A 6-year-old boy was out in his yard in Walsall, England, digging for worms when he instead found a very ancient fossil. Siddak Singh Jhamat, whose nickname is Sid, was outside in his family’s garden using a fossil-hunting kit that he received for Christmas and his gift certainly paid off with his new discovery.
After making the discovery, Sid showed the fossil to his father who was then able to identify it as being a horn coral based on information he gathered from a fossil group on Facebook. Using the information he found, he estimates that the fossil dates back between 251 and 488 million years ago during the Paleozoic Era.
The young boy, who said he was “really excited” with his discovery, described what he found: “I was just digging for worms and things like pottery and bricks and I just came across this rock which looked a bit like a horn, and thought it could be a tooth or a claw or a horn, but it was actually a piece of coral which is called horn coral.”
Based on the markings on the fossil, it is probably a Rugosa coral. They are wrinkled in appearance and shaped like a bull’s horn. They were part of a coral animal or polyp that lived at the top of the cone which was built from the ocean’s calcium carbonate. As the creatures grew, additional material was added to the cone with each layer being a bit larger than the last one.
Vish Singh, who is the boy’s father, said that his son made additional discoveries after finding the coral, “We were surprised he found something so odd-shaped in the soil... he found a horn coral, and some smaller pieces next to it, then the next day he went digging again and found a congealed block of sand.” “In that there were loads of little mollusks and sea shells, and something called a crinoid, which is like a tentacle of a squid, so it's quite a prehistoric thing.”
He went on to note that the area in which they live isn’t well known for fossil discoveries, although they do have a significant amount of natural clay in their garden where his son made the findings. He finished off by stating, “They say you can find fossils anywhere if you look carefully enough, but to find a significantly large piece like that is quite unique.”
Their plan now is to contact Birmingham University’s Museum of Geology and inform them about Sid’s incredible discovery. Pictures of the fossil can be seen here.