Norfolk professor joins David Attenborough for new prime time BBC show

Programme Name: Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard - TX: 30/12/2021 - Episode: Attenborough and

UEA professor Ben Garron will appear on David Attenborough's latest BBC special Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard. - Credit: BBC / Windfall Films / Julian Schwanitz

A University of East Anglia professor will appear on BBC One in a new show alongside Sir David Attenborough.

Professor Ben Garrod will feature in a documentary which will explore whether Neanderthals might have killed mammoths.

Four years ago, two amateur fossil hunters found the fossilised leg bone of a mammoth in the riverbed of the Thames just outside Swindon.

Sally and Neville Hollingworth returned to the site to dig up more mammoth bones and tusks, and even found a stone ‘hand axe’ made by an early human.

Mr Garrod was the first person to be contacted about the rare find.

The professor of evolutionary biology and science engagement said: "Unlike most mammoth discoveries that date back tens of thousands of years, Sally and Neville’s finds appear to be hundreds of thousands of years old - and it could offer an extremely rare glimpse of life deep in the Ice Ages."

Programme Name: Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard - TX: 30/12/2021 - Episode: Attenborough and

Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard will air on December 30, 2021 on BBC 1 at 8pm. - Credit: BBC/Windfall Films

Together with a team of archaeologists and palaeontologists, Sir David and Mr Garrod carefully excavated the quarry where the bones were found.

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The Great Yarmouth-born professor added: “The site raised so many questions – why were the mammoths there, how did they die, and could ancient humans have killed them? Or was there some kind of catastrophic event?

"Together with Sir David, we met with leading experts in the fields of evolution, both human and mammoth to grasp a greater understanding of our relationship with this iconic ice-age giant.

"Laboratory dating of soil samples suggests the site dates back to around 215,000 years ago - a time deep in the Ice Ages that we know very little about.

"And as we found more stone tools lying side by side with more mammoth bones, we realised this could be a once-in-a-generation discovery, offering a unique window into prehistoric Britain.

"Standing in a quarry with Sir David Attenborough and a multidisciplinary team of experts as we excavated a whole herd of mammoths was up there with the best moments of my career so far."

Attenborough And The Mammoth Graveyard can be seen on BBC One on December 30 at 8pm.

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