Mammoth mystery of the tusks found on sea shore at Herne Bay
The suspected mammoth
tusks found on the beach
Huge tusks discovered on the sea shore at Herne Bay were thought
to have belonged to a mammoth – but experts have now cast doubts
over the claim.
They were handed into Canterbury City Council last week, but
have yet to be formally identified.
If proved to be authentic, they could take pride of place in
However, experts say the tusks may belong to an elephant.
Director of Canterbury Archaeological Trust Paul Bennett said:
“It is remarkable how intact they are. You would normally find
“To find a pair like that is incredibly unusual, so I am
"I would be really interested to hear what a palaeontologist
makes of them. They are a whopping great size so they have
obviously come from a substantial animal, even if they are
Herne Bay has changed a
bit since the days of the mammoths
“If they are from a mammoth they are very special and a true
Joe Bauwens, of Central Parade, Herne Bay, studied palaeobiology
and evolution at the University of Portsmouth and geosciences with
the Open University.
Now a mature student at Canterbury Christ Church University
studying ecology and conservation, he said: “It’s possible, but
"Mammoth tusks are quite heavy and don’t tend to just wash
"You would normally find fragments.
To find a pair like that is incredibly unusual, so I am suspicious
" – Archaeology expert Paul Bennett
"If they died near
the shore, they tended to be buried deep. These things do not sit
on the surface for 10,000 years.
“They could well be modern and have been dumped over the side of
a ship somewhere.”
Mammoth finds are relatively common in southern England, where
they used to migrate to and from the continent during the Ice
The city council has refused to divulge exactly where the tusks
were found, fearing fossil hunters will flock there.
Council spokesman Robert Davies said: “The two tusks were found
offshore in Herne Bay on an exceptionally low tide.
“Formal identification of them has yet to take place and no
decision has been taken yet about what happens next.
"One option could be to display them at Herne Bay museum, but we
need to establish how we would do that and the costs involved of
“It has not been long since their discovery and we will be in a
position to provide more information in the weeks to come.”
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