A fossil from a now-extinct species of elephant has gone on display at Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown following its discovery in 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.
He took it into the museum for identification and donated the fossil for visitors to enjoy. It is thought the bone is around 100,000 years old and dates from the Ipswhichian period.
Paul 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. 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 added: “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.”
More information about the discovery can be found at www.facebook.com/dinosaurisle.
Notes to Editors:
An image of Paul with his son Shay and daughter Lily and the elephant bone Paul discovered is attached. Please credit IW Council and Dinosaur Isle if you use this image.
Simon Butler, Media Relations Officer
Tel: 01983 821000 ext 6254
Mob: 07976 347636