It’s no secret that children are curios by nature. However, sometimes, their curiosity can prove to be so much more and it can lead to real, extraordinary discoveries. This happened to a 10-year old boy who, about three years ago, was on a tour of a Colombian monastery. He noticed something that looked out of the ordinary at his feet and he decided to take a photo. A few days later, the boy took the photo to the experts at a nearby Paleontological Research Center. Upon analyzing the photo, the experts there were certain that the boy had found a very old fossil.
After many research efforts, the researchers discovered that the 10-year old had stumbled upon an ancient group of fish. What was even more interesting was that experts had never recorded this group in the Americas. According to Oksana Vernygora, the leader of the study, the tropical area was some kind of cradle for these creatures. Accidental discoveries like this one is what should encourage experts and people to go out there and explore more. The Journal of Systematic Paleontology recently published this study.
An accidental discovery
The 10-year old boy found this fossil on the grounds of the Monastery of La Candelaria, in Columbia. This is actually a complex dating from back in the 17th Century. It includes a chapel, a courtyard, a museum and a cave. The legend says that the Augustine monks who founded the complex lived there. There is also a hotel nearby now, for the tourists.
As for this unusual fossil, it belongs to a Candelarihynchus padillai. It is a slim lizard-fish which measures 40cm in length with a long jaw and fine teeth. It lived about 90 million years ago, during the Cretaceous Period. This fish doesn’t have a modern-day heir but back in the day, it would have eaten larvae, crustaceans and molluscs.
Image source: freegreatpicture