Boy finds fossil up to 500m years old in his West Midlands garden

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.

“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. I was really excited about what it really was.”

horn coral fossils
Siddak Singh Jhamat identified the fossil through a Facebook he is a member of. Photograph: Vish Singh/PA

Sid’s father, Vish Singh, said: “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. In that there were loads of little molluscs and seashells, and something called a crinoid, which is like a tentacle of a squid, so it’s quite a prehistoric thing.”

Vish Singh was able to identify the horn coral through a fossil group he is a member of on Facebook, who could see by its markings that it is most likely a Rugosa coral, estimated to be between 251m-488m years old.

“The period that they existed from was between 500m and 251m 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.”

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.

They added that they would like to tell Birmingham University’s Museum of Geology about their discovery.

Vish Singh said: “Lots and lots of people have commented on how amazing it is to find something in the back garden. 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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