A museum volunteer on a recreational hike stumbled upon what he thought was a simple pile of rocks, but turned out to be a far rarer find.
Jeff Dornbusch, a volunteer with the Truth or Consequences museum in southern New Mexico, saw a strange looking pile of rocks while on a hike nearly a decade ago — but he couldn't locate the exact spot he found them until recently. It turns out that those strange rocks remained intact and are actually the fossilized remains of a turtle that lived 90 million years ago, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports.
Thanks to Dornbusch, scientists and volunteers from the New Mexico Museum of Natural History excavated the turtle's remains last week.
The turtle is thought to have lived in a swampy environment tens of millions of years ago, during the late Cretaceous period. It will be taken to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History in Albuquerque for display.