EE 4th grader discovers old fossil at Presque Isle

Posted on November 16, 2015, in Academics, Lancer Life

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Should Nicholas Walters ever want to pursue a career in paleontology, his résumé is off to an impressive start.

During a class field trip to Presque Isle State Park and the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, the Edinboro Elementary fourth grader made a nice discovery: an anterior ceratohyal bone.

According to Brian Gula, Environmental Education Specialist for Presque Isle State Park and the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, the particular bone is part of the structure of the gill function located within the skull of channel catfish. These bones are common and often found on the shores of Lake Erie because channel catfish are common and plentiful, Gula said, but Walters’ find remains particularly unique.

“What makes this bone so unique is when the student found the bone the color was black which indicates fossilization. This particular bone could be 10 or more thousands of years old which suggests Channel catfish in Lake Erie around the ice ages,” Gula said. “This type of artifact tells a story about our past. It reminds us that although something may be common, its story is very special.”

Gula sent the fossil to Scott McKenzie, Mercyhurst University’s Assistant Professor of Geology and Paleontology Director, so they can examine it to get a final age of the bone.

Presque Isle hosts many field trips throughout the year, and thousands of students learn and discover the park.

According to Gula, students often find some of the unique items that wash up on the beaches. Another student, for example, found a 2 million year old Sturgeon Scoot fossil in the same location.

Congrats to Nicholas on his unique find!