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100,000-year-old elephant fossil found on Isle of Wight

Paul Hollingshead found the 100,000 year old elephant fossil on the Isle of Wight. Credit: Dinosaur Isle/Isle of Wight Council/PA Wire

A fossil, believed to be 100,000 years old, and from an extinct species of elephant which had straight tusks has been discovered on the Isle of Wight.

The shoulder bone of the 'Palaeoloxodon antiquus' was found protruding from the sand on the west coast of the island in March this year by resident Paul Hollingshead.

I wasn't actually looking for fossils at the time the find was made.

I remember it was a big five-metre tide, so I knew the water would go out a long way, when I saw what looked like a bit of bone showing from the sand.

I stopped and realised it was a bit bigger, so I started clearing all of the sand and stones away from it. I was shocked how big it was and spent around two and a half-hours digging it out.

I was hoping it was a dinosaur bone, so was quite shocked to find out it was from an elephant.

– Paul Hollingshead

It is thought the bone, which has gone on display at the Dinosaur Isle museum in Sandown, dates from the Ipswichian period.

Alex Peaker, from Dinosaur Isle musuem, said: "You don't really associate elephants with the Isle of Wight but this find shows they did roam the island many years ago.

"Although the bone was found in March, it took us several months of conservation work to preserve it to ensure it can go on display, which it now is."