Bruno Debattista found the fossil while on vacation with his family in Cornwall last year. While Bruno and his family regarded the hefty piece of shale as nothing more than a neat beach find, experts have now declared it to be the ancient footprint of a horseshoe crab. Boffins say the crab would have inhabited a pre-historic landscape as the super-continent Pangaea was being formed.
Bruno, who attends Windmill Primary School in Oxford, first brought his fabulous fossil to an after-school group at Oxford University’s museum of Natural History.
Speaking to The Independent, education officer at the Museum Chris Jarvis revealed:
“Footprints of this age are incredibly rare and extremely hard to spot, so we were amazed when Bruno produced them at our After-School Club.
“Still more impressive is the fact that Bruno had a hunch they might be some kind of footprints, even though the specimen had some of our world expert geologists arguing about it over their microscopes!”
Experts believe the footprints in the artefact date from around the Carboniferous period, an era which occurred an incredible 308 – 327 million years ago. It is believed the prints were left behind by a pair of mating horseshoe crabs. The crabs are one of the oldest species in the world.
Unwitting archaelogist Bruno has chosen to hand the fossil over to the Museum where it’s expected thousands of people will see it every year.