Walsall boy, 6, finds '488-million-year-old' fossil in garden

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Image caption,
Siddak Singh Jhamat was "digging for worms" when he made the discovery

A six-year-old boy has found a fossil dating back millions of years in his garden after receiving a fossil-hunting kit for Christmas.

Siddak Singh Jhamat, known as Sid, said he was "excited" to find the fossil in his garden in Walsall after digging for worms.

His father was able to identify the horn coral through a fossil group he is a member of on Facebook.

Vish Singh estimates the fossil is between 251 and 488 million years old.

"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."

Mr Singh added: "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.

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Image caption,
The family were able to identify the fossil's era on a Facebook group

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

Mr Singh said the fossil's markings mean it is most likely a Rugosa coral, estimated to be between 251 to 488 million years old.

"The period that they existed from was between 500 and 251 million years ago, the Paleozoic Era," he said.

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

Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
Vish Singh estimates the fossil is between 251 to 488 million years old

The family said that 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.

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

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

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