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Hunter gives away 1,000 fossils

23 April 09 11:31 GMT

An Isle of Wight fossil collector whose hunting days are over has decided to hand over his collection of more then 1,000 artefacts to his local museum.

Andy Yule, 61, from Cowes, has spent 39 years scouring the island unearthing treasures but ill health has forced him to hang up his tools.

Instead of making money by selling his collection he has handed them over to the island's museum.

He said as the fossils came from the island it was right they stayed there.

"It is a lovely thing to be down here collecting, you can't beat it," Mr Yule said.

'Left their shadows'

"I just like to be down on the beach and cracking open something and knowing no-one else has seen it before.

"It is like they have left their shadows here for us to see."

His collection includes crocodiles, turtles and spiders, including a previously unknown group of extinct spiders which has been named after Mr Yule - Vectaraneus Yulei.

Mr Yule added: "I gave them all away because I don't like the idea of selling fossils.

"It is not a religious thing, I am not religious, but fossils come from here like I do.

"My parents brought me up to believe that selling stuff like that was wrong I suppose.

"I'd rather give it away, it's ours."

The collection is thought to be worth less than £1,000.

Steve Hutt, curator at the Dinosaur Isle Museum, said: "I am really delighted that he has given this wonderful treasure to us.

"Many of the pieces are small and fragmented, but it does not take away the importance of them as a record.

"Where else is it going to come from except from a dedicated collector."

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