Schoolboy, 9, discovers ‘very rare’ 200-million-year-old fossil on beach

Eli Morris, 9, described his discovery as 'just cool' - Glenn Morris/Wales News Service
Eli Morris, 9, described his discovery as 'just cool' - Glenn Morris/Wales News Service

A nine-year-old boy found a “very rare” 200-million-year-old fossil on a beach walk with his father.

Glenn Morris, 38, took son Eli on a day out to the beach to hunt for fossils together.

But Eli made a rare discovery when he spotted a preserved ammonite in the cliff face.

The prehistoric mollusc find measured a foot wide at Llantwit Major beach in the Vale of Glamorgan - and experts say its size is unusual for the area.

Eli, of Birchgrove, Swansea, said: "I was just sitting and I just looked up to see if there were any rocks falling and then I just saw that.

"I was thinking, 'Oh my God, that's big.' I'm just surprised. They're just interesting and I like their shape and the texture. It's just cool."

The rocks that form on the beach and cliffs are from the Jurassic period dating back up to 200 million years.

Schoolboy, 9, discovers ‘very rare’ 200-million-year-old fossil on beach - WALES NEWS SERVICE
Schoolboy, 9, discovers ‘very rare’ 200-million-year-old fossil on beach - WALES NEWS SERVICE

Glenn said he and his son often went fossil hunting but usually do it closer to their home 30 miles away.

He said: "We're always on the coast somewhere, usually down Gower way, but this was our first time here, so it was beginner's luck really.

"I was a bit of a nerd growing up and liked dinosaurs and rocks and the same things he's into to be honest and I think I've passed it on to him."

Schoolboy, 9, discovers ‘very rare’ 200-million-year-old fossil on beach - WALES NEWS SERVICE
Schoolboy, 9, discovers ‘very rare’ 200-million-year-old fossil on beach - WALES NEWS SERVICE

Eli also has a collection of smaller fossils he keeps at home.

Dr Nick Felstead, Swansea University's physical geography lecturer, said: "The fossil Eli found is an ammonite, which was a type of mollusc closely related to octopuses, squid and cuttlefish, which is a rare find at Llantwit Major.

"We can see that the inner chambers that would have been used for buoyancy of the ammonite have been infilled with quartz during fossilisation, which is even rarer, and makes this one especially pretty."

Eli says he loved fossil hunting but does not want to be a palaeontologist. He added: "I want to be a footballer."