4 Year Old Finds Nodasaur Bone

4 Year Old Finds Nodasaur Bone

Caroline Ives, 6th Grade, Features Editor

Last fall, in Mansfield Texas, a 4-year-old made the discovery of a lifetime. While searching for fossils with his dad, Wylie Brys found a 3-inch chunk of a Nodosaurus. After that, scientists began digging out the rest, uncovering more than half of the entire skeleton.

At first, the scientists did not expect to find much. The bone was found less than 300 feet from a busy road, on a hillside that had been scraped by a grading machine. Lots of different bones were scattered across the ground, and Wylie’s dad, Tim Brys, reburied the bones and took note of the site so he could come back later. After the bone was uncovered, the scientists assumed it was part of a Plesiosaur, whose bones were common in Dallas. After realizing that it was indeed an Nodosaur, the scientists were ready to uncover more, but they couldn’t until the owner of the land said they could begin. So, while the first bone was found last fall, the paleontologists could not begin their search until April 3 this year. Once the paleontologists started digging however, they were surprised. The bones had been scattered everywhere, so the scientists did not realize just how much of the Nodosaur was to be found. Only four other Nodosaur discoveries had been made in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and they had all been made before the 21st century.

 

The Nodosaur was similar-looking to today’s armadillo, despite of having no relation to it. They are both reptiles, herbivores, and are about the size of a small horse. The nodosaur is classified as a ankylosaurus dinosaur, a category for any dinosaur with four legs that is heavily built and covered with body plates for protection. The nodosaur was short, fat, and covered with armored plates. It had a soft underbelly and is said to have lived around 94 million years ago during the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. It was a very exciting discovery for everyone except for Wylie. He was not at all impressed by his discovery, and seemed not to realize just how important his find was. Wylie calls the Nodosaurus Ralphie, after his favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja turtle, while SMU paleontologist, Dale Winkler, who was involved in the digging that followed Wylie’s discovery, “Beach Ball”.
Wylie and his father have decided to keep looking for dinosaur fossils together. They do not know for sure that they’ll make another big discovery, but they will continue searching anyway.