Animal jaw (2003)

In February 2003, UMA reported an animal jaw fragment found on the rejects pile at its Erith wharf and thought to have come from aggregates dredged off the east coast. The fragment was sent to the Natural History Museum, where it was identified as belonging to an extinct giant deer, most likely Megaloceros giganteus or one of its immediate ancestors. The fragment was of the bottom left jaw. The teeth were considered to be small for later Pleistocene examples of the species, but matched specimens from several Middle Pleistocene contexts.
 
Photo of jaw fragment. Photograph courtesy of UMA.Photo of jaw fragment. Photograph courtesy of UMA.
 
It looked as though the fragment was originally buried in fine grained sediment but had been eroded and deposited into coarser sediment. The fragment had been quite heavily mineralised before being abraded and marked in the course of reworking.
 
Although giant deer remains are known from dredging in the North Sea, they are less commonly found than other large mammal fossils.