AN AVID teenage fossil hunter has discovered a tooth from a rare prehistoric rhinoceros which lived 38 to 35 million years ago.
Theo Vickers, 18, presented it to Dinosaur Isle Museum at Sandown to care for and put on display.
Theo, who has just finished his A-levels and is off to study marine biology and oceanography at university in September, found the tooth of the rhino-like Ronzotherium washed up in sand on a beach in the Bouldnor formation clays on the coast between Yarmouth and Hamstead.
He was looking for fossil teeth, bones or turtle shells when he discovered the molar from the Ronzotherium.
“I knew straight away it was a species of rhinoceros, and after researching it further online I contacted Dinosaur Isle Museum to bring it to their attention, as finds of primitive rhinos like Ronzotherium are really rare from the Bouldnor formation,” Theo 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.
“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.”