In 2017 a nine-year old in New Mexico tripped and fell. What Jude Spark tripped on, he found out later, was the skull of a rare stegomastodon (an elephant-like creature) from 1.2 million years ago. In 2017 a five-year old enjoying a beach picnic in Homer, Alaska saw something odd. It turned out to be a very rare 10-million-year-old jawbone from a tapir, a pig-like mammal.
In 2020 Nathan Hrushkin, then 12, made an important fossil discovery. A budding paleontologist, Nathan was hiking in a Nature Conservancy property with his dad, when he spotted fossilized bones. Scientists later identified the fossil find as a 69-million year old duck-billed dinosaur. The Nature Conservancy said, “The Hrushkins are a perfect example of what to do when someone discovers fossils: take photos of the bones, record their location using a GPS or Google Earth, ….and, most importantly, leave the fossils undisturbed in the ground. The latter is the most important step, as fossils are protected by law and much information is lost when they are removed from their location.”