Fossil hunter discovers mammoth remains

According to &to=' target=_blank>THE TIMES OF INDIA an unusually well-preserved skull of an Ice Age mammal estimated to be 50,000 years old has been discovered in a gravel pit in southern England, an official said. The skull was found on January 11 in a pit in the Cotswold Water Park by Neville Hollingworth, a paleontologist who works at the Natural Environment Research Council in Swindon.

&to=' target=_blank>THE SUN reports that Fossil hunter Dr Neville Hollingworth was on a Sunday stroll when he spotted part of its huge skull sticking out of the ground.

The scientist was amazed when he realised what it was and he and a pal spent seven hours digging it out. He said: "We were gobsmacked. It is a spectacular thing. It needed four of us to carry it away." A team is now searching for more bones from the beast - a female aged between 25 and 40. Britain’s other woolly mammoth was found in Ilford, Essex, in the 19th century.

Global warming and hunting made them extinct 11,000 years ago. Dr Hollingworth, who works for the Natural Environment Research Council in Swindon, said: "This find should teach us a lot about the lifestyle of mammoths."

"The skull is exquisite. It is very finely preserved and almost looks like modern bone," said Hollingworth, calling it his best find in 20 years of collecting fossils. Hollingworth was digging at the gravel pit with his colleague, Mark O'Dell, when the surprising discovery was made.

"A few fragments of Ice Age mammal bones had been found at the pit recently, so a lot of digging was going on there, but we didn't expect to find anything like this. It is quite amazing," he said on Tuesday.

"I saw a small piece of bone sticking out at the side of this clay face which had gravel in it. I started to dig and it got bigger and bigger," Hollingworth said.

Adrian Lister, an expert on mammoths from University College London, carried out a preliminary analysis of the 80-100 kilogram skull. The tusks were missing, and Hollingworth plans to look for them in the quarry, which is currently flooded with rainwater.

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