First impressions count for a lot – six-year-old Sid Singh knows this better than most. A budding palaeontologist, Sid has unearthed a fossil dating back millions of years in his own garden with the help of a kit he received for Christmas.
The amateur fossilist was digging around for worms at his family’s Walsall, West Midlands, home when he discovered the prehistoric artefact.
Sid said he was “really excited” by the find: “I was just digging for worms and things like pottery and bricks and I just came across this rock which looked a bit like a horn, and thought it could be a tooth or a claw or a horn, but it was actually a piece of coral which is called horn coral,” he said
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“I was really excited about what it really was.”
Sid’s father, Vish Singh, believes he has identified the fossil via a group on Facebook. He puts it at between 251 to 488 million years old.
“We were surprised he found something so odd-shaped in the soil,” said Mr Singh. “[Sid] found a horn coral, and some smaller pieces next to it, then the next day he went digging again and found a congealed block of sand. In that there were loads of little molluscs and sea shells, and something called a crinoid, which is like a tentacle of a squid, so it’s quite a prehistoric thing.”
Members of the fossil Facebook group Mr Singh went to for help observed that the fossil’s markings means it is most likely a Rugosa coral.
“The period that they existed from was between 500 and 251 million years ago, the Paleozoic Era,” Mr Singh said.
They family said they would like to tell Birmingham University’s Museum of Geology about Sid’s “amazing” discovery.
“Lots of people have commented on how amazing it is to find something in the back garden,” said Mr Singh.
“They say you can find fossils anywhere if you look carefully enough, but to find a significantly large piece like that is quite unique.”
Additional reporting by PA