It wasn't all bad
He thought he tripped over a cow skull, but Jude Sparks actually discovered a 1.2-million-year-old animal fossil.
Now 10, Sparks came across the fossil while out with his family near their home in Las Cruces, New Mexico, last November. The Sparks family notified Peter Houde, a professor at New Mexico State University, who went out to the site and confirmed the fossil was of a Stegomastodon, an elephant-like animal. "I was real excited," Houde told ABC News.
The landowner gave Houde permission to dig in May, and a team extricated the remains, minus one of the tusks — Houde believes there could be more of the skeleton in the area, and wants to keep digging. Sparks' father, Kyle, told ABC News his son went through a huge dinosaur phase when he was younger, and he was "ecstatic" about making such a major find. Catherine Garcia