LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A middle school student in Colorado made an amazing discovery while he was out hiking recently — a dinosaur tooth.
Eighth grader Jonathan Charpentier found a Tyrannosaurus rex tooth while out on a hike in southeast Boulder County.READ MORE: Scorching Heat, Strong Winds Brings Elevated Wildfire Risk To LA Region
“I never expected anything like that,” he told CBS Denver. “It caught my eye so I picked it up, but I had no clue that it would be a dinosaur tooth. When I got home and washed it off, then I knew it was not a rock, but something else.”
Charpentier turned the tooth over to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.
“I couldn’t believe it at first, I thought, ‘There’s no way it could be something that interesting’, but something that I felt said, ‘Send an email to the museum and see if they say anything about it,’” Charpentier said.
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The museum’s dinosaur curator Joe Sertich says Colorado is prime T-Rex territory.
“Based on the area where this tooth came out it’s what we call the ‘Laramie Formation’ which is between about 68 million and 68 and a half million years old, so it’s about 2 and a half million years before dinosaurs went extinct,” Sertich explains. “This is one of the last dinosaurs that lived here in Colorado.”
Charpentier’s discovery means a bigger dig for more dinosaur bones.
“It’s probably going to kick off a lot of new research, so we’re going to go back out to this area, maybe with Jonathan, and we’re going to collect more bones and hopefully there’s more of a T-Rex out there waiting for us to dig it up,” Sertich said.
Jonathan’s tooth will remain at the DMNS. The museum says it will always be credited to him, as will any other discoveries that it leads to.
Jonathan, meantime, has some advice for other people who like to get outdoors.MORE NEWS: Kathy Griffin Announces She Has Lung Cancer
“Be on the lookout for these things because you can really find them anywhere.”