Staff at an ancient heritage site were stunned when a Yorkshire schoolboy made a rare find on a guided tour.
Ollie Brockman-Joyce, from Huddersfield, was visiting Creswell Crags, an enclosed limestone gorge in Nottinghamshire, with his grandparents when he made a stunning discovery.
The nine-year-old picked up what he thought was a piece of flint from the back of one of the Ice Age caves, which were inhabited by nomadic people during the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods.
But after taking it to the attraction's museum and comparing it with similar items in their collection, an expert identified it as a canine tooth belonging to an extinct species of hyena which once lived in the cave system.
Staff were astonished, as nobody could remember a member of the public finding a genuine prehistoric item at the site before.
Ollie will even have the tooth named after him and displayed in the Creswell Crags museum.
Heritage facilitator Stephanie Tristram said:
“Ollie told me before we even set off on the tour that he wants to be a palaeontologist when he grows up, so for him to then stumble across a tooth is just incredible! He brought it over and said he thought he’d found a piece of flint – when I realised it was a tooth I was stunned.”
The canine was analysed by a PhD student and hyena expert who was able to confirm its age. Ollie's family were then treated to a VIP tour of the collections, and the talkative youngster was even interviewed on BBC Radio Nottingham about his discovery.
Creswell Crags contain the most northerly examples of cave art in Europe, and there is a campaign for them to be designated as a World Heritage Site.