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Found 68 results

  1. Collecting Case for the Car

    I love to use Plano plastic trays to store fossils at home or when I am in the field. Today I stopped at the Plano Outlet store in Plano, Illinois. I pass by Plano all of the time and never put it together that Plano, Illinois is where Plano Manufacturing was located- go figure, but enough about that. I stopped here last week to check it out and went back again today to get the below pictured item, I got it for $34.99, which is about 1/3 of the price on line, outlet stores are alright by me. I figure that I will keep the case in the car when I am out collecting and I will place fossils into the trays as I collect at different sites. The top opens up and I can store chisels, super glue, plastic bags, safety glasses or even a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. On either side of the top, there are these two storage areas. The case opens up to expose 7- Plano trays of different sizes, that pull out for easy access. There is 1 tray that is the largest and deepest that fits on the top of the rack. Underneath that, there are 3 trays that are thinner. On the left side of the case there is one case that slides in and out. On the right side, there are 2 thinner cases that slide in and out. On the back of the case there is another storage area where I could slide another case. Lastly, on the bottom there are 4 sticky rubber pads that will keep it from sliding around. I really hope that this case works out well for me, and at the price I got it for, I cannot loose.
  2. This has come up a bit around the forums lately, and with the shopping holidays just around the corner, I figure it is a good time to open up this can of worms! Well that and I am buying up equipment for my new earth sciences students to use, so might as well dig two trilobites with one hammer... But first, a few disclaimers: I will use brand names for some items. This is not an endorsement, but a statement on quality/price/durability, etc. With tools, not all manufacturers are the same. Why buy junk ten times, when you can buy the pro-grade once the first time? Also: Everyone has their personal preferences and different sites require different tools for the job. (Example: I bet I'm the only one that carries a "emergency pack" that can keep me alive for 72 hours in most situations for a fossil hunt and I think the paleo pick makes a better automotive tool.) There is a certain amount of opinion, personal preference, and experience involved in getting the right tools for the job Last: I am not going to talk about backcountry and general outdoors safety in detail (for the most part). I am not going to discuss your local laws and such unless my tool suggestions might get you into trouble. There would be too much to cover. This is mostly about tools. This guide is intended for those new to the hobby, not those of us that sweat trilobites and poo T-rex teeth. Next up is SAFETY SAFETY SAFETY. Thou shalt not be Mike Rowe (Mr. Safety Third) Please refer to this excellent thread on how to use rock tools safely: Fossil Hunting Field Tools for Beginners: The Basics- All you really need is eyes and hands for most fossil hunting trips. A bag, satchel, or pack is handy to put your finds in. A pocket knife and a couple of old screwdrivers are handy too. Dressing for the climate and weather is also very important. Prepare for insects ahead of time. In snake and scorpion country, wear the proper gear. Know the law before you go. Never ever ever go out alone. It is dangerous and boring to do so. Always let other folks, not on the excursion, know where you are going. Write a schedule/itinerary and leave it with someone you trust with your life. Stick to said itinerary without exception. Leave the solo excursions to us anti-social nihilists. Use maps and learn how to use a compass. Smartphone based apps will get you lost and dead. Period. GPS units are OK if they are designed for backcountry use. Automotive "GPS" is no better than smartphone apps...and will get you lost and dead. And don't think you thousand dollar backcountry GPS with Iridium Satellite subscription is going to save you...they are only good till the batteries die... and, in my experience, 99% of users do not know how to use such gadgets properly. Really smart beginners hook up with the local fossil/rockhounding club and limit their first few excursions to those with the club in order to learn from the more experienced. No website or book can do that. In my opinion, channel your internal Indiana Jones, and wear a wide brimmed hat. Look the part and keep the sun from scorching you to death. In addition to the above, the most important bits of gear these days for beginners is a smartphone (or other camera) and a tape measure for those finds you can't take with you. A camera and tape is also handy to collect information about where you found it and in what member of what formation to help with later identification. Bonus points for turning location data on on your smartphone camera so that the location data of your finds is imbedded. Why carry a notebook when you have a computer in your pocket anyway? For folks in the United States: Buy a tape measure that has both imperial and metric units on it. Paleontologists, geologists and all other scientists use metric measures. If you need help identifying something from photos later on, a metric scale is crucial. Also, you won't have to do arithmetic with fractions out in the field or try to remember which mark is 32nds and which mark is 64ths. While I learned how to think in metric decades ago, I use this exact tape measure in the field: Please take notes about your finds. Where are you? What Formation? What Member? What other rocks and fossils where around where you found it? What is the date and time? All of this stuff can help the pros help you later on if need be. Finally, use the right tools for the job. A geology pick is not needed on a sandy beach. A shovel does you no real good in a shale quarry. A big bucket can be more useful than a back pack. Think before you pack, in other words. Enough of that. Now that we have covered the first tool (your brain and how to use it) let us discuss the actual tools! Hammers- There are three basic types you will need, depending on what and where you are fossil hunting. rarely will you need all three at the same time, but it is a good idea to have them in the car, just in case. #1 Geologist's Pick These are the industry standard for a reason. There are two basic styles, the modern and the traditional. Both are available in a variety of weights and sizes. I prefer the modern 22 ounce (about 624g) size for general use. If you carry a lot of gear, or have small hands, you will want the smaller weights. If you are going to be swinging for long periods, the long handle version will benefit you. Keep in mind that there are size limits on the tools you can use. In the US on public lands in particular, you are better off keeping the 22oz and skipping the bigger stuff. Also, do not make the mistake I made in Arizona a decade back and have these tools out and visible in driving compartment of your vehicle. Some law enforcement folks consider this stuff "weapons" and they can make a simple tail-light out become a real fiasco... Keep your tools in the trunk or toolbox, or in a backpack or such to prevent headaches. #2 Mason's Hammer This is basically the same thing as the geologist's pick, save that it has a chisel head rather than a pointy head. These are best for you shale splitters, though like the pick, it is also a handy tool for moving around soft stuff. Again, I call out the Estwing here. My granddaddy, the life-long union bricklayer stated "If it ain't no Estwing, yinze jus' wastin' yinze money." That review was good enough for me. Also, one gets what one pays for. I tried to be cool and buy the cheaper stuff and...well...this brand is worth every penny. I have a box of broken, damaged, and useless albeit cheaper tools to prove it. #3 Breakers, Smashers, and Kabonkers (the scientific terminology) I'm lumping these all together as they all serve the same purpose: Smashing stuff or driving a chisel. Personally, I prefer a ball peen, a deadblow, and/or a sculptor's mallet, but this depends on the rock I plan on breaking. DO NOT USE CLAW HAMMERS OR THE ABOVE SPECIALTY HAMMERS TO DRIVE CHISELS! They are not designed for metal to metal strikes and are a surefire way to get access to the glass eye/can't get through airport security club. Plus, the lack of depth perception makes later fossil trips a bit more difficult. I prefer the mini-sledge for smashing open stuff. I prefer a sculptor's mallet for driving chisels. I prefer a deadblow for all my other kabonking needs. These can be had on the cheap. These images are the exact ones I use, a reverse image search can direct you to a source. Next: Loved by pros, oft ignored by newbies.... The paint brush. Yup. Same one you would use to paint your kitchen or bedroom. Again, there is a range of personal preferences here, but in the field I carry a couple of cheap, disposable chip brushes and a synthetic angle brush (AKA a sash brush by painters) depending on where I am headed. If weight is an issue, I take chip brushes. Sash Brush Chip Brushes Next up are chisels. Safest bet is Masonry chisels, followed up by Stonecutter's chisels. You can get by with "cold" chisels for fieldwork, and many folks do, but they are designed for metal work and will not withstand rockhounding as their purpose made counterparts will. You will need to take along a file to keep cold chisels sharp. Most non-specialty masory chisels are no more expensive than their metalworking counterparts. Pictured are the exact masonry and stonecutter chisels I use. There are also specialty chisels available for splitting shale. They are a necessity for anyone into such work. They are made from hardened tool steel. They are thin, sharp, and precise. Another is called the "gad pry" and is invaluable for quarry for work and the like. It is a bit heavy though, and only the Estwing is rated for stone work. It gives you all the benefits of a chisel and crowbar in one tool. Next up is Digging Tools First and foremost: If you are new to the hobby, know before you go. On US public lands and many other places, most sites are "surface collecting with minimal disturbance only", meaning, it is a violation of the law to dig. For general fossil hunts, I quit carrying around entrenching tools, folding shovels and the like years ago. They are heavy and I almost never needed them. However sometimes one needs to move a bit of soil, and I prefer the "hori-hori" also known as the garden knife. There are lots of them on the market, but only one meets my standards: The A.M. Leonard Deluxe. They sell these as "stainless steel" but they are not. They are Italian INCONEL steel, and will surface rust/patina a bit if not properly maintained. However, I can tuck this guy in my boot or belt, and when used with a geology pick, I rarely need anything else. I use the version that does not have the useless gator serration edge. This is not a sharp knife, it is a digging tool. The serrated edge is handy for cutting weeds and roots in the garden but merely a pain in the gluteus maximus for rockhounding. (sometimes literally) Other popular digging tools for fossil hunters: The classic entrenching tool, also called a council pick: The classic military folding shovel, often (mistakenly) called an trench tool by The Estwing Paleo Pick is also popular* civilians and a latrine tool by military veterans. *Please note that the paleo pick is illegal in many public fossil hunting areas in the USA as it is bigger than the size standards set by law. As of 2020, it appears Estwing has shortened the handle to bring it into compliance, but to be frank, I find this tool to be too heavy and too bulky to carry all day and it doesn't do anything my geo pick and hori-hori can't do. I keep mine in my car in the winter for snow emergencies these days. The last Item I'll discuss are sieves. Apparently, Sifting for micro and macro fossils has become popular in the last decade or so. Sifting isn't just for paleontologists and lonely kids in the middle of nowhere with nothing else to do anymore! It is hard to suggest sieves to beginners. Different sizes are needed for different locations. The most basic is just a few sections of "hardware cloth" in various sizes. This is also sold simply as "wire mesh". It is cheap and you can cut it however you like with scissors. When I was a barefoot farm kid back in the 70s and 80s, I would use a can opener to remove the bottoms of coffee and soup cans and duct tape sections of hardware cloth over the hole. Now one has a combination scoop and sieve for use in lose soil, beaches, and such. Depending on where you live, you can get this product in metric sizes too. This stuff is just galvanized mild steel, so it will rust after a while due to abrasion. You can get other sizes in brass and stainless steel and even copper, but they will cost you. The best way to use this stuff is start big and work down to small. I won't go into detail as the interwebs are full of how to videos for the techniques you can find on your own. These days, I splurged a bit a bought a cheap set of sieves made specifically for the earth sciences. Thanks again to the interwebs, you can get very nice sets for really very little money. I use eight mesh size version of this exact set: It can be had for as little as 30USD if you search a bit. Many vendors sell them for three times that...so it is worth the extra effort to find the affordable ones. They are all made by the same overseas manufacturer and feature stainless steel mesh and ABS plastic. They also nest into a pack friendly stack. They are very light weight and a big improvement over my garbage bag full of duct taped coffee cans... If you have money to burn or live in mining country, you can find professional sieves at thrift and antique stores, industrial auctions, etc. . I don't recommend these to beginners as they are heavy and have sharp edges, but they are beautiful to look at and can provide bragging rights. A brand new set of these will set you back at least a few hundred USD. Used ones can be had in mining country for just a buck or two a piece. So, there you have it, an sensory overload of goodies to use in the field. Just remember, all you really need is your eyes, hands, and a bit of common sense, but as with many hobbies, the more you get into it, the more you want the right stuff. Good hunting.
  3. Plastic Field Collecting Case

    I am always looking for different cases to take with me when I am collecting fossils (Non Mazon Creek). I picked this nice little, thin (2”) plastic carrying case. This case will be perfect for collecting road cuts that contain different species of fossils. I can’t wait to try this one out. Purchased at a large box home improvement store for $5.99.
  4. Since I live so close to the famous Morrison Formation I thought I would start doing some research on what it's like to fossil collect in it because I'm seriously considering finding a way to gain access to some private land and do a little bit of collecting. I have heard it said once that the rock of the Morrison is hard and requires special tools to dig in, and that consequently it's impossible to prospect for fossils in the Morrison the same way you would in, say, the Hell Creek Formation. How true is this? Is the only way to fossil collect in the Morrison to be in a quarry? My plan for gaining access to land to collect on is to simply ask landowners if I may fossil collect their in the same way that a hunter might ask a land owner if they can hunt on someone's land. I understand that the more committed of us fossil collectors will do this to gain access to collecting sites, but is there any reason why I should avoid this approach regarding collecting on the Morrison? Thanks for any information anyone has.
  5. Comfort for my Elbows

    Today was I was in a large Home Improvement store and in the flooring section I saw these cool little 8” by 8” pieces of carpet. Right when I saw them, I could see myself lying on the ground at St. Leon, Indiana, looking in the butter shale for trilobites and complaining about rocks digging into my elbows. I will place a couple of these in my pack when I collect. They don’t weigh anything, can be used for my elbows or knees and the best part is- they are FREE.
  6. Field Collecting Container

    Today I picked up this cool, handled container at a local hardware store for I believe $16.00. This will be perfect for me when I collect in Southern Indiana. I can separate the fossils by species as I find them.
  7. You thought I was done? NOPE! Here are some localities in the US. Some of these are going to take some searching for. http://fossilspot.com/index.html
  8. Some Virginia Collecting Localities

    http://fossilspot.com/STATES/VA.HTM Happy Hunting!
  9. I have had to move to different collecting localities due to coronavirus. I used to find new, promising, localities. I hope it will help you as much as it has helped me! https://paleobiodb.org/#/
  10. Ethics of Fossil Collecting

    So I briefly spoke to a palaeontologist during a Q&A session he held a while ago on his Instagram page, and I asked him what his favourite fossil was that he had or currently owned. His responses were essentially that he believes that fossil collecting is unethical because it can hinder science by hiding important finds away in private collections and prevent the public from seeing some specimens because museums sometimes cannot pay the exorbitant prices that the market creates. I’d like to hear your opinions on this issue, since this forum is essentially full of collectors. As a collector, I’m somewhere in the middle of, “nothing for anyone but scientists” and, “it’s fair game”. Especially when you factor in things like private land, should the government be able to rip Dino bones out of someone’s property that someone essentially unknowingly paid for when obtaining said land?
  11. How do I Begin Collecting?

    I’ve already bought a few specimens, but I haven’t really collected fossils personally. What do I collect first? Where to collect? What to look for? How do I identify a promising collecting spot? I want to collect fossils without having to travel beyond my state, Virginia, (obviously due to ‘rona.) Obviously this may not be the best time to leave the house, but I want to at least be prepared for when we are released from quarantine! Already have a the basic collecting tools I just need to know how to use them (any specific techniques, or is it basically the same as when your mineral collecting?)
  12. Punta Cana Fossils

    Hi in my post Varadero fossils By dinosaur man, December 29, 2019 in Questions & Answers i said that in February I will be going to Cuba. But since then plans have changed and March 6th I’m leaving to the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana. And i was wondering if there are any fossils that I would be able to find in that area, and if I can collect, or are the laws like Cuba too! Thank you!
  13. “@Monica Yes, there are just so many fossils here that now only the best material is actually collected. This usually means anything articulated or reasonably complete. Isolated bones like the ones in my pictures are all pretty much ignored, which is sad, as yes they will inevitably just erode away. I think there needs to be a better system personally. It doesn't make sense to just let these great fossils be destroyed by the elements. But if collecting was allowed how could it be regulated to make sure only expendable material was taken? And how would you stop people then selling those bones for a profit? It's a hard situation, you want to save the fossils, but letting collectors take things opens up a bunch of other issues as well.” @Paleoworld-101 I have a idea for this. What if they would have a setup of some sort at the entrance of the park where the park staff would check to see if you have collected any valuable specimens. If not you would have legal ownership over the fossil, they would do this to teach people about there fossil recourse and so the fossils would not sit there and erode away over time since they would be able to bring some fossils home and learn about them. Keeping the good specimens to the Palaeontologist but the other fossils that are no use to the Palaeontologist to the guest preventing these fossils to erode away and keeping all Paleontological and geological recourses and history. This is just something I was thinking after reading this in @Paleoworld-101s topic probably won’t happen though.
  14. How to hunt for fossils in Ohio

    How to hunt for fossils in Ohio By Sara Welch, Farm and Dairy’s online, December 31, 2019 https://www.farmanddairy.com/top-stories/how-to-hunt-for-fossils-in-ohio/592400.html Yours, Paul H.
  15. Hi everyone, I will be in Phoenix for a conference next month and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for quick collecting trips. I have a day to spare prior to the meeting. Thanks for any thoughts Chris
  16. Fossil Collecting/Hunting laws

    I was wondering, especially being new to hunting and collecting fossils. Can you legally collect fossils, such as shark teeth on state and public land? My Geology profession told me that it is legal to go and collect fossils from state and public property without a permit. I just want to make absolute certain that what he said is true, before I go out and start collecting. There are a few rivers and creeks that I have passed that have really nice sedimentary layers, which scream fossils. I do live in Bedford, Texas, so I am not aware of the laws about legally collecting.
  17. Bowmanville - Spring 2019

    From the album Field Comrades

    The B-ville Wrecking Crew, Spring 2019.
  18. Is anyone here familiar with a company by the name of "Fossils: Nature's window on the fourth dimension"? Our collection has some specimens with this label, but nobody is familiar with the title's significance. I'm trying to determine when and by whom they were established, which regions their fossils were collected from, and when they dissolved (if no longer active). Thanks!
  19. Washington DC- where to Hunt?

    Hi all, I'm going to be in DC for 2 months this summer. Does anybody have any recommendations for collecting localities in the area? I'll be kinda limited in terms of where I can go bc I wont have a car.
  20. I was recently collecting down on the south fork of the nemaha river, looking through the glacial till gravel, and discovered this very well preserved jawbone. I am unsure of its age or species. Any information would be great to have. I can post other angles of it if needed
  21. Spanish Fork Canyon

    Has anyone been to the Spanish Fork Canyon near mill creek for collecting Eocene shells recently. Is this area still accessible off skyline drive?
  22. Collecting trilobites

    Hey! This might be the wrong thread/topic but here it goes. I recently started collecting different species of trilobites. It would have been interesting to see what species others have collected and whether you can refer to some species in a medium price range that is worth collecting. I have a desire to compile a list for myself with different species that I can follow. Someone who has / knows about fine trilobites that are worth collecting? These are the species I have collected so far: - Flexicalymene sp (morocco) - Flexicalymene retrorsa - Coltraneia oufatensis - Hollardops mesocristata - Hollardops sp. - Ductina vietnamica - Elrathia kingi - Different phacops sp. - andalusiana cambropallas - Some unidentified species (will be posting pictures, some of you probably know) Thanks!
  23. The kids are on spring break next week, and we'll be spending some time in the Tampa area with family. My son (8) and I will probably try to take a day to go to the Peace River. If anyone is interested in joining us, let me know. I've collected ther several times, but it's probably been over a year, and I'm not an expert by any means. I'm not sure exactly which day we'll be able to get away. It will probably be Monday or Thursday. I have a kayak.
  24. Below is an odd study that should amuse fossil collectors. Apostolou, M., 2011. Why men collect things? A case study of fossilised dinosaur eggs. Journal of Economic Psychology, 32(3), pp.410-417. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/227419210_Why_men_collect_things_A_case_study_of_fossilised_dinosaur_eggs https://www.academia.edu/1005561/Why_men_collect_things_A_case_study_of_fossilised_dinosaur_eggs https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0167487011000286 Yours, Paul H.
  25. I have been on the market for a large Mioplosus for about 3 years. The largest in my collection now is a humble 11". I was wondering if anybody knew someone that was selling or trading for a larger Mioplosus.(Preferably over 15")
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