April - Oct 2000
Glaston Early Upper Palaeolithic Project: The Animals
Woolly Rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis)
The majority of the animal bones found on the site were from the woolly rhinoceros with at least six individuals represented. As shown below, many of the bones had been gnawed and crushed by hyenas and the rhinos appear to have been their main prey.
The woolly rhinoceros was one of the larger Ice Age mammals and was widespread throughout the tundra of the Mammoth Steppe. It was well adapted to the cold with thick shaggy fur, small ears, short legs and a massive body that all helped to lessen heat loss.
Well-preserved remains of woolly rhinoceros have been found in the Ukraine where a complete body was recovered from salt and petroleum deposits. Right, woolly rhinoceros bones recovered from the initial discovery. On the left of the picture are several vertebrae, in the centre are the remains of limb bones and teeth. and on the right are several pelvic pieces. The horn of the woolly rhinoceros was flattened from side to side unlike the rounded profile of the modern African rhino. This is likely to indicate that it was used in a similar way to the tusks of the woolly mammoth, to brush aside snow to reveal the underlying vegetation.
Left, woolly rhinoceros leg bones in various states of preservation. The uppermost bone is the best preserved, the lower examples have been gnawed by spotted hyena.
Right, teeth of adult (top) and juvenile (bottom) woolly rhinoceros.
During the excavation of the best-preserved hyena burrow, this complete lower jawbone of woolly rhinoceros was revealed. The thin outer bone of the jaw had vanished but the teeth survived in their anatomically correct positions