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A UK resident is working ‘tooth and nail’ to uncover the location of a quarry where a prehistoric hippo tooth was discovered.
A UK resident is working ‘tooth and nail’ to uncover the location of a quarry where a prehistoric hippo tooth was discovered.

Further digging needed for fossil location

Mystery surrounds the original location of a prized fossilised hippo tooth that was purportedly discovered in a UK quarry in 1958.

Susan Symmonds, 53, from Stockton, is prepared to work tooth and nail to track down the treasure that was dispatched to the Natural History Museum in London by the borough’s librarian and curator, along with a letter, describing the location as “a quarry some four miles [six kilometres) north-west of Stockton”.

Professor Danielle Schreve, Centre for Quarternary Science, Royal Holloway, University of London
"The Stockton hippo is the most northerly record ever. There are no fossil records of hippos from similar latitudes in Scandinavia and further east …”
Professor Danielle Schreve, Centre for Quarternary Science, Royal Holloway, University of London

Symmond’s interest in the hippo affair was piqued when she heard the light-hearted story of the missing hippo tooth while listening to a podcast featuring academic Professor Danielle Schreve, of the Centre for Quarternary Science, Royal Holloway, University of London.

“Professor Schreve has been so helpful and has contacted lots of people to try to find the whereabouts of the tooth, without any luck,” said Susan in an interview with Gazette Live.

“However, she also said it would be very unusual for there to be just a tooth and no other remains, and that she and retired professor Jim Rose would be interested in doing another dig!”

Symmonds is ready to literally dig deep for any further fossil evidence of the hippo in a bid to put Stockton on the world map.

“I’m passionate about Stockton. I’ve lived here for nearly 50 years and worked here for more than 30 years. I’m not giving up, no way!” Symmonds said.

“The Stockton hippo is the most northerly record ever. There are no fossil records of hippos from similar latitudes in Scandinavia and further east,” Professor Danielle Schreve was quoted as saying.

But Symmonds and the good professors are in a quandary over the exact location of the quarry. Before digging deep, they need to delve into literature and find the precise location.

Symmonds has narrowed the search to the village Thorpe Thewles, and historical maps indicate that there were three gravel pits in the vicinity.

She needs more than a hand, though, to resolve the historical puzzle, dating back 125,000 years when hippos are deemed to have also roamed the area.

More reading
200 million-year-old species found in quarry
Routine factory visit digs up dinosaur bones
Fossil quarry may hold key to dinosaur mystery
Quarry discovery named after Harry Potter spell
Quarry reels in quite a catch

 




















Wednesday, 18 July, 2018 10:39am
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