The fossil is at least 65 million years old.
(Joe Kline /The Bulletin via AP)
At age 7, Naomi Vaughan will likely have a hard time wrapping her head around 65 million years time. But that is the minimum time that elapsed between the death of a small sea creature, and as Naomi picked up her remains.
Bored with her sister’s soccer game in Bend, Oregon, last autumn, Naomi began to dig in the earth and found what she thought was a shiny rock that resembles the spiral-shaped amulet seen in Disney’s Moana.
The spotting of the pearlescence, her mother suspected the “Moana rock” was actually something more, maybe “millions of years old.” Earlier this month, her suspicions were confirmed when paleontologists turned out the rock was actually a fossil of a marine invertebrate called an ammonite, extinct about 65 million years ago.
“Nothing like this is known, somewhere in the neighborhood of a Bend,” paleontologist Greg Retallack tells the Bend Bulletin. He is of the opinion that the fossil fuels that other paleontologist suspects is up to 100 million years old—is founded on a 100 km away, or maybe came from outside the state, and was lost or discarded by someone.
The missing context means that the fossil is not worth much—maybe $20, Retallack says, is in comparison with what CNN says is the $50,000 value of some of the rarest ammonite fossils.
But Naomi is “delighted to find something so beautiful and to discover, it is so old,” her father tells the Bulletin. “She’s certainly the only one in our family to make that discovery,” he adds.
“She is still very excited.” (A boy once activated and found a skull.)
This article originally appeared on Newser: Bored by Football, Game, Girl Digs in the Dirt, Wanted to Find