Fulfilling the ambitions of thousands of children, and adults alike, across the world, a 4 year old went looking for dinosaur bones; and actually found them. The Dinosaur bones, that are believed to be close to 100 million years old, are now on their way to Southern Methodist University in Dallas for further study thanks to this boy’s exploratory nature.
The bones were first discovered in September near a retail centre in Mansfield Texas. The boy found the bones on what was essentially a construction site, whilst the centre was undergoing some new development. Since the discovery, palaeontologists, as well as archaeologists, have been digging and excavating near the local grocery store on the intersection of the quaintly named Matlock Road and Debbie Lane.
With all the dirt and earth being churned up the local zoologist thought that there was a possibility of finding bones in the wake of the great machines tearing up the land. The Dallas zookeeper made this deduction because he knew that the area that the shopping centre would soon inhabit was once covered by a vast lake. Zookeeper Tim Brys thought his son Wiley, 4, would enjoy going on a fossil hunt.
The elder Brys said, “We commonly go collect fossils as something we can do together to be outside. Wiley enjoys coming with me on my trips. We were finding some fish vertebrae in the hillside, and then Wiley walked a little ways ahead of me and came back with a piece of bone. And I paused and was like, ‘OK, where did you find this?'”
Our budding palaeontologist didn’t know it at the time but the small bone he was holding was part of one of a 100 million year old dinosaur and one of the best paleontological finds in recent years. His father stated about the find, “It’s probably a once in a lifetime opportunity, and he was four.”
Experts from Sothern Methodist University’s Digital Earth Sciences Laboratory believe the bones belong to a group of dinosaurs called the Nodosaur, about 15-feet long with hard, scaly plates on their back. Nodosaur’s were herbivores, and lived in the late Jurassic to early Cretaceous periods.
Brys when asked about the specific dinosaur which could have been found stated, “It was awesome, it was really exciting, it’s a really rare dinosaur, it’s possible it could even be a new species.”
If this hasn’t been a display that you should allow children the right to explore I don’t know what is. This find is tremendous and this kind of experience for a 4 year old being involved in a science this early could have a profound effect on how he will see the world. So I say to Wiley keep being inquisitive, keep digging, who knows what you will find.