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Woman discovers two-million-year-old mammoth bone on beach

PUBLISHED: 13:04 28 January 2020 | UPDATED: 20:16 28 January 2020

Michelle Smith (pictured), of Edgefield, stumbled across a two-million-year-old mammoth pelvis on West Runton. Picture: DOUG STUART PHOTOGRAPHER

Michelle Smith (pictured), of Edgefield, stumbled across a two-million-year-old mammoth pelvis on West Runton. Picture: DOUG STUART PHOTOGRAPHER

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A woman dubbed the 'dragon scale discoverer' has struck gold twice after stumbling across a two-million-year-old mammoth pelvis on a north Norfolk beach.

Michelle Smith, of Edgefield, stumbled across a two-million-year-old mammoth pelvis on West Runton. Picture: DOUG STUART PHOTOGRAPHERMichelle Smith, of Edgefield, stumbled across a two-million-year-old mammoth pelvis on West Runton. Picture: DOUG STUART PHOTOGRAPHER

Michelle Smith, of Rectory Road, Edgefield, hit the headlines recently after sharing her unique find from Sidestrand beach, near Cromer - a starfish in flint with the appearance of a mythical dragon's scale .

But at the weekend, the hobbyist fossil hunter discovered half of a mammoth pelvis buried in crag on West Runton beach.

The 49-year-old, who took up the activity to help recover from injury and depression after she was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, made the discovery on Sunday, January 26.

It is the second time she has found something belonging to a mammoth there. Previously she has spotted a tusk.

Michelle Smith, of Edgefield, stumbled across a two-million-year-old mammoth pelvis on West Runton. Picture: DOUG STUART PHOTOGRAPHERMichelle Smith, of Edgefield, stumbled across a two-million-year-old mammoth pelvis on West Runton. Picture: DOUG STUART PHOTOGRAPHER

She said: "I had just gone out for a stroll with my 10-year-old son, Marshall, and ended up at West Runton. I was just on auto pilot. But this time I knew it was a big bone and I was excited.

"I went into shock, complete disbelief that this was happening, and I am only just about out of a dream state as I really felt a bit queasy."

The area is already famed for similar finds, including Europe's most complete steppe mammoth skeleton ever discovered.

In December 1990, Margaret Hems and her husband Harold uncovered a large 700,000-year-old pelvic bone protruding from the bottom of the cliffs.

Michelle Smith, of Edgefield, stumbled across a two-million-year-old mammoth pelvis on West Runton. Picture: DOUG STUART PHOTOGRAPHERMichelle Smith, of Edgefield, stumbled across a two-million-year-old mammoth pelvis on West Runton. Picture: DOUG STUART PHOTOGRAPHER

READ MORE: Mammoth tibia found at West Runton beach.

More bones were discovered in 1991 and in 1995 a three-month excavation found 85pc of the beast's skeleton - making it the most complete example of its species ever found in the world.

Michelle Smith, of Edgefield, stumbled across a two-million-year-old mammoth pelvis on West Runton. Picture: DOUG STUART PHOTOGRAPHERMichelle Smith, of Edgefield, stumbled across a two-million-year-old mammoth pelvis on West Runton. Picture: DOUG STUART PHOTOGRAPHER

Professor Anthony J. Stuart, of the University of Durham, worked on that project and has helped Ms Smith. His son Doug, a professional photographer, also joined in and together, with a team made up of holiday makers from Yorkshire (Howard and Janet, and their daughter, geology student Catherine), they excavated the object.

Local geologist Martin Warren has also recorded the find and taken samples from the site for further investigation.

There is the possibility that the find may be an older species of mammoth known as a southern mammoth.

Ms Smith added: "Louise of the Seaview Cafe also aided me with calling all the associated people to assist on day two, and for moral support. People in the village also offered us food and drinks.

An artist's impression of the southern mammoth (Mammuthus meridionalis). Image: PUBLIC DOMAINAn artist's impression of the southern mammoth (Mammuthus meridionalis). Image: PUBLIC DOMAIN

"We now start the massive job of cleaning and restoring."

· Ms Smith is planning to display photos of the excavation at the Rocky-Fossil Road Show on February 29, from 11am, at St George's Roman Catholic Church Hall on Sprowston Road, Norwich.

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