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30th October Unsprung quiz and your questions

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Martin Hughes-Games Martin Hughes-Games | 15:28 UK time, Friday, 30 October 2009

Hi everyone, another conundrum or two for you. Can you identify these three bones? Let us know by commenting below.

And please keep all your nature questions for the team coming in below too.

(if you're looking for the eye quiz, it's here.)

Update 5th November 2009. The answers are:

- Hippo tusk and leg bone: These fossilised bones were discovered during the excavation of the Honiton bypass in 1965 and donated to Allhallows Museum in 1968.

The bones were identified as coming from about 150,000 years ago when the area was a lot warmer than it is now. At that time Honiton had the same sort of climate that we now associate with Africa. The area would have been home to large deer, oxen, elephant and hippopotamus. It is thought that the hippos lived in a marshy boggy area where weaker animals became trapped.

- Cave bear jaw and elephant tooth (not pictured): The cave bear jaw (Ursus spelaeus) came from excavated seat earth (floor of the cave) from a cave at Durdham Down in Bristol during the 19th century. Along with it were other finds including teeth from a straight tusked elephant and teeth from a spotted hyaena.

The cave bear lived during a warm spell in the Ice Age known as the Ipswichian, which dates from 128,000 to 70,000 years ago. The humans living at that time (Middle Palaeolithic) were Homo Neanderthalensis. This was well before modern man (Homo sapiens) appeared.

The jaw was on display in the old Bristol Museum (now Browns) but survived the bombing of the 1940s. It was partly repaired using plaster-of-paris.

The elephantid molar tooth is from the Pleistocene to Recent, perhaps 100,000 years old. It's most likely a straight tusked elephant tooth. It was found when a trench was dug by a builder in 1992, at a depth of 10 feet, at Oakhill Manor, Oakhill in Somerset and donated to Bristol City Museum and Art Gallery.

Jaw bone


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