Five-year old Emelia Fawbert and her dad James, were out on a group fossil hunting trip at a newly excavated site in Gloucestershire, England, when she noticed something stuck in the mud. Using a trowel, she and her dad gently excavated an almost perfect fossil.
While it looked interesting and special, neither knew how significant the find was until they took it to the experts. It turned out that five-year old Emelia had unearthed the Atlas vertebra (the bone supporting the neck) of a Woolly Ice-Age Rhinoceros.
The 16-inch fossil has been carefully wrapped up in protective covering, and will soon be donated to a museum.
The Woolly Rhino, which were native to Europe and Asia, lived on Earth between 20,000 - 50,000 years ago. They were herbivores, who like their modern day relatives, lived alone or in really small family groups. They had long gray-brown shaggy hair and two horns both made out of matted hair.
The descriptions of what this creature looked like have been gleaned from cave paintings made by early humans, who hunted them for food. It is believed that the rhinos were unable to cope with the climate change and became extinct about 20,000 years ago, towards the end of the Ice Age. There are currently five descendents of the Woolly Rhino left in the world. The closest one is a rhino species that lives on the island of Sumatra .
Emelia, who wants to be a paleontologist when she grows up, was very excited with her find, especially because this was her first ever-fossil hunting trip. Other interesting items found by members of the group included a leg bone and vertebra of an ice-age deer, and the remains of squid-like creatures from 150 million years ago.
source: BBC.Co.Uk, Dailymail.co.uk