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Mammoth tusk goes on display in March

A well-preserved juvenile mammoth tusk has been hailed an amazingly rare find by palaeontologists, after it was discovered in a Cambridgeshire quarry.

The tusk, measuring between 2.5 and three feet long, was unearthed by workers at a site near Peterborough, in February last year.

Palaeontologist Jamie Jordan, who was called in to identify and preserve the tusk, said it is around 30,000 years old and is in incredibly good condition.

Jamie Jordan with the mammoth tusk. (62472543)
Jamie Jordan with the mammoth tusk. (62472543)

"It’s definitely one of the best-preserved specimens of its kind in the area," said Jamie, who runs his own museum and educational centre, Fossils Galore, in March.

"We often find with juvenile examples that because a lot of layers of the tusk are still thin, there is more decay, they don’t survive so well, but that’s not the case with this one.

"It’s amazing. Definitely not something we tend to see preserved this well in this area.

"You expect that kind of thing from the North Sea area or Siberia, but not coming out of the gravel quarries of the Fens."

Another tusk, believed to have belonged to the same mammoth was also found on the site but was not in such good condition.

Jamie believes the mammoth they came from was seven or eight years old and would have been a few metres long, and about two metres tall. It would have lived on the tundra in the local area, towards the end of the Ice Age.

Jamie believes the excellent preservation of the tusk is due to the quarry’s make up.

He added: "The bottom of the quarry is a silt bed – it’s an anaerobic layer, full of things like bivalves and other ecological creatures and plant matter, which would have mulched down. The whole thing would have been very airtight and therefore preserved the tusk."

Now it has been cleaned up, the tusk will be on display at Fossils Galore this week, before returning to the quarry where it was found for display.

In 2017 Jamie was 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.

For more information about Fossils Galore and its work visit www.fossilsgalore.com

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