Little Boy Discovers Fossil at Nature Reserve

Little Boy Discovers Fossil at Nature Reserve

( – Kids are often collecting odd items, and for some parents, the priority is to quietly get rid of it without them noticing. Sometimes it’s worth taking a closer look at what they’ve found, though – as one Michigan family proved when their child turned up a rare fossil on a family walk.

On September 6, six-year-old Julian Gagnon was walking with his family in the Dinosaur Hill Nature Preserve in Rochester Hills, MI, when he felt something under his foot. “I grabbed it up,” he said, “And it kind of looked like a tooth.” Julian’s parents let him hold on to his find, but probably didn’t think much about it – until they got home and examined it more closely. That’s when his parents realized it did look like a tooth.

A visit to the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology confirmed what Julian had found was a molar from a juvenile mastodon, a prehistoric elephant that lived in North America until it was hunted to extinction around 10,500 years ago. Julian’s specimen died even earlier; his discovery is about 12,000 years old.

Julian has donated the tooth to the museum, in exchange for a special behind-the-scenes tour. His mother Mary added, “Now it’s hard to dissuade him from picking anything up that he sees in the natural world.” What will he find next?

Copyright 2021,