Teen discovers rare fossil in Alabama quarry

July 19, 2013
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Paleontologist Dana Ehret holds one of several Elamosaur fossils discovered by 14-year-old Noah Taylor and paleontologist Takehito “Ike” Ikejiri. (Photo: Dusty Compton / Tuscaloosa News)

Paleontologist Dana Ehret holds one of several Elamosaur fossils discovered by 14-year-old Noah Taylor and paleontologist Takehito Ikejiri. (Photo: Dusty Compton / Tuscaloosa News)

A 14-year-old in Alabama has discovered one of several fossils in a Greene County quarry, according to a report from the Tuscaloosa News.

The middle school student, Noah Taylor, found the fossil while participating in the 35th annual Museum Expedition Camp, which is hosted by the University of Alabama’s Alabama Museum of Natural History.

Taylor said he assumed it was just a rock, but took it to University of Alabama paleontologist Takehito “Ike” Ikejiri, who confirmed it was a fossilized portion of a backbone from an Elamosaur–a marine reptile from the Cretaceous period.

After Taylor’s discovery, Ikejiri uncovered more fossils from the animal that inspired the Loch Ness Monster myth.

Paleontologist Dana Ehret, who also worked with the expedition program, said the Elasmosaur remains are rare finds, unlike the more commonly-found fossils from Cretaceous fish, turtles, sharks and whales. The fossils Taylor and Ikejiri found are only the second of their kind found in the area–the first was found in the 1960s.

Ehret said archaeologists and paleontologists intend to continue searching for Elasmosaur remains in the area. For now, quarrying at the site will postpone the search for fossils for a few weeks.

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