Saturday we went on a guided fossil expedition in the peace river. YES, in the river. (You mainly find shark teeth and bone pieces on these hunts sometimes Mammoth and other ancient land creatures teeth and bones) We drove up to Arcadia Florida about an hour or so north of us. There we had a 10 o’clock meet up, at the Winn-Dixie parking lot, with Mark Lentz of Fossil Expeditions Inc. . Once everyone met, there were 10 of us. We all drove two miles to the county park, and parked at the boat ramp. We then got our shovels, and sifters, and walked about 1/4 mile along the Peace river to our entry point. We had no idea what to expect, we did not know if it was a gentle grade into the water or right in to three feet deep. When we got to the entry point, Mark gave us our last minute instructions. The water will be a little chilly, but the air temp will be good. Also there are two alligators in the area, but they have not been a problem. With that we all proceded to go in. Yes, the water was chilly, but after a minute or two it felt better. Melissa, and a lady, stayed out a bit and took pictures, then they proceded to come in. We all were in the water at about 10:30 or so.
Tools of the trade, a long handled shovel and a home made sifter.
This is after about a minute or two in the water. Mark was giving us pointers on how to shovel and sift. You dig a hole in the sand bottom, past the first 6 inch layer of gravely material(where you may find some teeth), then another 6 inch layer of sand, then down to the good layer, where you will find bigger teeth and bones. Basically your digging a large round hole about 2 feet into the sand bottom, and it is not as easy as it looks. The sand is heavy and you are bending over, bringing the shovel up to the sifter person. Once you deposit your sand into the sifter, they shake it and that leaves all the gravel, and hopefully any shark teeth and bones.
It was a very nice day ,very sunny and about 75 degrees.
Hi missy ,i’m digging in the water, come join me.
All of us soon were finding some small teeth and fragments of bones and stuff. Mark would come by to each couple every so often and see what you had, and offer some pointers on what to look for. We were in the water until 3p.m. . Melissa and I were in the river about 4.5 hours. We did not get out for lunch, others did and they had a very hard time getting back into the chilly water. When we got out it was hard to move and bend our legs and ankles. We then walked the 1/4 mile back to our vehicles, and everyone took out there finds, and let Mark go over them to see what was found. Every one found ancient teeth, from different kinds of sharks. Also most every one found in one form or another bones and fragments of bone.
This is Mark, 35 years of guiding and a major figure in the fossil world. It was great to meet him. His trusty dog Darwin, he patrolled the banks looking out for gators. Missy was chest high in water as you can see by her shirt.
This is all of our finds, over 150 pieces.
Close up of all our fossilized bone, and a few tusk pieces, some are small to 3-4 inchs
Another close up.
These are worm holes. Made by ancient worms crawling through the mud and then they harden and fossilize. Ancient people painted them and made necklaces and bracelets out of them
All these pieces are from 1 inch to 3 inch or so, they are all pieces of ancient armor(Shell) from turtles, armadillos, and other creatures that had armor.
Close up of the armor pieces.
Whale tooth about 2 inch long
Alligator teeth, one on left about 1 inch long, on right almost 2 inch long
This piece is about one inch long x 3/4 of an inch wide, it is a very small piece of the top portion of a mammonth tooth.
The piece we found is similar to one of the small ovals in the bottom of the picture.
Ancient Alligator vertabra, about 1-1/2 inch round
Close up of vertabra
This is all of the shark teeth we found, from all kinds of different sharks, most an inch or so big. People do find 6 -7 inch teeth now and then but not this day for us.
Snaggletooth shark tooth, 1-1/2 inchs long, a good find
Sand-Tiger shark tooth, about 2 inch long, our best find, Mark showed it around to everyone.
Also in with all of our bone pieces, Mark found 3 or 4 pieces of Megalodon bone. About 3 inch long and narrow, he knew because of the way they were fractured. Megalodon, lived 60 million years ago. It was a giant shark, 60 feet in length and weighing over 100,000 pounds. He said we are now considered Meggies, in the fossil world, as we found fragments of bones.
It was a great and exciting day, and also a great learning experience into the world of fossils. We will do it again. We also bought his book “Megalodon, which he signed.
In the book I came across this verse which is fitting I guess.
“Seventy one percent of earth’s surface today is covered by water, and 80 percent of all lifeforms interact beneath the seas. The average depth of the oceans is 3,795 feet,(while land is 840 feet above sea level), and the deepest spot on earth is the Marianas trench in the pacific ocean, at 39,000 feet. This depth is deeper than the tallest mountain is tall. Ninety-five percent of all habitat space on our planet exist in the oceans. What a wonderful hiding place for a 60 foot shark that everyone thinks is extinct”