Page last updated at 09:50 GMT, Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Ice-Age rhinoceros remains found

Beasts, BBC
Woolly rhino roamed the area about 50,000 years ago

The remains of an Ice Age rhinoceros have been unearthed by a five-year-old girl at a Gloucestershire water park.

Emelia Fawbert found the fossilised carcass at the Cotswold Water Park near Cirencester during a fossil hunt.

Emelia and her father James, 33, from Bussage, near Stroud, dug up the atlas vertebra of the woolly rhino which roamed the area about 50,000 years ago.

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

'Protective covering'

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

The pair used a trowel to dig the bone from the mud. It has now been sealed in a special protective covering before being donated to a museum.

The hunt, involving 75 people, also unearthed the leg bone and vertebra from an Ice Age deer and belemnites, the remains of squid-like creatures from the Jurassic period, some 150m years ago.

Emelia, who wants to become a palaeontologist, had joined the fossil hunt for the first time.

It was organised by the Cotswold Water Park Society and led by Swindon palaeontologist Dr Neville Hollingworth who also found the remains of a woolly rhinoceros in a gravel pit near Swindon in 2004.

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