Essex Dad Unearths Giant Bone In North Sea Belonging To ‘Big Beast’

by : Lucy Connolly on : 20 Feb 2020 17:27
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A dad who unearthed a giant bone in the North Sea is adamant it belongs to a dinosaur, saying he’s ‘never seen anything that huge’.

Daniel French, 23, was working on Mersea Island, Essex, at low tide on February 14 when he spotted the remains of the ‘big beast’ in the sand.


The dad-of-two, who works as an oysterman, hauled the 56-inch object over his shoulder (with some difficulty) before taking it home – much to the amazement of his two daughters, nine-year-old Holly and four-year-old Lily.

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Hours later, Daniel’s dad – Daniel Snr – found a second, smaller bone in the same spot. Archaeologist Oliver Hutchinson soon got involved to see if he could figure out the origins of the bones.

Oliver, who works for the Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (CITiZAN), suggested the large bone could be from a whale, while the smaller bone might be from a mammoth, but has since passed them onto the Natural History Museum for further checks.


He explained:

The thought is this is the rostrum (top part) of a right whale – it’s a big beast. Age-wise, it’s possibly part of the Victorian whaling industry… so it might be something that’s come off the side of one of the old whaling vessels. But it might be older.

We have an awful lot of coastal erosion on Mersea Island and that’s revealing a huge amount of archaeology. We have in the past found the tusk of a woolly mammoth and [Daniel’s] dad, on the very same day, found a bone quite close to where the mammoth tusk was.

So that could be part of the mammoth, or it could also be the vertebrae for a whale – we don’t know yet.

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Despite Oliver’s advice, Daniel isn’t letting go of the possibility the giant bone might be something else, stating: ‘It’s yet to be confirmed but there’s a possibility it’s a prehistoric dinosaur bone.’


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Oliver again refuted this, stating: ‘It might be pushing it a bit far to say this is a dinosaur bone.’ Regardless, Daniel said he has ‘always dreamt of finding a beast like this’ ever since he was a child, adding: ‘Who wouldn’t want to find one and live by the sea?’

He described the bone as an ‘amazing’ find, and couldn’t believe his eyes when he first caught sight of it. ‘I thought, ‘It can’t be’ – it was huge. But I went and looked closer and it was,’ he explained.

Initially, Daniel was worried he wouldn’t be able to take the bone home with him because it was ‘really heavy to pick up’, and he was already carrying all of his buckets and bags to put his oysters in.

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He persevered, however, ‘flinging’ the bone over his shoulder before taking it home. Upon seeing it, his daughters begged to take it to school for Show and Tell, with Daniel stating: ‘They’d be the most popular kids in school rocking up with a dinosaur bone.’

This isn’t the first time the dad has discovered something like this either. A couple of years ago, Daniel found a skull dating back to 300BC, and his dad also made the news two years ago after discovering an old Bronze Age trackway.

Daniel and his dad’s latest finds have since been transported more than 70 miles to the Natural History Museum, where experts are currently working on identifying them.

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Lucy Connolly

A Broadcast Journalism Masters graduate who went on to achieve an NCTJ level 3 Diploma in Journalism, Lucy has done stints at ITV, BBC Inside Out and Key 103. While working as a journalist for UNILAD, Lucy has reported on breaking news stories while also writing features about mental health, cervical screening awareness, and Little Mix (who she is unapologetically obsessed with).

Topics: Animals, Archaeology, dinosaurs, Essex, Life, whales