An 11-year old girl, Ryleigh Taylor, was walking on the shoreline of an East Tennessee lake when she stumbled upon a very rare sight. Something strange was lying on a rock. She had no idea what that thing was and took it with her back home. A professor of paleobiology, Colin Sumrall, finally got to analyze the bizarre structure and discovered that it was a fossil. It actually belonged to a 475-million year old sea creature known as trilobite. This creature is not long extinct, but the discovery is surprising nonetheless.
According to Sumrall, it is extremely unusual for someone to walk on a shoreline and find such an old fossil. It seems that trilobites appeared on Earth about 521 million years ago. They lived and thrived throughout the lower Paleozoic era and went extinct about 250 million years ago. This was well before the very first dinosaurs even began to exist. According to fossil record, trilobites were extremely successful early marine animals which survived for about 270 million years on this planet, which is a very long time.
11-year old stumbles upon 475-million year old fossil
— KMBC (@kmbc) May 3, 2018
Colin Sumrall also explained that to find such an old fossil is no ordinary thing. The girl might have found it there because the creature might have roamed these waters around what is now East Tennessee. Moreover, this fossil is in almost perfect condition, unlike other trilobite fossils previously found. Usually, a trilobite fossil disintegrates into many tiny pieces which are difficult to analyze. But the great condition of the fossil that the girl found amazed everyone.
According to experts, trilobites developed the sense of vision first, and lived mostly in shallow waters. Until now, researchers have discovered about 600 different species of trilobites. This extraordinary find is the kind that makes a child want to follow a certain career. But Ryleigh now hopes that her discovery will make other kids get out of their houses and explore nature more.
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