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Ice Age walrus skull fossil uncovered at Reighton Sands

A rare fossilised walrus skull dating back to the last Ice Age has been discovered on the beach at our very own Reighton Sands Holiday Park in Yorkshire!

Of course, we have donated the fossil to the Rotunda Museum, which will be revealed for the first time as the centrepiece of the new exhibition, ‘Ancient Seas of the Yorkshire Coast’, on Saturday 21st July.

The incredible find has been verified by the Collections team at Scarborough Museums Trust as dating back to the Pleistocene period, making it at least 120,000 years old.

What the walrus would have looked like. Artist: Mark Witton

Doggerland

The fossilised walrus skull is believed to be the first of its kind found in situ and was uncovered within the cliffs at Haven’s Reighton Sands beach, between Filey and Scarborough. The walrus originates from Doggerland – an area of landmass which once connected the UK to mainland Europe, stretching between Scotland and the Netherlands.

Doggerland was submerged by rising sea levels around 6,500 BC and lies beneath the North Sea, though it was once a rich home to humans and mammals, including the North Sea walrus. Many finds from Doggerland tend to be uncovered through dredging, so the discovery of a find in context opens up a range of opportunities for scientists across Europe to find out where the walrus was living during the Pleistocene.

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Scarborough Museum Trust

Jennifer Dunne, Collections Manager for Scarborough Museum Trust says

 “We’re thrilled that this incredible find has been donated by Haven and to hold this rare and hugely significant artefact at the Rotunda. There is still a great deal to learn about walrus from the North Sea during the Pleistocene period so this fossil holds great potential for unlocking more secrets about these creatures that were once found on Doggerland and the prehistoric coastlines of Europe.”

Nick Cook, General Manager at Haven’s Reighton Sands Holiday Park says

“As a coastal holiday company, we pride ourselves on being a place where families can get back to nature and explore the captivating Great British coast. The historic Yorkshire coast has proven to be no exception and we are really proud to be able to gift this fascinating find to the Rotunda Museum in Scarborough.”

Ancient Seas of the Yorkshire Coast

If you’re heading to one of our Yorkshire parks this summer, make sure you go and check it out.

Ancient Seas of the Yorkshire Coast: A story through time from Whitby to Flamborough Head runs from 21 July 2018 onwards. Family Fun Day Sat 21 July, 10am-5pm, free. Usual opening times: Tue – Sun 10am – 5pm and Bank Holiday Mondays, 10am-5pm, Free with £3 annual pass for Scarborough Museums Trust. Under 18s are free. For more information visit www.scarboroughmuseumstrust.com

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