Six-year-old stumbles on coral fossil from million of years ago in England garden

The fossil's markings place it as existing during the Paleozoic era, between 500 and 251 million years ago.

A six-year-old Indian-origin boy says he is “really excited” after he found a fossil from millions of years ago while digging in his garden in the West Midlands region of England. Siddak Singh Jhamat, known as Sid, was using a fossil-hunting set he received as a Christmas present when he came across a rock that looked like a horn. "I was just digging for worms and things like pottery and bricks and I just came across this rock which looked a bit like a horn, and thought it could be a tooth or a claw or a horn, but it was actually a piece of coral which is called horn coral," the schoolboy said. "I was really excited about what it really was," he said.

According to a BBC report, his father Vish Singh was able to identify the horn coral through a fossil group he is a member of on Facebook and estimates the fossil is between 251 and 488 million years old.

"We were surprised he found something so odd-shaped in the soil... he found a horn coral, and some smaller pieces next to it, then the next day he went digging again and found a congealed block of sand,” said Vish Singh.

"In that there were loads of little molluscs and seashells, and something called a crinoid, which is like a tentacle of a squid, so it's quite a prehistoric thing," he said.

The prehistoric horn coral fossil. Image Credit: PA Media

The prehistoric horn coral fossil. Image Credit: PA Media

Singh believes the fossil's markings mean it is most likely a Rugosa coral and that the period that they existed from was between 500 and 251 million years ago, the Paleozoic Era.

"England at the time was part of Pangea, a landmass of continents. England was all underwater as well... that's quite a significant expanse of time," said Vish Singh.

The family, from Walsall, said they do not live in an area known for its fossils, like the Jurassic Coast in the south of England, but that they do have a lot of natural clay in the garden where the fossils were found.

Singh added: "Lots and lots of people have commented on how amazing it is to find something in the back garden.

"They say you can find fossils anywhere if you look carefully enough, but to find a significantly large piece like that is quite unique."

They now hope to tell Birmingham University's Museum of Geology about their discovery.

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