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West Runton Elephant

Introduction

The story begins on 13 December 1990 when, following a stormy night, local residents Harold and Margaret Hems took a walk on the beach. They found a large bone partly exposed at the bottom of the cliffs, and contacted Norfolk Museums Service. It was identified as a pelvic bone of a large elephant. Just over a year later after another storm, several more huge bones were uncovered. This was obviously a find of major significance, and in January 1992 the first exploratory excavation took place. Once the results of this had been evaluated, a second major 3 month excavation followed in 1995.

 

What had been uncovered was an example of the largest species of elephant that has ever lived, and the largest animal ever to have lived on land except for the very biggest dinosaurs. Standing four metres high at its shoulder, it would have weighed about ten tons – twice the weight of any male African elephant you would find today. It is the largest elephant skeleton ever found and is the oldest elephant skeleton to have been found in the UK (some individual bones or teeth from elsewhere are older, but none make even a partial skeleton). The West Runton Elephant skeleton is also the best example of this species ever to have been found. Previously the best were two partial skeletons, one in Germany and the other in Russia, both only about 10-15% complete. The WRE skeleton is about 85% complete.

Comments

Posted:2009 6 9 11:49:46 GMT
that is cool
me b
Posted:2010 3 26 17:05:43 GMT
that is sooooooooooooo amazing
Millie Collier Oundle
Posted:2017 6 7 12:49:57 GMT
itActual location of excavation
We are staying at Laburnum Caravan Park which is the 5 minutes walk from the beach with the slipway and the cafe with an extensive history of the elephant excavation. Could anyone tell us the exact location and is it possible to see it?
douglas.flint3@btinternet.com Laburnum Park
Posted:2017 7 22 12:30:25 GMT
West Runton Elephant
If you go down to the seafront at West Runton, past the cafe on the right, go to the bottom of the slope, take a right, then just past the concrete sea defenses the bottom of the cliff looks black and that is where the river bed was in prehistoric times and that is where the West Runton elephant was excavated, there is a small piece of it in Cromer Museum but the bulk of it is in store at Gressenhall farm and workhouse.
Cromer Museum Cromer

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Page from an Online Exhibition or Theme

West Runton Elephant part 1. The Background.

This page is part of the Narrative Theme(s): Coastal Environment

This page is part of the Online Exhibition(s): West Runton Elephant

Page from an Online Exhibition or Theme

West Runton Elephant part 2. 1990 Excavations.

This page is part of the Narrative Theme(s): Coastal Environment

This page is part of the Online Exhibition(s): West Runton Elephant

Page from an Online Exhibition or Theme

West Runton Elephant part 3. 1992 Excavations.

This page is part of the Narrative Theme(s): Coastal Environment

This page is part of the Online Exhibition(s): West Runton Elephant

Page from an Online Exhibition or Theme

West Runton Elephant part 4. 1995 Excavations.

This page is part of the Narrative Theme(s): Coastal Environment

This page is part of the Online Exhibition(s): West Runton Elephant

Page from an Online Exhibition or Theme

West Runton Elephant part 5. What Happened Next.

This page is part of the Narrative Theme(s): Coastal Environment

This page is part of the Online Exhibition(s): West Runton Elephant