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Boy finds possible record-setting sand dollar on Florida vacation

The 11-year-old was visiting from Ohio when he found the sand dollar on a Florida Panhandle beach.
For those who want to experience the white, dunesy beaches of the Panhandle without the ethereal remoteness of some parts of it, Henderson Beach State Park is easily accessible from Destin and offers plenty of creature comforts

DESTIN, Fla. — Sand dollars can't be used as money, but one boy feels a lot richer after finding a big one during his Florida vacation.

The Northwest Florida Daily News reports 11-year-old Syler Elliott stumbled upon a sand dollar that may be the largest on record. His family says it measures about six inches across. Guinness World Records lists the largest recorded sand dollar at 6.299 inches at its biggest diameter.

“I thought it was just gonna be a little thing,” Elliott told the Daily News. “I feel so happy and excited about it.”

Elliott noticed the sand dollar Monday afternoon while on a boat ride with a couple of relatives. His dad urged him to dive into the water and bring it up, so he did. Elliott's family is keeping their sand dollar in a box until they can present it to Guinness for an official measurement.

What is a sand dollar?

Sand dollars look like shells, but they're actually animals. They're a type of sea urchin most often found on the ocean floor.

The Sanibel Sea School, which teaches children and adults about sea life, says there are ways you can tell if a sand dollar is alive. They have hair-like spines that help them move along the sand. A living sand dollar's spines are constantly moving. You can also figure it out by color. Live sand dollars range from a deep brown to a purplish-red color, and they also turn your skin yellow if you hold them while they're alive.

It is illegal to collect a living sand dollar, so be sure to look for the signs of life before you take one with you.

RELATED: Dead sand dollars on Florida beaches could be result of natural cycle, experts say

RELATED: Researchers discover biggest turtle that ever lived had 10 foot shell, horns

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