6-year-old Naomi Vaughan of Bend, Oregon had seen enough. Her older sister’s soccer game had been dragging on for some time now and she was getting bored.
She then wandered over to a sagebrush filled field next to the soccer field and began to poke around in the dirt. That’s when something caught her eye.
She had recently seen the movie “Moana” which has a magical necklace with swirls in it. A rock in the dirt caught her attention as it reminded her of this magical swirly rock.
Once she dug it up, she noticed it looked a lot like a seashell. After showing it to her parents, who later took it to paleontologists, they now know what it is. A 65-million-year-old ammonite fossil.
“She knew it right away,” said Darin Vaughan, Naomi’s dad. “I’m not sure I would have.”
An ammonite is an ancient sea creature that has been extinct for quite some time now.
How did a sea creature wind up in the high mountains of Bend, Oregon? According to Greg Retallack, director of paleontological collections at the University of Oregon’s Museum of Natural and Cultural History, ammonite fossils are common, but not in Bend.
In rare cases, ammonite fossils can fetch up to $50,000.
Retallack says that Naomi’s discovery reminds him of when he was young and found his first fossil, a shell on the beach. “This is how we all start,” he said. He immediately was interested in fossils and, “I never looked back.”
Retallack hopes to see Naomi at the University of Oregon someday in his paleontology program.
In other news, Louis the gorilla is famous for strutting his stuff at the Philadelphia zoo. Watch him in action in the next article below!