One high school teacher has made a discovery of a lifetime while taking her dog out for a stroll.
Lisa Cormier was going for a walk with Sammy in Cape Egmont, Canada on Aug. 22 when she spotted something unusual buried in the ground.
"I saw something about two feet long with a strange shape," the 36-year-old said. "When I looked closer, I realized there was a rib cage. And around that, there was a spine and a skull."
She immediately knew it was a fossil but didn't know how old it was. She took photos and shared them with her family. Her mother-in-law forwarded the images to Prehistoric Island Tours and then other specialists.
Turns out, the fossil is probably around 300 million years old from a species that no longer exists, and it was likely a reptile.
According to geologist and paleontologist John Calder, the fossil appears to be from the end of the Carboniferous period and into the Permian period—a time before the Jurassic period when dinosaurs roamed the earth.
"Something like this comes along every 50 to 100 years," he said. "I thought, 'My goodness, it needs to be collected right away before more bits wash away.'"
Calder added that there weren't many specimens from the said time period, making the newfound fossil extremely rare.
An excavation team dug out the fossils, while the Parks Canada staff moved them to a facility in Greenwich for further study.