A 12-year-old boy with dreams of becoming a paleontologist has already made a significant discovery while hiking recently with his father — plucking a 69-million year old dinosaur bone visible on the ground in the Badlands of Alberta, Canada.
Nathan Hrushkin, a seventh grade student in Calgary, saw the partially exposed fossil, a humerus bone from the arm of a juvenile hadrosaur, after he and his father Dion stopped for lunch during their hike at the Horsehose Canyon conservation site, CNN reported.
“It’s pretty amazing to find something that’s like, real, like an actual dinosaur discovery,” Nathan told CNN. “It’s kind of been my dream for a while.”
Fossils are protected artifacts. Fossils found in that part of the conservancy site are even rarer. The Hrushkins sent photos of the find to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology. They had been visiting the area for years hoping to make such a discovery.
“I am fascinated about how bones from creatures that lived ten of millions of years ago become these fossil rocks, which are just sitting on the ground waiting to be found,” Nathan said in a statement.
The museum identified the fragment and sent a team to the site to further excavate. In two months, the team of paleontologists have discovered about 50 more fragments from a hadrosaur that is believed to have been about four years old. Hadrosaurs are commonly known as duck-billed dinosaurs. The find is unique because few juvenile skeletons have been found. It is also rare to find a fossil that old on the ground.
“This young hadrosaur is a very important discovery because it comes from a time interval for which we know very little about what kind of dinosaurs or animals lived in Alberta,” François Therrien, the museum’s curator of dinosaur paleoecology, said in a statement. “Nathan and Dion’s find will help us fill this big gap in our knowledge of dinosaur evolution.”
Nathan was at the site Thursday when the team hauled away the last of their finds, CNN reported.
“It was pretty fun to be there and watch them do their things,” he said.