Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fossil hunting on the Peace River...

near Brownville Park, Florida was the objective of the day. The stream is incised into the Oligocene to Pliocene age sedimentary rocks of the Hawthorne Group, and various fossils are transported with the bed load gravels in the warm and shallow channel (click to enlarge):
Both marine and terrestrial fossil faunas are found by digging and sieving large volumes of sediment.  That's the Bu bro on the right with my niece and nephew working the sieves:
We were richly rewarded for the day's efforts.  In the image below, clockwise from top, is a dugong rib bone, a horse tooth, a juvenile megalodon tooth, a vertebrae, a skull fragment, and in the center, an alligator osteoderm:
My niece was particularly talented at finding dozens of tiny shark's teeth by hand-sifting the sandier sediment (but the larger megalodon tooth was found in a sieve):
If you engage in this activity I highly recommend Florida's Fossils by Robin C. Brown.   Indispensable.


  1. Glad you had such a successful day! I can't believe all the other fossil-hunters out there on the river yesterday. We only saw 1 other party of 2 folks when we went. Looks like perfect weather for your excursion. Did you go to more than one spot? Did you get tired of chucking dugong rib bones out of your sieves?

  2. We worked the gravel bar upstream of the boat launch at the park, and pretty much stuck to that area all day. Indeed, the most frequently found objects were chunks of bone, both large and small. As you can see by a subsequent blog post, we had so much fun we went back for more! Thanks for the recommendation.