From Mishap to Miracle: Amateur Fossil Hunter Restores Rare 200 Million-Year-Old Dinosaur Fossil After Accidental Shattering

The fossil came from a plesiosaur, long-necked marine reptiles that were in fact distant relatives of the dinosaurs, and is only one of two specimens of its species ever found in the UK.

The fossil (pictured) came from a plesiosaur, long-necked marine reptiles that were in fact distant relatives of the dinosaurs, and is only one of two specimens of its species ever found in the UK

An amateur palaentologist (pictured) who discovered a 200 million year old fossil accidentally smashed it to pieces while he was excavating it. But then, instead of giving up on the fossil, he spent two years gluing it back together

Although they lived on the planet at the same time, plesiosaurs sit on a different evolutionary branch to the dinosaurs that ruled the land. They were long-necked marine reptiles that were in fact distant relatives of the dinosaurs. Artist’s impression of a pleiosaur, pictured

According to Mr Bow, experts believe the latest fossil belongs to a subspecies of the plesiosaur, called Avalonnectes. The only other specimen of this species believed to have been found in the UK was from Somerset

At the time the plesiosaur lived, Wales was a collection of warm tropical islands, which were attractive to the ichthyosaurus, primitive fish, and the occasional plesiosaur

The fossil is now the most ‘complete’ fossil of a plesiosaur ever found in Wales.

Jonathan Bow with the reconstructed fossil. Mr Bow’s love of fossils began when he was very young. ‘Every year from a young age my father would take my brother and me on trips to Lyme Regis to look for fossil ammonites, so my interest started then,’ he said

The nine-square-foot discovery is the largest fossil ever found in Wales, and was far too heavy for Mr Bow to move, so instead he tried to chisel the fossil free from the surrounding rock

To stick the fossil back together again, Mr Bow used off-the-shelf super glue. An adult plesiosaur would typically grow to be two-metres long and ate mostly fish. He says he found the lower jaw, inch-long teeth, ribs, rear pelvic region and elements of a flipper

Mr Bow is pictured left with the finished fossil, and right gluing it back together. Although they lived on the planet at the same time, plesiosaurs sit on a different evolutionary branch to the dinosaurs that ruled the land

While dinosaurs are considered to be the prehistoric ancestors of modern birds, plesiosaurs are more like modern reptiles.

The fossil hunter, who has a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees in environmental science, shared that it was his desire to appeal to a diverse new audience that led him to rebrand his previously faceless Instagram account as Fossil Daddy in 2020.

A paleontologist known only as ‘Fossil Daddy’ is educating the masses with his educational thirst traps during his hunts for ancient fossils

The queer content creator has nearly 130,000 followers across Instagram and TikTok thanks to his cheeky videos

Daddy – who prefers to use his pseudonym for privacy – often shares photos and videos of himself showing off his chiseled arms and burly chest hair while digging for fossils

Each fossil is stored inside a small plastic bag along with a short description that includes its species, age, and the location where it was found.

The traveling geologist explained in a recent TikTok video that it was his love of Pokémon as a child that inspired him to become a traveling fossil hunter

Sia

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