Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Prehistoric rhino tooth found on Isle of Wight beach

Ronzotherium tooth fossil Image copyright Dinosaur Isle
Image caption The tooth was found on a stretch of coast where turtle, crocodile and fish fossils are commonly found

A teenager has discovered a tooth from a prehistoric rhinoceros, which lived 35 million years ago, on a beach on the Isle of Wight.

Theo Vickers, 18, found the tooth of the Ronzotherium on the island's north coast, between Yarmouth and Hamstead.

The Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown said it was one of "just a handful" of such specimens from the UK.

Mr Vickers, who goes fossil hunting regularly, has donated his find to the museum where it will be displayed.

'Incredibly lucky' find

The area, where the fossil was found, was once a sub-tropical swampy floodplain.

The museum said it was common to find turtle, fish and crocodile fossils on that stretch of coast.

Curator Dr Martin Munt said it was a rare find because the UK was on the edge of the creature's geographical range, 38 to 35 million years ago.

Mr Vickers is preparing to study marine biology and oceanography at university in September.

He said: "I was incredibly lucky to find it as only a few mammal species are found there regularly, let alone a species as rare as this - and I was more than happy to donate it to the museum, to add to our knowledge about the diversity of animals that lived here during that time in the island's past.

"It's strange to think that such an iconic animal that people would usually associate with the African savannah, was actually evolving here, on the Isle of Wight, 35 million years ago."

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