Boy Trips On Something In Desert - Archaeologists Says He's Uncovered a Historic Find

A boy went hiking with his family in the desert, but the hike was only the beginning of his adventure. Somehow, he managed to literally stumble upon a piece of history.

When 10-year-old Jude Sparks was hiking with his parents and younger brothers in the harsh New Mexico desert, he never expected to accidentally stumble upon a million-year-old fossil. Five miles east of Las Cruces by the Organ Mountains, the Sparks family were enjoying some family bonding time before Jude fell over and came face to face with the remains of an ancient creature.

Jude and his brothers Hunter, 8, and Rhett, 5, were adjusting their hand-held radios when Jude tripped and “fell flat on [his] face,” onto a pile of ancient remains. What Jude described as a “big chunk of bone,” was actually the tusk and skull of a Stegomastodon, a prehistoric creature that is potentially a direct ancestor of the modern-day elephant. Jude’s fossil is the second Stegomastodon remains found within the region, with the another found at Elephant Butte State Park around two years ago.

“I think this is only the second full Stegomastodon skull found in the state of New Mexico. [The first] one lacks the jaw and it appears the ends of both tusks were broken off,” Peter Houde, a biology professor told Fox News. “Ours includes the jaw but is missing one tusk so far - we may find it yet.”

With the only complete skulls being found in the early 1900’s, Jude’s discovery is a huge breakthrough in our current understanding of the ancient creature and will help give greater insight into the species and the time period in which they lived: “Intact skulls of both of these are extremely rare and we've had unprecedented luck in obtaining the two,” says Mr. Houde.

Professor Houde predicted that the recent rain in the region unearthed the remains, leaving them exposed for Jude to find. Given the damaging effects of the weather and other environmental pressures, the chances of finding a complete, intact skull of this age were slim. “Usually, the fossils simply break into small bits of sediment before they are found. The preservation of ours is truly unusual, but a great deal of that may be due to the fact that we were able to locate them while they were still deep underground,” Professor Houde stated.

Now that the professor knows that it’s there, he has immediately begun to orchestrate its excavation. With a skeleton of such size, Professor Houde has stressed the importance of thorough logistical coordination and obtaining permission from the landowner to dig. “We intend to look but we will not be allowed by the land owner to dig willy-nilly without good geological information about where we will likely be successful,” the Professor concluded. “I'm waiting for our geologists to return from summer field schools to look into it.” Unfortunately, finding the entire set of bone will be unlikely given that bones can be scattered miles apart when they are fossilized.

While the future of the skull remains uncertain, Ms. Sparks was impressed by her son’s discovery and has encouraged him to tell his friends in their current homeschooling program.

Source: Fox News
Photo: YouTube

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