air case for $28.99


The Incase option is another thin shell, but it’s a hardshell design as well. The case is made from the reliable Bayer Makrolon polycarbonate material, which will help prevent any scratches from marking up your MacBook Air, but also protect it against minor drops as well. The case also features a Woolenex material overlay, which is abrasion-resistant.

That Woolenex is woven from both 300D and 600D polyester, and designed to help make the case weather-resistant. And it’s a form-fitting case, which means you can find precise cutouts for the headphone jack and two USB-C ports. It is also thoroughly ventilated, so MacBook Air owners shouldn’t run into any overheating issues.

The Incase MacBook Air case is available now from Amazon in Graphite, Heather Navy, and Blush Pink color options.

Buy the Incase MacBook Air case for $34.95 – $94.93

Apple Leather Sleeve

This is a straightforward sleeve for the 13-inch MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro. However, it’s the same high-quality design that Apple has made for its other leather cases and sleeves. It’s crafted from European leather, and the inside has a soft microfiber lining. One of the benefits of this sleeve is that it will allow you to charge your MacBook Air while it’s inside, so you can keep it protected while you juice up.

The Leather Sleeve from Apple is available now from Amazon in Midnight Blue, Black, and Saddle Brown.

Buy Apple Leather Sleeve for $179.00

Ipad Air 5 Amazon Discounts Take Up To $70 Off, Plus More

All of Thursday’s best deals are now headlined by Apple’s all-new iPad Air 5 from $559 at Amazon. That’s alongside official Apple AirTag Loops from $21 in both leather and silicone varieties and the Bose ANC Headphones 700 from $237. Hit the jump for all that and more in the latest 9to5Toys Lunch Break.

Apple’s all-new iPad Air 5 now up to $70 off at Amazon

Amazon is now offering Apple’s latest iPad Air 5 Wi-Fi 64GB for $559. While you’d typically pay $599, today’s offer is $10 below our previous mention and delivering the second-best price to date. You can also save $49 on the Wi-Fi + Cellular model, delivering a new all-time low for the configuration at $700 alongside the 256GB capacity at $70 off. 

Now powered by the same desktop-class architecture as other recent Apple releases, the all-new iPad Air 5 arrives with an M1 chip backed by the Neural Engine for the first time. Its 12MP Ultra Wide front camera comes backed by Center Stage support, and the 10.9-inch display rocks True Tone, P3 wide color support, and an antireflective coating. Staples from last time like Touch ID in the power button and Apple Pencil integration are onboard, as well as the option for cellular connectivity. Learn more about iPad Air 5 over in our coverage.

Save on official Apple AirTag Loops from $21

Amazon now offers the official Apple AirTag Loop in various styles starting at $21. Down from the usual $29 price tag you’d normally pay, these are the lowest prices since the very beginning of the year and the third-best discounts to date. Whether you picked up a more affordable alternative right when you first scored AirTags or have been holding out for a sizable discount on first-party accessories, today’s AirTag Loop deals finally let you bring the usual Apple quality into your everyday carry. There’s the usual polyurethane material that Apple normally uses for its accessories, as well as the unique form that helps you add an AirTag to everything from keys to a backpack, bag, and much more, as well.

For those in the market for something a bit more stylish, Amazon is also carrying the discounts over to the leather version of Apple’s AirTag Loop. This higher-end model arrives with a $25 price tag, dropping from the usual $39 going rate to the best price of the year. This, too, is one of the first discounts overall as well. Delivering much of the same actual functionality as the silicone model highlighted above, this alternative swaps in specially tanned European leather for a more premium build. Get a closer look in our launch coverage for some added insight.

Bose Headphones 700 deliver best-in-class ANC starting at $237

Amazon now offers the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 for $329 in several styles. Down from $399, you’re looking at only the second discount of the year at $70 off. Matching the 2023 low, this is also the best since back over Black Friday. Those who don’t mind going with an officially refurbished model courtesy of Bose can drop the price down to $237. 

In either case, Bose Headphones 700 deliver one of the best distraction-free listening experiences on the market with 11 levels of active noise cancellation at the center of the experience. Alongside 20-hour battery life, you’ll have the option of both Bluetooth and wired listening options to round out the package with onboard Alexa and Assistant control. Our hands-on review offers a better idea of what to expect. 

First price drops hit Samsung’s brand new T7 Shield rubberized portable SSD

After just launching yesterday (here’s our hands-on review), Amazon is now offering the first price drops on Samsung’s new T7 Shield portable Solid-State Drives. Releasing with a $160 and $290 MSRP on the 1TB and 2TB models, you can now score them for $135 and $240, respectively. Today’s deals are available in all three colorways as well.

Delivering a ridged, rubberized elastomer exterior with 9.8-foot drop protection, IP65 water resistance, and “extreme“ temperature protection, these are the first price drops on the latest portable SSDs on the market. Clocking in at up to 1,050MB/s, they deliver USB-C connectivity alongside support for USB 3.2 Gen 2 gear as well as AES 256-bit hardware encryption and optional password protection. Get a closer look in our Tested with 9to5Toys feature.

ecobee HomeKit SmartThermostats go on sale for spring

Now that spring weather is finally rolling in, Amazon is discounting the ecobee HomeKit SmartThermostat to $199. Normally fetching $249, this is the best price in months at 20% off and matches the 2023 low. ecobee SmartThermostat automates your heating or cooling setup to ensure you’re comfortable throughout spring and into summer as the temperature heats up. Replacing your existing unit, the SmartThermostat features a touchscreen display to control or monitor settings, and also arrives with HomeKit support out of the box as well as onboard access to Siri and Alexa. A bundled temperate sensor also lets you adjust settings based on hyperlocal readings. Dive into our hands-on review for a closer look.

A more affordable way to get in on the smart thermostat game falls to the ecobee3 lite. This alternative clocks in with a $149 price tag and delivers similar HomeKit support. There’s just not built-in access to Siri or Alexa, and you’ll miss out on the bundled sensor, too. Even so, it’s a pretty notable way to upgrade to a smart climate control system ahead of warmer weather. Though you will also be saving $30 in the process.

Best trade-in deals

9to5Mac also keeps tabs on all the best trade-in deals on iPhone, iPad, MacBook, Apple Watch, and more every month. Be sure to check out this month’s best trade-in deals when you decide it’s time to upgrade your device. Or simply head over to our trade-in partner directly if you want to recycle, trade, or sell your used devices for cash and support 9to5Mac along the way!

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This Ancient Mammoth Tusk Was Found At The Bottom Of The Pacific

Aboard the R/V Western Flyer on a research expedition off the coast of California in 2023, scientists from the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute were piloting remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to search for new creatures in the deep sea when they found what looked like a tusk. 

They were 185 miles off the coast, searching at depths 10,000 feet beneath sea level—finding a tusk seemed an impossibility. Randy Prickett, the senior ROV pilot who first spotted it, was sure that if they didn’t collect it they would later regret it. The crew was only able to retrieve a small fragment, but that shard confirmed that it was indeed a tusk. Preliminary research told them it was likely from a mammoth, but they couldn’t say for sure what species or time period the tusk was from. 

Steven Haddock, the marine biologist who led the 2023 survey, became intent on untangling the mystery. In July, 2023, Haddock assembled another team to recover the rest of the tusk. They retrieved the entire 3-foot object. Back on shore, the team confirmed that it belonged to an extinct Columbian mammoth, Mammuthus columbi.

Radioisotope analysis also shows it is likely more than 100,000 years old, though the findings are not yet peer-reviewed.

“You start to ‘expect the unexpected’ when exploring the deep sea, but I’m still stunned that we came upon the ancient tusk of a mammoth,” said Haddock in a Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute statement.

“As it dawned on us that this was actually a mammoth, my head began to spin imagining how it came to rest atop this remote seamount,” Haddock told Gizmodo. “It is still hard for me to believe how it sat there for millennia without being destroyed or buried before we stumbled across it.”

[Related: Researchers retraced a woolly mammoth’s steps 17,000 years after it died]

Finding mammoth tusks more than 100,000 years old is extremely rare. Tusks are typically found deep underground or in the permafrost of the Arctic. The cold, high-pressure environment of the ocean floor is probably why this tusk was so well preserved.

“Our age estimate on the tusk is largely based on the natural radioactive decay of certain uranium and thorium isotopes imparted to the tusk from the ocean,” University of California, Santa Cruz geochronologist Terrence Blackburn said in a statement. “If the tusk had been found on land, deciphering its history would not be as straightforward.”

The next step is for paleontologists, geneticists, oceanographers, and geochronologists to analyze the tusk from all angles. They’ll extract and sequence DNA, perhaps revealing more about mammoth lineages and evolution from this time period. They’ll conduct CT scans to create 3-dimensional models and determine the tusk’s internal structure. And they’ll study the mineral crust surrounding the tusk to further understand where this mammoth came from and how it got to the bottom of the ocean. 

The team thinks this tusk might be the oldest well-preserved mammoth tusk recovered from this region of North America, though further study will need to confirm their hunch. Evolutionary biologists know that Columbian mammoths were the product of two other types of mammoths that mated in North America, but they have yet to figure out exactly how or when this happened. This tusk “could really help clarify the timing of this hybridization event,” Pete Heintzman, an evolutionary biologist at the Arctic University Museum of Norway, told The New York Times. 

More paleontological wonders may be resting at the bottom of the ocean. “It is still hard for me to believe how it sat there for millennia,” Haddock told Gizmodo, “without being destroyed or buried before we stumbled across it.”

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