Young dinosaur hunter unearths bones

A six-year-old Norfolk boy has unearthed 120 million-year-old bones while hunting for dinosaur relics on a holiday beach, scientists have confirmed.

A six-year-old Norfolk boy has unearthed 120 million-year-old bones while hunting for dinosaur relics on a holiday beach, scientists have confirmed.

Owain Lewis, from Norwich, discovered the rare fossil, part of a flying reptile called a pterosaur, with his family at Compton Bay, near Freshwater, on the Isle of Wight recently.

The find comprises wing bones of the extinct flying reptile which soared above the skies of the island during the lower cretaceous period.

At the time, the area was a coastal lagoon occupied by crocodiles and dinosaurs.

Pterosaurs are rare finds as their bones are very delicate, like those of birds which means they do not preserve very well, according to Dr Martin Munt, curator of geology at Dinosaur Isle Museum in Sandown.

“We are very pleased that Owain brought the find to us. It reinforces our reputation as one of the main areas in the United Kingdom where anyone can discover rare dinosaur bones, just by going out for a walk on the beach.”

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Dr Munt said the fossil may represent an ornithocheirid pterosaur which had a four metre wingspan - a new species which was found at Sandown four years ago.

Alternatively, the bones may come from another type of oterosaur, istiodactylus which had an estimated wingspan of five metres, he said.

Owain, an Avenue First School pupil, and his father reported their find to the Sandown museum who sent them to the Natural History Museum in London whose experts will analyse the fossil.

Owain's mum, Kaye, said: “Most six year old boys are interested in dinosaurs but Owain seems to be exceptionally keen. He is always coming back with boxes of things he has found.”

Owain, who visited the Dinosaur Adventure Park in Weston Longville on a school trip, offered the following advice to would-be palaeontologists.

“You have to look at rocks really carefully and find the ones with the black bits in them Sometimes a stone can look normal but if you open it up you might find an ammonite which is like a shell.”

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