Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Five-year-old discovers Ice Age woolly rhino at first fossil hunt

A five-year-old girl has unearthed the vertebra of an Ice Age woolly rhinoceros during a fossil hunt with her family.

Emelia Fawbert found the remains of the animal that roamed the area 50,000 years ago at the Cotswold Water Park near Cirencester, Gloucestershire.

Emelia dug up the 16-inch long bone on her first excavation with help from her father James, 33.

She was among a group of fossil hunters searching a freshly-excavated gravel pit at the park on October 26.

The atlas vertebra, which once supported the head of the fearsome creature, was poking up through the clay which had been exposed by gravel excavations.

Emelia and her father used a trowel to prise the specimen from the mud and it has now been sealed in a special protective covering before being donated to a museum.

It was the finest of numerous fossils unearthed during the hunt, which also included the leg bone and vertebra from an Ice Age deer and the remains of squid-like creatures from the Jurassic period, some 150 million years ago.

Emilia's grandfather Geoffrey Fawbert, 61 said of her find: 'It looked impressive but none of us had a clue what it was until the experts told us.'

Emilia hopes to become a paleontologist when she grows older.
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