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A local museum volunteer unknowingly uncovered an ancient fossil of turtle, which dates back to 90-million-year, in southern New Mexico, thinking it of a rare ancient stone.
Jeff Dornbusch, a volunteer with the local museum, discovered the fossil while he was taking a hike near the town of Truth or Consequence in southern New Mexico.
Dornbusch found the fossils a decade ago but didn’t realized it to be the fossil of ancient turtle. He thought the fossils were just a pile of light gray stones along the dirty brown trail.
But he found the stones a bit different and hence carried inspection of the turtle fossil and discovered that they actually dated back to the dinosaur era.
In 2012, he returned back to the same hiking trail to get a clear picture about this so-called ancient remains, which he was assuming to be a ‘stone’. A team of paleontologists also accompanied him to conduct an investigation.
Following an in-depth analysis, the paleontologists confirmed that the fossil belongs to a turtle of the genus Adocus that existed during the Cretaceous Period about 146 to 65 million years ago.
According to the researchers, the detailed study of the ground from where the fossilized remains were uncovered helped them to exactly determine the age of the fossil and from which era the turtle belonged to.
Researchers said that the fragment consisting a chunk of dirt from stratum called Crevasse Canyon formation.
Tom Suazo, fossil preparer for the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, said the surrounding dirt helped the scientists to estimate the age of the fossilized turtle.