Hippos and elephants in Honiton!
Possibly an elephant tusk, this specimen is one of a collection of bones – including elephant, hippopotamus and deer – found during the construction of the Honiton bypass in 1965. Believe it or not, at no more than 135 thousand years old, these bones are the youngest fossils in our collection! The oldest is a staggering 400 million years old.
The Honiton bones date back to a warm period in the last Ice Age called the Ipswichian interglacial when Southern England had a climate similar to Africa today. The Ice Age was not a single glacial event; it consisted of several very cold periods when ice sheets extended over most of the UK, interspersed with warm periods that were in fact warmer than today. The Ipswichian interglacial is the second from last warm period and roughly dates back to between about 135 and 110 thousand years ago.
Find out more on the mammals pages.