A Prehistoric Sea Turtle Fossil Discovered by a Man May Be a New Species
On Vancouver Island, Canada, an amateur fossil hunter uncovered an ancient fossilized sea turtle.
Russell Ball discovered the ancient fossil while walking along the Puntledge River in January, according to a story published on Sunday by The Canadian Press news agency.
Ball, a former military explosives disposal specialist who has collected thousands of fossils in his lifetime, found something strange in the field at one point during the walk and started searching to see what he could find.
“Every time I do that, it feels like I’m opening a present. You never know what you’ll find inside,” he told The Canadian Press.
“And when you discover a fossil, you’re the first and only person in human history to see the creature.”
“Royal BC Museum collects unidentified prehistoric sea turtle fossil!” is extremely exciting #FossilFriday news. More information is available in our Press Room: pic.twitter.com/yv35C6U702 https://t.co/ps3FIWwgqM pic.twitter.com/yv35C6U702
May 21, 2021 — Royal BC Museum (@RoyalBCMuseum)
Ball contacted the Vancouver Island Paleontological Society after discovering the fossil, and they concluded that it was most likely an extinct sea turtle. He also contacted the British Columbia Fossil Management Office and the Royal British Columbia Museum.
Derek Larson, the museum’s paleontology collections curator, collected the extracted fossil in April, and it is now on display at the facility.
Larson said in a museum press release, “Russell Ball and the Vancouver Island Paleontological Society did all right.” “They recognized the discovery’s significant scientific value and immediately set to work ensuring the fossil would end up where everyone in B.C. will be able to access and study it.”
Experts have determined the fossil to be around 84 million years old. And museum officials think the remains may represent one of two known species of ancient sea turtle that have previously been found in the area. There is also the possibility that the fossil could belong to a new species altogether.
“Either way, this discovery is a win for paleontology in British Columbia,” Larson said in the museum press release. “If the fossil is a known species, we’ll learn a lot of new information about that species because these specimens are rare and, so far, incomplete.
“If the fossil turns out to be a species that is new. This is a brief summary.