Experts are left stunned as extremely rare 460million-year-old fossil is found in the Australian outback
- Patrack Nelson searched for fossila in the Amadeus Basin, NT, in early June
- He stumbled across an arthropod fossil inside a rock over 460million years old
- It was thought fossils from the Ordovician Period weren’t found in the area
A citizen scientist has discovered an extremely rare 460million-year-old fossil in the Australian outback.
Patrick Nelson and his brother explored the Amadeus Basin south of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory in early June when they struck it lucky.
Mr Nelson, who has discovered 12 fossils over the years, thought there were some in the area but he never believed he would find an arthropod fossil dated back to the Ordovician Period.
Patrick Nelson and his brother were exploring the Amadeus Basin south of Alice Springs in the Northern Territory (pictured) in early June when they made their find
He took pictures of the fossil and sent them to a few friends who also share an interest in palaeontology.
‘I was bouncing off the ceiling, once I sensed the excitement of those experts in the field I was pretty excited too,’ Mr Nelson told 9News.
Mr Nelson decided to donate his rare find to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.
Dr Adam Yates, the museum’s senior curator of earth and sciences, said this is the first time an arthropod had been discovered in the territory.
‘It’s fantastic for us, we don’t have many staff so we really do rely on citizen scientists to help build a picture of ancient Australia,’ Dr Yates said.
Mr Nelson, who has discovered 12 fossils over the years, thought there were some in the area but he never believed he would find an arthropod fossil (stock image pictured) dated back to the Ordovician Period
‘Nothing like it has been found in Central Australia before and we are excited to identify this rare find.’
He said the museum will conduct further tests and may put the fossil on display for others to see and appreciate.
Arthropods are invertebrates with jointed legs that make up about 75 per cent of animals on Earth.
They originated in oceans during the Cambrian period 530million years ago and adapted to changing environments so successfully they still exist in great numbers today.
Mr Nelson decided to donate his rare find to the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory (stock image)