MANSFIELD, Texas, April 8 (UPI) -- Researchers said bones discovered by a 4-year-old boy next to a retail center that was under construction belonged to a dinosaur 100 million years ago.
Tim Brys, a zookeeper at the Dallas Zoo, said he and his 4-year-old son, Wiley, were hunting fossils next to the Sprouts grocery store in Mansfield while the retail center was under construction in September when the boy made the discovery.
"We were finding some fish vertebrae in the hillside, and then Wiley walked a little ways ahead of me and came back with a piece of bone. And I paused and was like, 'OK, where did you find this?'" Brys told KXAS-TV.
"My dad told me it was a turtle," Wylie told the Dallas Morning News. "But now he's telling me it's a dinosaur."
Several other bones were foundnearby and researchers at Southern Methodist University's Digital Earth Sciences Laboratory in Dallas said the bones came from a dinosaur and are an estimated 100 million years old.
Researchers said the bones are thought to have come from a member of the Nodosaur family, a group of herbivores that lived in the late Jurassic to early Cretaceous periods. The dinosaurs measured about 15 feet long and had hard plates on their back.
SMU researchers said it took several months to get the proper permits to dig at the site and work began Friday. Dale Winkler, a professor of paleontology at SMU, said researchers will search the area for more bones for about a week before allowing the construction crew to come in and finish their work.
Winkler said scientists will attempt to assemble the bones once they are all gathered together at SMU and cleaned.
"It would definitely be months before it will be clean, maybe even longer," Winkler said.