Tournament Fisherman Discovers Possible 90-Million-Year-Old Fossil in River Bed

By author of The Realblog with Stephanie Mallory

At first the angler thought it was a large catfish or deer skeleton

An Elkhorn, Nebraska, man made what he says is the discovery of a lifetime when he stumbled upon a fish fossil in the Missouri River that could be up to 90 million years old.

Andy Moore said he wasn't doing very well while fishing in a tournament just west of Yankton, South Dakota, approximately 160 miles northwest of Omaha.

“I pitched my jig and it’s horrible. It’s like way left and I’m like, 'Oh man,'” he told 6 News WOWT.

Moore snagged his line on a rock, and when he paddled his kayak up to it to get his line loose, he spotted the fossil.

“I get up to it, and I’m like, ‘Oh wow! That’s kind of cool.’ I thought it was a big catfish skeleton or a deer skeleton. Something told me to take a picture of this.”

He later posted the pictures online and within minutes he began receiving text and phone calls. Someone with knowledge of ancient fossils contacted him.

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“It was like, ‘Uh, dude. Did you know that’s a 90-million-year-old fossil that’s in that picture?’ I’m like, ‘What?’”

Moore wanted to return and retrieve the fossil, but it’s illegal to take anything from the Missouri river bed. So, he contacted a biologist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. He and the biologist returned to the fossil using the coordinates from images on Moore’s cell phone.

“The geologist guy saw it, and he’s like — he just jumped out of the boat in his boots and goes up to it. And he goes, ‘Oh my god.’”

6 News received a confirmation from the biologist that the fossil does appear to be that of a prehistoric predator fish that’s up to 90 million years old.

“I’m still kind of mind-blown about the whole thing.”

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