Nine-year-old Jude Sparks recently made the accidental discovery of a rare fossil while walking with his family in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The young boy tripped over skeletal remains protruding from the dirt. Initially, the family thought it was either an elephant skull or a rotten cow. But, uncertain of what it actually was, they turned to Peter Houde, a biology professor at New Mexico State University.
Houde determined the skull belonged to a 1.2 million-year-old Stegomastodon – a distant relative of the elephant, similar to a mastodon. Stegomastodon fossils are a rare find in the United States, and only a few hundred have been found in the world.
After first speaking with the Sparks family in November, it took Houde six months to conduct the final excavation. The professor now has plans to place the entire fossil on display at the university.
A 10-year-old in New Mexico discovered a rare fossil while hiking with his family. He tripped over a 1.2-million-year old dinosaur skull: pic.twitter.com/Ulu2fZ3BOT
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 20, 2017
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