Geological Survey Intern Finds Rare Fossil in North Dakota

The Associated Press

State officials say an intern with the North Dakota Geological Survey has found the fossil of an ancient marsupial that's never been discovered in the state before.

The Department of Mineral Resources says Bismarck native Sean Ternes discovered the jawbone of the Glasbius twitchelli. The department says the mouse-sized marsupial was among the first mammals on earth and existed more than 65 million years ago.

The fossil is only about half an inch long and is believed to be one of the most completed lower jawbones of the species ever found.

Senior paleontologist Clint Boyd says the find is "incredibly significant." He says fossils of the animal have never been discovered in North Dakota before and the discovery gives scientists new information when comparing faunas in neighboring states.