- 10-year-old boy discovered the million-year-old fossil of a prehistoric creature when he literally fell on it while hiking with his parents in Las Cruces, New Mexico.
- Jude Sparks says he was running when he tripped on part of a tusk belonging to the Stegomastodon, which is from the Pleistocene era and believed to be an ancestor to the modern-day elephant.
- The creature is not a dinosaur, with the T-Rex, Triceratops and Velociraptors living in the Mesozoic era, which ended 66 million years ago.
- Jude’s parents contacted Peter Houde, a professor at New Mexico State University (as he had discovered a similar fossil near the campus), however it took several months to commence excavations, as the fossil was found on private land and permission was required from the landowner.
- The exact site of the discovery has remained confidential.
- As the bones were “deceptively delicate”, chemical hardeners were applied to keep them intact during the excavation process.
- Once the fossil was removed, it was coated in plaster and transported to its current home, the New Mexico State University’s Vertebrate Museum.
- This boy will have a hell of a story to tell his friends!