Emily Baldry with the 160 million-year-old Rieneckia odysseus fossil, and the space she unearthed it with
But that was all five-year-old Emily Baldry needed to unearth a rare fossil thought to be more than 160million years old. Emily pulled the 9st specimen out of the ground at Cotswold Water Park in Gloucestershire with the help of her father Jon, 40.
The fossilised sea creature has a spiral-patterned shell with inch-long bristles jutting from it to ward off predators – and which inspired Emily to nickname it ‘Spike’. It was encased in a block of mudstone when it was found, so Emily passed it on to geologist Neville Hollingworth for restoration.
She was reunited with it on Sunday at the Gateway Information Centre near Cirencester, where Spike is on display.
Emily, from Chippenham, Wiltshire, said: ‘It is so exciting to see him. I was very happy when I first saw him and now he looks very shiny.’
Her father added: ‘It is breathtaking how much work has gone into restoring Spike. After it has been displayed here we will bring it back home but it will be tricky to store because we have small children and it is very spiky.’
Emily, now six, made the discovery in March last year during her first archaeological dig.
Dr Hollingworth, who spent a year restoring the fossil, said: ‘This is the first ammonite of this kind to be discovered whole in Britain. The rest have all been fragments.’
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