Boy, nine, discovers '200 million-year-old fossil' on Llantwit Major beach in the Vale of Glamorgan

A nine-year-old boy has discovered an ancient fossil, believed to be 200 million years old, on a Welsh beach.

The fossil was discovered on Llantwit Major beach, in the Vale of Glamorgan in South Wales.

Eli was walking the beach with his family when he made the discovery.

Eli's dad, Glenn Morris, told Sky News: "The giant ammonite fossil has been approximately dated at 200 million [years]."

Ammonites were shelled marine creatures - most closely related to mollascs that died out about 66 million years ago.

Mr Morris said "it's a very rare find due to its preservation".

The National History Museum in London has congratulated Eli on his find and told him to "keep up the good work".

"Growing up Eli has always been interested in all rock formations and unique looking items," his dad added.

"When we are out walking he fills his pockets, and often mine, with his finds, takes them back and puts them on display at home."

This was the first time Eli and his family had visited Llantwit Major and Mr Morris said it is one they will remember for some time.

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"This was the first time visiting Llantwit Major as a family and definitely one of the most memorable walks," Mr Morris said.

"He [Eli] has a very keen eye for details and loves the different colours and textures of all rocks.

"The larger fossil remains at the site but he took the smaller items home to add to his collection."

Dr Nick Felstead, a lecturer in physical geography at Swansea University, told Sky News that the area of the Glamorgan coast where Eli made his discovery "is quite well-known for its fossils".

But while ammonites can be found, "one the size that Eli found is pretty rare," he added.

Dr Felstead said that "the fossil itself tells us that it was a shallow, tropical ocean" and that this part of the coastline is "from the early Jurassic period which is about 200 million years ago".

"It's great to see the next generation of fossil hunters out on the south coast of Wales because it's a wonderful place to come and visit, to come and see loads of different species of fossils from different time periods and hopefully in the future that next generation will be responsible for the next big finds."