Student speechless after finding mammoth tooth as big as a human hand
- Credit: Supplied by Jack Norton
"Overwhelmed and speechless" was how a 19-year-old palaeontology student was feeling after finding a mammoth tooth as big as an adult human hand.
Jack Norton described the object he came across on Trimingham beach as "a once in a lifetime find".
Mr Norton, who is from Hellesdon and studies at the University of Portsmouth, said of the discover on August 5: "We walked from Mundesley to Trimingham without finding much.
"About a mile or two into the Trimingham coastline, in the foreshore, I spotted the root behind some stones in a rock pool.
"I removed the stones and discovered the very large mammoth tooth. I was overwhelmed with excitement and absolutely speechless."
Mr Norton said he knew the tooth was a molar thanks to his palaeontological studies. The tooth is 15.5cm at longest point, 16cm in height and 8cm in width.
He added: "Because of my studies and my hobbies, fossil hunting is regular for me, but this is a once in a lifetime find."
The north Norfolk coastline is rich in fossils and others prehistoric remains, a legacy that has prompted a Deep History Coast campaign by North Norfolk District Council.
The most famous discovery in the area remains that of the West Runton Mammoth, a fossilized skeleton of a steppe mammoth found in 1990.
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Steppe mammoths were an early mammoth species and were larger and less hairy than the later woolly mammoths, which had mostly died out by 10,000 years ago, around the time of the last ice age. Steppe mammoths lived between 1.8 million-200,000 years ago.
The remains of both species, as well as a third, the Southern mammoth, are regularly found along the north Norfolk coast.
Other items that can be discovered there by fossil hunters include: belemnites, which are bullet-shaped fossils from a squid-like animal that are more than 70 million years-old; freshwater mussel shells and deer antler fragments, which can be more than 5000,000 years old; and even traces of early humans including flint hand axes.
For more information about fossil hunting on the coast, see www.visitnorthnorfolk.com.