The 90-Million-Year-Old Discovery Made During A Simple Fishing Tournament

Andy Moore was competing in a fishing tournament when he caught something unexpected. Moore is an avid fisherman who loves being out on the water. When speaking to WOWT, an NBC affiliate, Moore spoke about his passion for fishing, saying, "It's the feeling you get when that fish bites your line. It's that primordial jolt you get in your spine, and it goes right to your brain."

Moore hadn't been faring well when one particularly bad cast into the Missouri River got snagged on a rock. "I pitched my jig and it's horrible. It's like way left and I'm like oh man," said Moore (via WOWT). Moore, in his kayak, went over to the rock to try to get his line free to continue fishing. Although Moore did not win the tournament he was competing in, what he discovered when he made it to the rock more than made up for the loss.

Unhooking his line

Upon making it to the spot where his line was snagged, Moore noticed something odd about the rock. "I get up to it, and I'm like, 'Oh wow! That's kind of cool.' I thought it was a big catfish skeleton or a deer skeleton. Something told me to take a picture of this," said Moore (via WOWT). Moore thought what he had found was interesting, but not enough to take his attention away from the tournament. When speaking to KETV, an ABC affiliate (above), Moore described his thought process: "So I go back, and I'm like click, click, done. Back to the tournament."

It was only after posting the pictures after the tournament ended that he learned what he had really found. According to KETV, Moore said that quickly after posting the photos online, multiple people reached out, telling him that what he had found wasn't simply a catfish or deer skeleton. After hearing this, Moore went one step further and sent the pictures to the Army Corps of Engineers, who control the river (via WOWT).

An ancient discovery

The Army Corps of Engineers put Moore in contact with a geologist who had a permit to excavate in the area, and together the two of them set out to find the rock again (via KETV). When they arrived back to the rock, after using coordinates from Moore's photos, Moore said, "The geologist guy saw it, and he's like — he just jumped out of the boat in his boots, goes up to it, and he goes, 'Oh my god'" (via WOWT).

What Moore had thought was a simple skeleton was in fact a 90-million-year-old fossil of a fish nicknamed the "bulldog fish" (via KETV). The bulldog fish, officially called Xiphactinus audax, could grow up to 20 feet long and lived in the late Cretaceous period before going extinct (via Daily Mail). According to KETV, the fossil will be displayed at the Lewis and Clark Center. This is one catch that Moore will never forget. "That's the whole cool thing about the whole story is an actual fishermen caught a prehistoric fish," said Moore (via KETV).