Until 15 April 2011, in a special exhibition in FutureLand, Natuurhistorisch Museum Rotterdam will be exhibiting the best skeletal remains of ten animal species from days long gone that were found in the sand used to construct Maasvlakte 2.
The finds include the complete pelvis and hind leg of a woolly mammoth and the by now world-famous hyena dropping.
The bottom of the North Sea is a rich and internationally renowned locality of fossil mammals. The southern part of the North Sea basin, between Holland and Britain, was dry land until about 10,000 years ago. The environment was a vast and cold steppe landscape, the so-called Mammoth Steppe.
The cave hyena lived there together with woolly mammoth, woolly rhino, bison, reindeer, giant deer, and the like. The presence of hyena is this ecosystem was already known to science, evident from both fossil skeletal remains and from the characteristic gnawing-traces on the bones of mammoths. However, hyena droppings had until now never been seen in the fossil record. (The only known Dutch hyena coprolites were from the circa two million year old Oosterschelde sediments. Being much older, these droppings are considered to have been produced by the extinct hyena species Pliocrocuta perrieri.)
Source: maasvlakte2, March 11, 2011