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I found a fossil on the beach — turns out it’s 1.8 million years old

mammoth tooth
mammoth tooth

An amateur fossil hunter made a mammoth of a discovery.

Chris Bien, 56, was taking a walk on a beach in Holland-on-Sea, Essex, England when she spotted a wavy line in the gravel near the water and realized she may have stumbled upon something special.

“I saw it poking out and thought ‘It must be a tooth to have a pattern like that. I started scraping away with my hands but it was so deep in the ground that hands weren’t good enough,” Bien, a mom-of-one from Goring-by-Sea, West Sussex, told SWNS.

She noticed a wavy pattern in the gravel and dug out a tooth. Christine Bien / SWNS
She noticed a wavy pattern in the gravel and dug out a tooth. Christine Bien / SWNS

She and her husband dug out the tooth and realized it was fully fossilized. Bien’s discovery was serendipitous because earlier in the day, she told her husband, “I’m going to find a mammoth’s tooth.”

North Essex beaches are known for housing fossilized treasures, though Bien was still surprised to find one.

“I was in disbelief and very excited — while we were digging it out I was hoping it was a mammoth tooth but I kept saying to my husband: ‘It can’t be.'”

She said she and her husband “burst out laughing as we stood on the beach holding it.”

The tooth — believed to be from one of the largest mammoth species called the steppe mammoth — is six-and-a-half to seven inches in depth and width. It weighs about 4.4 pounds.

Chris Bien has a keen eye for fossils and dug one out after noticing it. Christine Bien / SWNS
Chris Bien has a keen eye for fossils and dug one out after noticing it. Christine Bien / SWNS

The steppe mammoth roamed the earth 1.8 million years ago and is an ancestor of the wooly mammoth.

Bien thinks the fossil may only be half of a tooth. She plans to preserve it and soak it in distilled water for a few weeks before she preserves it with preservation glue and ethanol.

“I want people to know about the deep, rich history behind this find — when you’re an archaeologist, it’s your duty to report your finds, said Bien, who has been a member of the Hove Archaeological Society for the last 17 years.

“But I would also love to keep it and display it,” Bien, who also volunteers at a museum in Worthing explained.