Thursday, September 22, 2011

Preschool paleontologist

When anyone asks what now 6-year-old Emily Baldry (pictured above) wants to be when she grows up, I'm pretty sure she will say, "An archaeologist." Her Dad took her on a fossil hunt last year at the Cotswold Water Park led by Dr. Neville Hollingworth (3rd image, on the left), a field geologist at the University of Birmingham, and she found a whopper! The fossil she unearthed on the beach (2nd image) is from the Jurassic Period, making it 162.8 million years old. Identified as a deepwater ammonite known as Rieneckia odysseus, it weighed in at 130lb (59kg) and measures 15.8" (40cm) across. "It's great that Emily has got the fossil hunting bug, she has been very excited by all of this - let's hope her expectations have not been set too high after this amazing find!" says father Jon. The find was that much more remarkable because until now only fragments of that specimen have been found in the U.K. Emily brought the ammonite - which she nicknamed "Spike" - to show-and-tell at school, and has been to see it after it was unveiled at the Gateway Centre earlier this month. In a couple of weeks, she will bring it back home to join her growing collection. "I have got lots of different fossils now, and can't wait to go fossil hunting again."

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