This week in accidental discoveries, a 10-year-old boy came across an amazing paleontological find when he literally tripped right over it. 

According to news reports, the boy had been exploring in New Mexico with his family, when he tripped on the tusk of a stegamastodon, and almost fell right into the animal’s mouth. 

Time quotes the boy as saying that he thought the skull belonged to a “big, fat, rotten cow,” although this is not the preferred description of a stegomastodon. While the name may invoke images of a stegosaurus, the stegomastodon is a now-extinct a relative of the elephant that inhabited both North and South America. 

The boy’s parents contacted an expert before trying to remove the skeleton themselves. The land owner was happy to allow the skeleton to be excavated, under the condition that the location be kept a secret to prevent an onslaught on treasure seekers. 

Photo credit: Screen capture from ABC News

Advertisements