Tech UPTechnologyThey discover an incredible treasure trove of Ice Age...

They discover an incredible treasure trove of Ice Age fossils

An impressive find! A treasure trove of Ice Age megafauna has been discovered during pre-construction inspections at Sherford New Town, a 5,500-home community being developed on the outskirts of Plymouth , England.

Finds at Sherford include a woolly mammoth, rhinoceros, wolf and partial remains of hyena, horse, reindeer, mountain hare and red fox, and are estimated to date from the last Ice Age, around 30,000-60,000 years ago in the Middle Devensian period. All the fossils have been described as “rare and of national importance” and carefully recovered by a specialized team for analysis.

“Finding a previously unknown cave system is a truly special discovery. T he fossil bones and teeth not only allow us to reconstruct what conditions were like in the past: a cool, open prairie patrolled by huge herds of grazing animals and in which hunted by Neanderthals and then modern humans, but also knowledge of how species responded to rapid climate change by shifting their range, evolving or becoming extinct can help us make better conservation decisions today,” explains Danielle Schreve, Head of the Department of Geography and Fellow of the Quaternary Research Center at Royal Holloway.

The bones are now undergoing academic analysis , but are expected to be handed over to the care of the new Plymouth museum.

Finding such a variety of fossils intact for so long is extraordinary, as is the presence of individual complete or semi-complete animals. According to the researchers, this discovery will provide new insights into Britain’s Ice Age ecosystems and the food chains that supported them .

The fact that so many different species were found in the same place could be because the creatures fell into a hole and couldn’t escape, and the carnivores might have gotten stuck in this spot while trying to pick up the remains of the herbivores.

 

 

Reference: ROYAL HOLLOWAY, University of London

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