Complete prehistoric buffalo skull found in Cambridgeshire quarry by Jamie from Fossils Galore in March
Fossil hunters have uncovered a rare near complete prehistoric buffalo skull - believed to date back 150,000 years - in a Cambridgeshire quarry.
The ancient remains were found by palaeontologist Jamie Jordan during a routine visit to a gravel extraction site, which he has been studying for more than a decade.
The 29-year-old year old has found hundreds of buffalo bones there over the years – but never a complete skull, making his latest find quite an unusual one.
“As we were going through the quarry we saw some splintered pieces of bone on top of the surface, and I thought to myself, that’s a bit strange,” said Jamie.
“I had a closer look and it turned out to be a horn cone from a buffalo. We started going a bit further and there were splinters of bone going into the ground.
“We removed the loose horn core and there was still a large bone underneath, so we excavated a bit further to see where it was leading and that’s where we came across the rest of the skull of an ice-age buffalo.
“Even though we can see it’s been crushed, it’s complete with the jaws and everything – we’ve found them before, but not both halves together, which makes this one quite unusual.
“I’ve never seen one which has been so well preserved before either – it’s quite a find.” Because of its size and weight – complete with horns the skull weighs around 20-25kg."
Jamie says this specimen belonged to an adult male. He also believes some previous finds from the site are from the same skeleton and he now plans to excavate further to see if he can find more of the creature’s remains.
Although the skull is in several pieces, once it has been cleaned and dried out Jamie says it will fit together again perfectly.
“This buffalo would have been considerably bigger than those we are used to seeing over in the United States today,” he added, “It would easily have been twice the size - essentially it was a giant cow. By the looks of how we found it, it was lying upside down, which again is quite unusual.
“From what we can tell, the area where it was uncovered looks a very swampy one. Both hippo and bison bones have been found there and over the years we’ve found hundreds of buffalo bones.
“I believe it might possibly be a watering hole for a herd of buffalo, so I would like to use this skull to try to find out what happened; how and why all these buffalo accumulated in this area.”
Once prepared the skull will go on public display at Jamie’s Fossils Galore, in March along with his numerous other finds, which include woolly mammoth and rhino relics.
In 2017 Jamie was also part of the team which discovered a rare 132-million-year-old Iguanodon skeleton in a Surrey brick quarry, which he is still excavating in readiness for public display.