Chilean beachgoers become guardians of fossils

STORY: These Chilean beachgoers are guardians of Elasmosaurus fossils

Location: Algarrobo, Chile

A group of neighbors found strange remains

while strolling along Los Tubos beach on the central Chilean coast

They turned out to be fossils of an ancient marine reptile

that lived in the surrounding sea millions of years ago

(Andrea Galvez, Sports teacher and fossil finder) “I usually collect microplastics from the beach when I wander around on my board. That day, as I was getting off the board, I saw an uncommon rock; especially one of them was different from the rest, so it caught my attention. I took it, and I realized it was something very special. I immediately brought it to the San Antonio Museum so that the curator Jose Luis Brito could check it. Thanks to his expertise, he confirmed it was an Elasmosaurus bone.”

The loss of sand from the beach due to erosion

has allowed some fossil remains to surface

(Karen Moreno, Chile's Paleontology Association President) “Algarrobo is an exceptional place. It has fossils from the Eocene, 40 million years ago, and from the Cretaceous, over 70 million years ago. It’s a period from which we’re finding invertebrates and vertebrates, which are very valuable to understand more on our country’s natural history, that profound history.”

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