A teenager in Queensland, Australia, recently dug up a 100-million-year old Dinosaur Era marine reptile in his school’s vegetable garden. A local museum has since identified the fossil as belonging to an ichthyosaur.
Ichthyosaurs, which could grow to 13 feet in length, were ocean predators that mostly fed on fish and shellfish. Some had such sharp, plentiful teeth that they could crush hard shells with just a few bites.
The Australian city where the fossil was found, Richmond, was once covered by a Cretaceous Sea, so fossils for now-extinct marine reptiles and other prehistoric animals are often found there.
Student Raymond Hodgson never thought he’d make such a discovery, especially while just digging in the veggie garden with some of his classmates.
When Hodgson first unearthed the fossil, he didn’t think much of it and was prepared to keep on shoveling. A groundsman who was also present, Ben Smith, happened to see the object. Smith studies paleontology as a hobby. He recognized the find’s importance.