Elephant fossil dating back 100,000 years has been found on Isle of Wight


Irish Examiner

Date Published

See link for images

A fossil from an extinct species of elephant dating back 100,000 years has been discovered on the Isle of Wight.

The shoulder bone of the Palaeoloxodon antiquus – which had straight tusks – was found protruding from the sand on the west coast of the island in March this year by local resident Paul Hollingshead.

It is thought the bone, which has gone on display at the Dinosaur Isle museum in Sandown, is about 100,000 years old and dates from the Ipswichian period.

Hollingshead said: “I wasn’t actually looking for fossils at the time the find was made.

“I remember it was a big five-metre tide, so I knew the water would go out a long way, when I saw what looked like a bit of bone showing from the sand.

“I stopped and realised it was a bit bigger, so I started clearing all of the sand and stones away from it.

Paul Hollingshead with his son Shay and daughter Lily (Dinosaur Isle/Isle of Wight Council)

“I was shocked how big it was and spent around two and a half-hours digging it out. I was hoping it was a dinosaur bone, so was quite shocked to find out it was from an elephant.”

Alex Peaker, from Dinosaur Isle, said: “You don’t really associate elephants with the Isle of Wight but this find shows they did roam the island many years ago.

“Although the bone was found in March, it took us several months of conservation work to preserve it to ensure it can go on display, which it now is.

“We want to thank Paul again for his discovery and his generosity in donating the bone to the museum.”