Wylie Brys is five years old. He’s also the coolest kid in America—because he discovered an actual dinosaur fossil in a field in Mansfield, Texas.
The Washington Post’s Sarah Larimer reports that Brys was digging in the dirt at a construction site with his dad, who works at the Dallas Zoo. Wylie found a chunk of bone, and he took it show his dad. Brys’ dad, Tim, told Larimer that “it was a pretty good size and I knew I had something interesting.”
Interesting, indeed—the bone was “a few inches long…a bit moist and purplish gray,” reports KERA News’s Lauren Silverman. And, it turned out, it was 100 million years old.
Tim Brys contacted the Earth Sciences Lab at Southern Methodist University, who confirmed that the bone was an ancient dinosaur fossil and entered into a lengthy permitting process to get permission to excavate on the site. Now the site has turned into a paleontological dig—and SMU scientists found another key bone on Wednesday.
It’s rare to find a dinosaur in Texas. This particular creature appears to have made it out to sea at a time when what is now Texas was underwater. Far from land, the dinosaur eventually sunk into the water. Scientists say it was a nodosaur—a land-dwelling dinosaur that lived during the Jurassic period. It would have sported plated armor and been the size of a pony.
“My dad told me it was a turtle,” Wylie said Tuesday at the site of his discovery. “But now he’s telling me it’s a dinosaur.”