Rare woolly mammoth skull found in Fenland

Jamie Jordan at Fossils Galore, March taking a closer look at the Wooly Rhinoceros Skull ANL-141030-154221009
Jamie Jordan at Fossils Galore, March taking a closer look at the Wooly Rhinoceros Skull ANL-141030-154221009

A rare woolly rhinoceros skull dating back to the ice age has been uncovered in Fenland.

Fossils Galore owner Jamie Jordan says the discovery of the remains of the animal highlights the importance of the Fenland area.

Mr Jordan said he “could not believe his eyes” when he first saw the skull after being called out to an excavation site on farmland on Tuesday last week.

Woolly rhinos were massive animals which roamed across Europe, Asia and North Africa but became extinct after the last ice age.

An expert from the National History Museum said the skull has been very well preserved.

Mr Jordan said: “Woolly rhinos are rarer than a woolly mammoth.

“I could not believe my eyes when I first saw it. This is only the second time I have seen something like this.

“It is very unique as there were not many of them.

“ For every 100 bones found maybe one or two would be from a woolly rhino.”

Woolly rhinos were large animals which had two horns and were covered in thick fur.

A complete skeleton was discovered at a quarry at Whitemoor Haye, in Staffordshire, in 2002.

Woolly rhino remains have been found across Eurasia from the UK in the west to Chukotka and Kamchatka in the Russian far east.

The skull, which measures 1m long and dates back to 250,000 years ago, was uncovered by a worker, who called in Mr Jordan.

The skull is believed to have belonged to a juvenille rhino which was close to becoming fully grown.

Mr Jordan has taken the skull back to his museum, in High Street, March, for preservation and further study.

He said: “The skull is very impressive.

“We live in a very important area and it astounds me that even now this sort of find is being uncovered.

“We take for granted that the Fenland area is a very unique place.

“From evidence like this skull, we are building up the picture of what animals roamed around Fenland.

“There would have been a huge variety of animals hippopotamus, wolves, cave bears, buffaloes, Ice Age reindeer and lots more.”

But it is not the only exciting find to have been uncovered in Fenland.

In August, a digger driver at a quarry discovered a bone which belonged to a woolly mammoth.

The bone, which is about 1.5ft long, was well preserved in a silt bed.

It had belonged to a juvenile mammoth.

Mr Jordan was also called in to collect and care for the bone, which is also on show at the museum.

He is hoping more bones will be uncovered and to learn which species the mammoth belonged to.

Mammoths roamed the earth during the last ice age and may have been killed off when the planet warmed up.