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Found 261 results

  1. Weird skull. Catfish?

    Finally made it out to the Peace River yesterday - the river is still a little high at most spots, but this winter has been too rainy to be picky about the gauge height. We found some small teeth and the usual minor things - broken mammoth tooth plates, antler, scutes, dugong rib, etc. We did find one oddball thing that I am fairly certain is a catfish skull. At first glance, laying in place, it looked like a snake skull, but on closer examination it appears to be a fish. I did some Google searches, but most of the catfish skulls I saw looked a bit different than this. Gar maybe? Eel? or ?
  2. Peace River Camping?

    Hello All, I would like to take a group of families camping somewhere along the Peace River in Florida to hunt fossils. Does anyone have a suggestion for a campground, or even just a great spot for finding fossils? We don't necessarily need to camp. Thank you for any suggestions!
  3. Small Mammal tooth

    Hunting buddy asked of I could get this tooth Identified. TFF my only chance. Florida Peace River. The curved root seems rare. Maybe an incisor. I have not seen this previously but such a small fossil would easily be missed. Thank for any comments and suggested IDs. Length = 35 mm
  4. Florida's Peace River

    The Peace River of Florida (“Talakchopcohatchee” - River of Long Peas in the Creek and Seminole Indian language. Named for the wild pea-like plants that grow along the river.) The Peace River is a “blackwater” river. This means the water is a dark, coffee color that results from a high content of tannins. The riverbed cuts through peaty, organic-rich material which leeches into the water and turns it black. When this water runs shallow over rocks or pale-colored sand, it can be transparent like weak tea. This is especially true if the sun is directly overhead and illuminating the water. In places where the water is deeper, it becomes black and opaque. This darkening is enhanced wherever the river is shaded from sun. Depending on the time day, placement of the sun, degree of sky cloudiness, the depth of the river, and the composition of the riverbed, the water may have good or terrible visibility. This can vary over short stretches. You might be canoeing over sandy bottom that is only inches away from the tip of your paddle, then you go around a bend and the bottom drops away into the darkness and tall trees on the banks block out the sun. The bottom might still be inches away, or you might be paddling over a hole that is ten feet deep. The only way to find out how deep the dark stretches are is to probe the depths with your paddle and see if you can touch the bottom of the riverbed. The dark water also conceals snags and rocks. Fallen trees and rocky outcroppings are hidden in the murky waters. When the water is higher, one can paddle right over these obstructions without knowing they are there. During fossil-hunting season, the river is very low and this exposes most of the hazards, but creates new ones. Shallow runs through exposed rocks create rapids and eddies, which must be navigated carefully. Other times, the water is too shallow for paddling and one must climb out of the boat and drag it over rocks that are often slick and jagged. It is worth noting that some Florida limestone and chert nodules break with razor-sharp edges, so water shoes are a must when navigating rivers like the Peace. When the river height is low and the current is slow, it can be a leisurely paddle against the current going upstream. However, there are numerous places where the river narrows or flows over shallow outcrops, and in these places the current will increase dramatically and with little notice. In wider stretches, the current is usually more gentle, but the wind can often work against you, so one must be prepared to get some good exercise when paddling, regardless of which way the current is going. Even the trip downstream with the current requires a measure of awareness to avoid snags and navigate rapids. On some stretches you can leisurely drift and relax, and then on other stretches you need to pay attention and make correct decisions to avoid getting snagged or submerged. During fossil season (which is generally winter to early spring), the water is cold. It’s not freezing cold, but hypothermia is a real worry. I try to stay dry from my waist up. Having long legs helps in this regard. As long as my core remains dry, I can avoid hypothermia while doing prolonged wading in the cold water. My partner who dives down into the holes wears a rubber wet suit for insulation. This cold water is a boon for fossil hunters because it makes the native reptiles less active. When air and water temps drop, alligators and snakes go into a state of torpor. They are far less aggressive and less interested in humans. One must always be aware of their presence, but the danger of an unprovoked attack is extremely low during the winter. The Peace river runs approx. 105 miles as the crow flies from Bartow in the north at the source, down to Port Charlotte in south. Taking into account the twists and bends in the river, it is a 150 mile paddle from end to end. The river north of the town Zolfo Springs is considered the “Upper Peace” and below Zolfo to the south is the “Lower Peace”. Fossils can be found along the entire length of the Peace, but the most accessible deposits generally are found on the Lower Peace which cuts through the Bone Valley formation of the Hawthorn geologic group. To understand the type and composition of the fossil deposits in the area, one must consider the underlying geology. Along the Upper and Middle Peace, the riverbed is exposed limestone with accumulations of sand, clay, and gravel. Down the Lower Peace, the bottom becomes sandier with thicker sediments of clay and sand. At all points, there are limestone boulders and outcroppings that cut through the banks and riverbed. The banks on all stretches can vary between tall sandy bluffs to low rocky beaches. The banks in areas of interest to fossil hunters occur along undeveloped stretches of the river where the layers of the banks are eroding into the river. These layers alternate between Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene time periods when Florida alternated from being completely underwater (Eocene, Miocene, early Pliocene) to being above water in the late Pliocene to Holocene. Because these layers are laid down in succession, it is possible to find marine Miocene animals like Megalodon shark side by side with Pleistocene megafauna like Mammoths. By carefully examining the banks and riverbed, one can determine which spots might be worth hunting for fossils. In some cases, the fossils can be seen eroding from the banks. It’s not unusual to find a bone or tusk sticking out of the bank or laying on the bank at water level. In other cases, the fossils have accumulated in holes at the bottom of the dark river below the banks. Bends in the river, tree snags, and rapids also tend to trap and accumulate fossils. The presence of large gravel can also be a sign of fossil deposits nearby or transported by flood action. Heavy mineralized fossils tend to accumulate with gravel, phosphate pebbles, and limestone rocks to build gravel beds on the river bottom. These gravel beds can be productive if one doesn’t mind shoveling and sifting – which can be tricky underwater with a current flowing over your shovel. Another fossil clue to look for is shelly layers exposed in the sandy riverbanks. There are Miocene-Pliocene layers that are fossil-rich with marine fossils from the period when Florida was completely under water. The Bone Valley formation that the Peace cuts through has some of these deposits near the surface where they are exposed by the course of the river. You can see these layers if you look closely – they are a stark white line that runs between tan sandy layers and grey clayey layers. The presence of this white shelly layer guarantees the presence of Miocene marine invertebrates, and often contains Miocene vertebrates like Megalodon. These shelly layers are the source of most Megalodon teeth found in the Peace. They erode out of the banks, fall into the river, and are transported downstream where they collect in gravel beds, holes, and rapids. Teeth that are freshly exposed from the banks tend to have lighter and prettier colors. The teeth that have been submerged in the tannin-rich waters are stained dark black over time. Generally speaking, the Lower Peace is more developed and populated than the Upper Peace. Although there are occasional homes and farms along the river, there are also long stretches that are completely undeveloped and surrounded by pristine wetland wilderness. It is these undeveloped stretches that are the most productive for fossil hunting – both because the land is less disturbed, and there is less human traffic in the area (hunters, fishermen, boaters, other fossil hunters, etc). The stretches we hunt for fossils are largely uninhabited, except for occasional fishermen or kayakers passing through. These stretches are usually too shallow for any boat larger than a canoe or kayak, so you never see large motorboats or airboats in these areas. If you go further south to Gardner on the Lower Peace, airboats and loud bassboats are increasingly present and annoying. Although these annoyances do little to deter meaningful fossil-hunting, it ruins the atmosphere and serenity for folks like myself who enjoy the silence and immersion in nature. One can generally avoid these situations by staying far away from the nearest public boat ramps. While there are public access boat ramps dotted along the length of the Peace, there are also remote stretches that are miles away from the nearest ramps – these areas have a lot less traffic, people, litter, noise, and other signs of humans. In the quiet and pristine areas, it is very easy to forget that one lives in modern times and one gets a feel for what it must have been like centuries ago before man intruded on the Peace. There are numerous small creeks that feed into the Peace and some of these creeks are good for fossil hunting. However, many of these creeks extend inland into private property where hunting is not allowed without permission from the land owner. So, one must consider and navigate these creeks with a measure of caution and awareness that is not entirely necessary if one sticks to the main river. While we have hunted some of these creeks, we have not had good luck with them and have made very few significant finds in these creeks. Creeks of interest include Charlie Creek, Payne’s Creek, Bowlegs Creek, Whidden Creek, Joshua Creek, Shell Creek, and dozens of smaller, unnamed tributaries. Flora and fauna along the Peace are plentiful. Common sights include alligators, turtles, wading birds (cranes, egrets, etc), raptors (hawks, eagles, etc), snakes, deer, wild pigs, otters, and the occasional coyote. All of these animals live in the wilderness that surrounds the river and the shy species make their presence known with tracks and calls. Alligators are a constant in all sizes from babies up to 12-foot maneaters. In colder weather, they are very lethargic and do not pose a threat. They lie on the banks soaking up the sun and have little interest in the humans passing by. Snakes are also a constant presence, with the predominate venomous species being cottonmouth (water moccasins), rattlesnakes, and the coral snake. Again, in the cold months, these snakes present little threat, but one must be aware of them when flipping over rocks and reaching into holes. The predominate vegetation in most areas are the bald cypress tree, various pines, assorted palms, scrub oaks, and palmetto bushes. Vines and wildflowers are also present and provide a pleasant injection of color into the landscape when they are blooming. One favorite of mine was a big mound of Moonflowers that would greet us in the morning as we paddled away from the boat ramp. For practical matters, it is important to note that cellular service is spotty in the more remote areas. Cell phone service is 3G at best with only one bar of reception if you are lucky. Service is more reliable closer to towns and near the parks with boat ramps, but once you go a few miles down the river into the boonies, your cell service diminishes rapidly. If you have an emergency while out on the river, don’t rely completely on your cellphone. In most cases, first responders or rangers would have a difficult time locating and reaching you. There are no roads to these areas, no place to land a helicopter, and the river is too shallow for Marine Patrol or Game Warden boats. You are literally “on your own” when exploring many of the areas on the Peace. (End of Part One)
  5. A Peace River bone

    I have not been out too much this season, but the Peace River is certainly open for hunting. I went to a location that I had hunted many times, thinking I could recheck old sites for new fossils. I am currently water depth challenged, and the river was at least a foot deeper than I had remembered for this location. The day was mostly non productive with a minimal number of small shark teeth, a single armadillo scute, and then this bone. I came very close to tossing it back in but thought that ridge/groove down the side could be a marker for one of my favorite fossils. I always am on the lookout for that groove. I also might be imagining what I wish it to be, I have done that before. Although I encourage and appreciate all comments, Let's also see what Bobby thinks... @Boesse
  6. Big Bone with Weird marking on it

    Another Bone Valley Florida find, Peace River, Polk county, Hawthorn group. This large weirdly-shaped bone has a strange (to me) marking/pattern on it. Is this a big gator bone maybe? (it's the big "crab claw" shaped bone on the upper right). Second photo shows the opposite side with my hand for scale. Thanks!
  7. Peace River, Partial Jaw with Teeth

    These pics aren't the best. I forgot to put a scale object in the photo. I hurriedly decided to shoot these because the setting sun was providing some good lighting. This piece is small, about 1.5 inches in overall length. There is an alligator scute in the background for rough approx. size comparison. I am not sure if this is fossilized, but the teeth look familiar to me. Is this a juvenile of something larger? Thanks! (Peace River, Florida, Bone Valley formation, Polk county, Hawthorn group)
  8. Found this nicely-fossilized bone and I can't decide whether it's deer or something else. I seem to recall finding one similar to this a few seasons back, but I can't find it now and I cannot find any reference to it (I don't think I was posting here then). Does anyone know what critter this bone belongs to?
  9. I found this partial skull while hunting in the Peace River (Florida, Bone Valley formation). I am thinking it's either a raccoon or possum. Is there any way to tell? I am fairly certain it is not fossilized and it's pretty fragile.
  10. Went fossil hunting again in Florida's Bone Valley Formation. We returned to the Mammoth site where the large tusk section was recovered on the previous trip. After extensive searching in the area, no further Mammoth specimens were found. We still believe more of the beast is buried nearby, but this site is large and it's like looking for needles in a haystack. So, we are done with this site for a few months until the river drops further to allow better searching. We left the Mammoth site and continued downstream until we arrived at another one of our "honey holes" - a spot in the river that has previously produced numerous Pleistocene megafauna fossils. The site did not disappoint. We were likely the first hunters to arrive at it (it's too far downstream for casual lookers) and there was a lot of low-hanging fruit laying around. Josh proceeded to do some diving in the murky waters, and I waded around the knee-deep tea-colored water - doing a lot of the same bending and stooping that I do while shelling at the beach. The sun was directly overhead at this time, so it illuminated the coffee-black water and made it appear a tan tea color that was much more transparent. Things on the river bed could be easily seen. Lots of pebbles, logs, branches, clay lumps that resemble rocks, and fossils. All of these things are laying in a chaotic mess all over the riverbed in certain places. This lighting would not last, once the angle of the sun changes, the level of illumination drops and the tea colored water slowly changes to opaque coffee black. While the Sun was good, I found numerous bones including some vertebra and phalanges - the former is likely alligator and the latter is probably deer. Some of those appeared to be recent Holocene specimens and some were fossilized and were late Pliocene to late Pleistocene. Also found were numerous turtle scutes, some soft-shell turtle plastrons, some unidentified "chunkasaurus" bone fragments, a piece of Miocene coral with calcite replacement, and a strangely shaped bone of some kind. I left the best for last. Although not a fossil, I found an intact coyote skull that is in wonderful condition and has almost all of the teeth, including the canines. Also found was a partial small skull that is likely a raccoon or possum. These will clean up nicely and go into my growing collection of skulls. Footnote : strangely, we found NO shark teeth, which is very unusual for this site. Although, to be fair, we weren't really focused on shark teeth this time.
  11. Weird Bone, Bone Valley Florida Find

    This is an oddball that I am having trouble identifying. Does anyone know what this is? It was found in the Peace River, Bone Valley formation, Hawthorn Group, Florida in mixed Miocene/Pliocene/Pleistocene deposits. Black cube is 1cm square. Thanks!
  12. Hunting with Steve

    Summer is usually a drag for SW Florida fossil hunting. I was flushed out of the Peace River on May 28th and have not been back. So I was commiserating (generally whining) with my pretty constant (in season) hunting buddy Steve a week ago. What can we do,, what can we do? Steve was a drag line operator for most of 25 years in Bone Valley Phosphate mines and has lived within walking distance of the Peace River most of his adult life. So, he and I both made suggestions on a Florida Fossil Focused agenda for what turned out to be yesterday!! 1) Arrive at Steve's home and unidentified fossil museum to check out some of his treasures and maybe purchase a few of my favorite tiny horse teeth from the Miocene era phosphate mines. Here are just a few of my new tiny horse teeth.... 2) Take a road trip in the Vicinity of Fort Meade, checking out feeder creeks to the Peace River, to determine whether these smaller creeks present an opportunity for fossil hunting. I am not trying to dissuade anyone but it is worth your life to go into many of the creeks I saw. As an example, little Paynes Creek is normally 1-2 feet meandering thru the woods. We went over a bridge where it was a torrent 30 feet wide and 8 foot deep. Best to wait until that subsides. 3) We were on a historical trip back in time visiting the Phosphate mines from 30 years ago and 100 years ago, passing old rusting mine buildings, cemeteries where mine towns used to be and are not any more, roads that went nowhere, huge tracks of land with no trespassing signs from MOSIAC Company. Steve talked about places he work for decades that had perfect Red Megs that no one bothered to pick up because the money was in mammal fossils. He said that in the 1970s, anyone could walk into the mines searching for fossils. The owners did not care as long as you stayed away from buildings and equipment during working hours. Kids would go searching for fossils on Sundays. 4) We were in the area , so we stopped at the Phosphate Mine Museum in Mulberry Florida. Really interesting place, I liked the baby Gomph tooth, Rhino tusk, Croc, and dugong ribs... In that 1st photo above, that is a Drag line bucket from decades ago. The museum fills the area with pebble rock that contains small fossils and tiny shark teeth from the mines. There was a family with 2 kids digging for fossils. I was fortunate to have some waste fossils in my pickup that I gave them and they thanked me profusely. I am not selective when I hunt, I pick up almost everything that is not rock, sort it out at home and on my next trip back, dump it back in the river, so broken unidentified bones, dugong ribs, ray teeth, turtle pieces, etc, etc. Sometimes fragments of gator . mammoth, mastodon, horse teeth. 5) From the museum, we went across the street for the big mac meal with fries and a drink. And then back to searching for those feeder creeks and defunct phosphate mines. All in All , it was a better fossil day than I had in over a month. We talked about visiting more local museums (Bradenton, Clewiston, Ft Myers), Steve loaned me a book on Florida Artifacts and so I have a lot of fossils activities to do for a few weeks until I need another day, hunting with Steve.
  13. Well, I think I am done. I was out on Memorial day. The water was waist to chest level. I rarely go back to back days so Wednesday the 30th was possible. I had an interesting morning -- see below. 6 inches up was barely hand-able... We left a little after noon. Did find some neat fossils: This place is worth a return visit. Interesting open cavity at the end of the root. Very fragile #s 2,3,4. I know what these are... because I have seen them previously. I find thousands of the Asian clam ,an invasive species in the Peace River but I am hoping that @MikeR can identify this salt water clam from an earlier age. Then a Sawfish or Shark vert which are relatively uncommon. Finally, one I am unsure of: I have seen those "eyes" on the inside of a turtle shell... so I think that is what this is, although the shape is odd. See this thread. http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/71000-prospecting-trip/. This season started off slow and started picking up in December. I will miss going to the river, but it gives me time to sort , catalogue, and pay attention to other important facets of living. Its all good.
  14. Hunting between thunderstorms and deeper water. During the rest of the season, I note those places where I am finding fossils but have low water conditions...because of lower back issues, I generally refuse to hunt where I must bend over the screen. However, I do remember where such spots exist for days like today. An excellent day, some unusual, finds, a couple of megs, and then these: A odd bone, I have not previously found, but believe to be an Equus Splint bone: Another interesting fossil which I think most likely a large Sloth dermal scute. Finally, my best find of the day, a piece of jaw with a Hemiauchenia m3 molar in nice cream - brown colors.. These are really nice finds... but I was cherishing the end days of the 2017-2018 season with a friend on a day with sunshine in the morning and rain clouds later in the day. Does not get better than this... Jack
  15. Its always Interesting

    The Peace River is a magic place, It always has surprises in store, even when I am finding little that is Spectacular!! Look at this selection found while hunting today. Some NICE Hemis, a flake from tool making, even a wild boar tusk (hollow inside and modern) and then The botryoidal translucent brown mineral growing on the fossil is chalcedony. Chalcedony often fills the empty spaces in fossils, especially wood and bone. Did I mention a calcified sea urchin spine .. NEAT !!! Even got 1 Meg (very 1st find of the day), and a couple of calcified Barnacles.... I have never found a calcified barnacle in 10 years of searching this river... I love the diversity of finds... something new i every sieve. And the water was cool and the sun was shining.
  16. Hello everyone been ages since I’ve visited this site so I figure I’d share a trip I went on Saturday. I went out with a good buddy of mine and a guy I haven’t met before to try Peace River. We put in at Wauchula and went a few miles from the boat ramp in our canoes. After a few hours of digging we found some interesting stuff I’ll include pics of what I found . This is probably my favorite find of the day, a giant stingray plate chunk, anyone ever see any like that?
  17. A couple of Canines

    A hunting partner asked me to ID this canine, approximately 1.25 inches. I think I know what it is because of the "ripple" in the enamel, but feel better if backed by TFF expertise. I usually search TFF and the internet for matches and saw an old TFF post from 4 years ago that never quite identified this tooth. This TFF thread discusses Peccary. In the above thread, @Harry Pristismakes this comment: With the wear facet on the outside of the curve, Gary, your find is an upper canine. That's what I seem to have , a very small peccary looking tooth with the wear facet on the outside of the curve. Are there other possibilities for the Peace River Miocene - Pleistocene mix? Thanks for the help, Jack
  18. An excellent and lucky day

    Today I went with 2 friends to a hunting spot that has been productive for months , but was beginning to run out of gravel that one of us had not sifted thru. Most of the morning we spent seeking gravel, and finding small shark teeth, turtle bone, footpads and spurs, a few pieces of mammoth tusk, dugong/manatee rib sections, a couple of baracuda teeth, and one !!!! horse tooth. The day did not improve for my friends. This is actually where LUCK comes in... We have an excellent hunting spot, all 3 of us are excellent hunters with great techniques, we are digging within 20 feet of each other. I got hot at noon; We packed up and left 2 hours later. These days are the ones I recall when I'm the one finding little/nothing. Given all these fantastic finds, you might ask which I liked best... The juve mastodon spit tooth...versus the 2nd Calippus I have ever found. http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/46940-three-toed/ I believe that this tooth is Calippus (16.25x19.25x20 mm) but maybe slightly larger than my Calippus Elachistus from May of 2014... Feeling good, Feeling GOOD and unbelievably LUCKY...
  19. Odd Shark Tooth

    I have suggestions of really large lemon, small mako and sand tiger without cusps, Help
  20. Some older fossils

    I was out hunting today, and found some unusual stuff for me. Example of a known is this Galeocerdo contortus . I do not find them with this level of preserved serrations. To me this means a likely Miocene location. So three (3) requested IDs First: Second: In a different location a week ago, I found the one on the left. Maybe concretion, with strange circular "pore"... but then the one on the right today. So this is something, possibly fossil or what? Last, A Ray mouthplate: Worn , very thin, Can someone id the specific ray? Thanks for all comments and replies. A VERY interesting day with many unique and unknown (to me) fossils.
  21. A couple of vertebrae

    Trying to identify 2 Verts from the Peace River, Florida. Initially I thought that the 1st vert was shark. It is unusual. Hopefully someone recognizes the big circular "hole"... The 2nd is beat up a little, maybe harder to identify
  22. What to keep

    Out today to the Peace River, Great day, great weather, good friends. Barely time to post a few photos of finds before going to sleep. Many of my co_hunters keep only the best and toss the rest.. I keep everything I find somewhat interesting. So a couple of group photos... In the 1st photo, a collection of Glyto stuff in lower right, a couple of very strange mammal verts that I might put up in the Fossil ID section tomorrow. Upper right is a unique Mammoth tooth fragment. 2nd photo has an Equus Phalanx on the right, a couple of lower hemis (38 and 45 mm) on upper left. A few more photos: Other side of Mammoth fragment: The backside of that round vert on right of photo #1, I have no clue on this one. and finally, a small chunk of coral with crystalized polyps. I have found these before and could track down the name. Some of these finds are relatively rare for me.. I also enjoy finding different stuff. Hope you do also Jack
  23. Posterior Meg?

    I found this at the weekend in a creek off the Peace River in Florida. It's pretty worn, but you can still see the serrations along the edge of the crown. My initial reaction was that it was a tiny posterior megalodon. It's only 0.5" wide however. Any thoughts? The bit that confused me was that it curls up slightly when laying flat (see third photo)
  24. Shark tooth ID - Florida finds

    Wondered if I could get a little help ID'ing these two shark teeth I found at the weekend in a creek off the Peace River, Florida. I found lots of nicely colored Lemon, Tiger and Dusky shark teeth over the weekend but these two were a little different Tooth #1 - This is the yellow tooth with the curved tip. This had the hallmarks for a Lemon with the flat root, but the very curved tip looked odd. Is this a pathological Lemon or another species? Tooth #2 - This looks like a symphyseal tooth but I don't think it's a Tiger as it's not got any fine serrations. Any thoughts. Both are about 0.5". Thanks in advance Attached to this posted is Tooth 1