Mom Finds a Fossil

58 Million Years Old

* It's not unusual for the campers who go to paleontologist Peter Kranz's Family Dinosaur Camp to find tiny bits of fossilized shells and bones. But on June 25 they found something special: a 58 million-year-old skeleton of a big prehistoric reptile.

The campers were poking around in a stream bed near Fort Washington when Terri Fudala, the mother of one of the campers, saw a clump of rock "with two feet of bone" showing, said Kranz.

"What's that?" Kranz remembered her saying.

The Washington-based dinosaur expert knew the fossil's age because of the kind of rock it was in. And the only creatures that big at that time were reptiles.

The 150-to-200-pound rock may have fallen off the wall of the ravine five or six years ago, Kranz said. Paleontologists won't be able to say exactly what the creature was until they chisel away the rock and expose more bone and perhaps a skull, if one is there.

Kranz is hoping the Maryland Science Center in Baltimore will take the fossil and let visitors watch the experts work on it.

Peter Kranz, with helmet, has led fossil hunts for years.