Boy finds 200-million-year-old fossil on the beach of Llantwit Major in Wales (symbolic image). © Bernd Brueggemann/imago
A nine-year-old must have made the find of a lifetime on a family outing. Even experts are amazed at the fossil.
Birchgrove – On a beach in Wales, UK, nine-year-old Eli accidentally discovered an extraordinary fossil: a 200-million-year-old ammonite. The boy was traveling with his family on Sunday when he suddenly spotted the magnificent specimen on the rocky cliff at Llantwit Major Beach.
Oh my God, that's a big deal
Eli (9) about his find on the beach
"I sat there and looked up to see if any rocks or anything were falling down and then I saw it," Eli told the BBC. "I was like, 'Oh my God, this is a big deal.'" The ammonite on the rock face is about 30 centimeters in diameter and not only unusual for this reason.
Ammonite on the beach of Wales, a rare find
"The fossil Eli found is an ammonite, a mollusc species closely related to squid, squid and octopus," explains Dr Nick Felstead, a lecturer in physical geography at the University of Swansea, according to the BBC. The fossil is rarely found in Llantwit Major, according to the lecturer.
"We can see that the inner chambers that were used for buoyancy by the ammonite were filled with quartz during fossilization, which is even rarer and makes this specimen particularly beautiful."
The rocks and cliffs on Llantwit Major beach date back to the Jurassic period and are about 200 million years old. The rock consists of limestone and mudstone layers, a so-called Blue Lias Formation.
Ammonites – this is how the extinct marine animals lived
Ammonites are cephalopods with shells that became extinct millions of years ago. They lived on Earth until 65 million years ago. Over 1,500 ammonite genera are known. They became extinct at the same time as the dinosaurs. Ammonites were probably able to swim with the help of their shell. Researchers at Ruhr Universität Bochum (RUB) have studied this theory intensively.
Today, only the fossilized shell of ammonites remains. According to RUB, the world's largest ammonite discovered so far was found in the Münsterland Cretaceous Basin and measured about 1.75 metres.
Mallorca storm: deluge rain floods the island - videos show extent
Reduce the risk of cancer: It is better not to eat these foods – especially two drinks
Italian stewardess sits in prison in Saudi Arabia – death penalty threatens
Dangerous tourist trend on holiday in Mallorca off locals – hotel manager calls dilemma
New Maddie hope: Prosecutor's office now gives details of found objects in search operation
Fancy a voyage of discovery?
Eli will certainly remember the Sunday outing with his parents for a long time. Despite the fossil find, the boy does not want to become a paleontologist later on. "I want to be a footballer," the boy told the BBC.
For years, experts and marine biologists racked their brains over a beach find in Greece. The mystery now seems to have been solved. (ml)