Man Finds 12-Million-Year-Old Crab Fossil On New Zealand Beach

It looked like little more than a rock, but further examination revealed an ancient fossil hidden inside.

I love the beach. I blame it on the fact that astrologically, I’m a Cancer. But whether that’s actually the reason or not, I can’t get enough of the beach. I particularly love taking walks on the shoreline, and it’s a bonus if there are rocks or tide pools nearby, because you never know what you’re going to find when you’re walking along the water’s edge.

In addition to some pretty cool shells, I’ve been lucky enough to find an intact sand dollar – at night! I had taken an evening stroll on the shore and there it was. Sadly it broke when I tried to take it on the move from California to Ireland.

Photo: YouTube/Mamlambo Fossils

But a couple of summers ago in Donegal, I found a tiny sea urchin shell as well as a tiny starfish while walking on the beach. I like to think that was the universe’s way of making up for the broken sand dollar.

While I’ve found some pretty awesome items at the beach, I’ve yet to find a fossil. However, an amateur paleontologist living in New Zealand managed to stumble upon a pretty cool find in the form of 12-million-year-old crabs while at a beach in Christchurch.

Photo: YouTube/Mamlambo Fossils

He had no idea that they were crabs at first glance since the prehistoric crabs are hidden inside rocks that resemble giant pebbles. However, with the use of some special tools, Morne – who is also known as Mamlambo on YouTube – was able to chisel away stone in order to reveal his increasable find.

The entire process took him about 10 hours to get to the crab fossils inside. He identified them as Tumidocarcinus giganteus from the mid-Miocene period. But these crabs aren’t his only finds as he found a 50-pound fossil crab 2 years ago!

Photo: YouTube/Mamlambo Fossils

On his YouTube channel, Morne wrote about his process, saying:

“I was starting to feel confident in my crab prepping skills, so I decided to make a start on the best fossil crab I have found so far. It started off badly as I prepped the bottom of the crab first and had to start over again on the other side of the concretion. I was using a combination of an angle grinder and a chisel to remove the bulk of the rock but it was very slow going. Luckily, my large air scribe, the Motovator, arrived and made a HUGE difference. It removes about ten times as much rock as my other scribe does in the same time.”

Photo: YouTube/Mamlambo Fossils

Morne worked more than 250 hours on his crab project – including the making and editing of his video footage. As for how much his crab fossils are worth? One might be surprised to learn that the most valuable thing about them is the time and energy that he puts into their discovery and restoration.

Still, to him they are priceless as this is purely a passion project for him.

Watch the video below:

What do you think? What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever found at the beach? Let us know!