5-year-old boy discovers fossils from 500 million years ago during an expedition
Published: Nov 22, 2023 04:27 PM
Photo: Screenshot from website

Photo: Screenshot from website

A 5-year-old boy from Linyi, East China's Shandong Province, stumbled upon ancient fossils which dated back more than 500 million years ago while climbing a local mountain, the Hangzhou-based media outlet City Link reported on Tuesday.

The discovery of the fossils took place when a video posted on Chinese version of TikTok - Douyin - by an internet user, which showed a boy displaying intricately patterned stones hidden within rock layers. 

According to the video description, a fossil nest was found on a small mountain, and upon lifting the rock slab, trilobite fossils were discovered.

Guo Ying, a professor from Linyi University's Institute of Geology and Paleobiology, confirmed to the media outlet that the findings shown in the video were indeed Trilobites, an ancient biological species.

According to Guo, the location belongs to the Cambrian period, dating back over 500 million years.

"Fragments of trilobites can be seen in the fossils. Trilobites are arthropods, and their bodies are divided into segments when broken," explained Guo. 

The professor also noted that these fossils are also known as "swallow stones" due to their resemblance to swallows.

"Similar fossils have been discovered in the broader Linyi region, including areas around Laiwu, Jinan, Weifang and Rizhao," Guo added.

The video was shot by the child's father, surnamed Yang, an outdoor enthusiast residing in Linyi. According to Yang, the discovery occurred on a Sunday afternoon when he took his son for a hike near Langong Temple. 

Observing a significant shale formation on the mountain, Yang, drawing on his outdoor experience, speculated the presence of fossils.

"I told my son that this place might have fossils, and we should take a look, try our luck, and see if we can find something valuable. After about seven or eight minutes of searching, my son shouted, 'Dad, I found it!'"Yang recalled.

This incident adds to a series of reports about children unexpectedly stumbling upon ancient biological fossils.

In September, a 10-year-old boy accidentally discovered some footprints on a stone riverbed while playing by the river in Luzhou, Southwest China's Sichuan Province. 

Dinosaur experts later confirmed the footprint fossils included tracks of an adult and baby Dromaeosaurus, as well as a very special sauropod dinosaur, saying such a combination is very rare.

The dinosaur footprints found by the boy were on a red sandstone which was exposed after recent heavy rain. The footprint sizes range from 10 centimeters to 40 centimeters, according to experts from the China University of Geosciences Beijing, Zigong Dinosaur Museum and Zhejiang Pangu Fossil Museum. 

After carrying out on-site investigations, experts identified them as belonging to three different sizes of Dromaeosaurus.

The most important discovery is that the packed track fossils included different sizes of Dromaeosaurus and a very unique sauropod dinosaur, which left stone flower-shaped imprints. This is rare not only in China but also around the world, said Xing Lida, a deputy professor from China University of Geosciences Beijing.

In 2020, a 5-year-old boy in Southwest China's Sichuan Province accidentally found what he believed to be dinosaur footprints on a mountain behind his hometown. Intrigued by dinosaurs, the boy immediately concluded that the imprints were evidence of prehistoric creatures. His discovery was later confirmed by experts.

Global Times