Researchers Uncover Ancient Ice-Age Fossils


| LAST UPDATE 02/13/2022

By Veronica Anderson
Woolly Mammoth Fossils Discovered
Aunt_Spray via Getty Images

Earlier this month, bones belonging to a woolly rhinoceros, woolly mammoth, hyena, and wolf were discovered in Sherford - a new village built in Devon, England. After surprisingly discovering these ancient bones, it was understood the bones date back to the last Ice Age. The newly developed town of Sherford is "set to become one of the region's most vibrant and thriving communities," according to the official Sherfords website, so excavating ancient bones has been a significant attraction for the town. Here's what we know so far.

Victoria Herridge, an expert in fossil elephants, told The Natural History Museum newsroom, "Devon then would have been a bitterly cold and dry place to be, even in the summer," giving readers more of an understanding of the climate during the last Ice Age. The last Ice Age is dated back to 30,000 to 60,000 years ago.

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Upon their search, the archaeological team discovered a wide variety of ancient fossils. They found bones belonging to a woolly mammoth, parts of a skull, and lower jaw belonging to a woolly rhinoceros. They also uncovered an almost-complete wolf skeleton, a molar tooth, tusk and other bones from a woolly mammoth, as well as partial remains of a horse, red fox, mountain hare, reindeer, hyena, and other small mammal bones. The dedicated team is unsure if the bones found existed during the same period or from different points during the most recent Ice Age. Another existing theory is that the animals died someplace else and landed in Devon as time went on. The excavation is complete, and the bones are now being further investigated and analyzed in an off-site space.

Ancient Fossils Ice Age
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Rob Bourn, the lead archaeologist on the project, commented, "To find such an array of artifacts untouched for so long is a rare and special occurrence. Equally rare is the presence of complete or semi-complete individual animals." Once the academic analysis of the bones is completed, the ancient fossils will be returned to Devon and preserved in a museum near where they were discovered. Until then, stay tuned.

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