Researchers can now study a new fossil believed to be some one million years old, thanks to a more than chance discovery. The relic was discovered by a nine years old boy that tripped and fell as he was on a walk with his parents and family.
This occurred back in November 2016, in New Mexico. Jude Sparks, the then nine, now ten years old looked to see what had tripped him up, but neither he nor his family knew what to make of the formation.
So they took pictures, did some research on their own, and then contacted Professor Peter Houde. Part of the New Mexico State University, he had previously recorded a video displaying a similar fossil. The newly discovered one turned out to be the skull of a Stegomastodon fossil.
The 1 Million Years Old Fossil Is a Rare Discovery
Professor Houde was quick to identify the fossil. He revealed that the strange obstacle was actually the jaw of a more than one million years old Stegomastodon. It turned out to be a quite rare find, as this is only the second complete skull of the species ever found in New Mexico, according to reports.
Although the Stegomastodon has a dinosaur-resembling name, it is more closely related to elephants. Its massive skull resembles that of an elephant as it also bears a pair of large tusks. The Stegomastodon is believed to be some 1.2 million years old.
“The upper part of the skull is deceiving. It’s mostly hollow and the surface of the skull is eggshell thin,” states Houde.
However, the jaw, in itself, weighs some 120 pounds. The entire skull could weigh about a ton. Despite its weight, the delicacy of the 1 million years fossil made it difficult to extract. The whole process took about a week, according to reports.
Now, the skull will enter a study and reconstruction stage. Scientists are hoping to reconstruct it, and also its jaws and tusks, a process that will reportedly take years to do.
Still, Houde hopes and expect that, ultimately, this 1 million years old fossil will go on display as part of a museum exhibit.
Image Source: Flickr
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