Portage County man finds rare fossil in his backyard - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Portage County man finds rare fossil in his backyard


It's a rare find in a Portage County backyard.

Bill Wolosek of Rosholt found a fossil that scientists are calling a remarkable piece of history.

Two weeks ago, he was digging through his backyard when he noticed something out of the ordinary.

"I thought, wow," said Wolosek. "It must be fossil because it looked like an animal."

What he discovered was a piece of coral, a fossil that dates back more than 200 million years. Scientists say it was once a piece of the Great Barrier Reef that broke apart and traveled hundreds of miles until it stopped in his backyard.

"It was on the reef and then a glacier came and carried it," said Ray Reser, director of the Natural History Museum at UW-Stevens Point.

But the piece of coral isn't Wolosek's only treasure. During months of digging, he's found piles of hidden gems.

"I found rock with scratches of glacier in it, rocks that are polished round," said Wolosek.

Experts say you're more likely to find a diamond in Wisconsin than a fossil. So what's the secret? Sometimes it's as simple as knowing where to dig.

"It's cool to find something like this," said Wolosek. "Knowing you found something no one else could find."

But you can't put a price on this piece of history. Wolosek says the rare fossil isn't going anywhere.

"Might have enough someday for people to bring their family out and take a look at all this," he said.

For now, he'll just keep digging, hoping his next big hit strikes gold.

Geologists from UW-Stevens Point say they've found similar fossils, but they usually aren't in the Rosholt area. When Wolosek heard that, he said he was meant to find the rock. He hopes it might even be a bit of good luck.

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