Palaeontology: Primary school pupils find 11,500-year-old fossil - Triops Galaxy

Palaeontology: Primary school pupils in California find 11,500-year-old fossil

There was great excitement at Tara Redwood School in California when primary school pupils discovered an amazing fossil that is at least 11,500 years old. The children were originally looking for crayfish when they made this remarkable discovery.

The fossil is estimated to be between 11,500 and 300,000 years old

A group of elementary school students were out in a creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains looking for crawdads. “They were building a dam and looking for crawdads,” teacher Bryn Evans told KSBW. “They were digging in the mud, pulling things out, and then one of the kids came up and said, ‘That’s not a stick, that’s a bone’.” The Santa Cruz Museum of Natural History in northern California confirmed that it was the prehistoric left arm bone of a Jefferson sloth (Megalonyx jeffersonii).

Megalonyx jeffersonii, a giant sloth, fed on foliage and lived in the Pliocene and Pleistocene in North America. It could reach a length of up to three metres and weighed around 1000 kilograms.

The valuable fossil will now be analysed by experts at the museum to determine its exact origin. “Fossils are a fascinating tool to awaken people’s interest in the past,” commented museum director Felicia Van Stolk.” We are very pleased that our students have made this valuable discovery and are convinced that it will inspire generations of museum visitors and scientists.”

The fossil is estimated to be between 11,500 and 300,000 years old. It was named after former US President Thomas Jefferson, who described the first discovery in Kentucky in a letter to the American Philosophical Society in 1796.

Sladjan Lazic

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