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Found 5 results

  1. Believe it or not, not everyone is familiar with the world of fossil hunting. Sometimes we might attract the attention of the uninitiated while out collecting. "What is that person up too?" They might think. You could be hammering away at an outcrop on a public roadside or beach or turning up all dirty carrying your rock pick and a heavy pack in a car park. Through the years with fossil hunting and through collecting mud cores for work I've had this happen. The other day it was a group of surfers on a remote beach. "Are you looking for gold with that little pick axe?" This is is a common question as who might imagine that people would spend so much time and effort hunting for long dead things. Sometimes I wonder if I did spend as much time hunting for gold as fossils.... but this is what drives me and the reward is worth more than gold to me. Anyone else had to answer strange questions while collecting or have a common question they get asked? How did I answer the surfers? Did I lie and say, "No, not gold, diamonds mate!". I was tempted as they obviously thought I was one weird dude. I paused for a second and then explained what I was actually doing. Being surfers, they appreciated the stories of the long dead sharks (including mega sharks) that I've found on the beach. Through my job I do a lot of fieldwork and see this as a kind of outreach, we are ambassadors for our science when we are in the field. So, even though I've had much weirder questions throughout the years, I always try to explain what I am up to. Look forward to others stories.
  2. After hearing much excitement about Rowan University's Fossil Park in New Jersey, I finally managed to procure tickets to their once-a-year community-access dig. The park is from the bottom of the Cretaceous sea and is suspected to contain evidence of the big meteor event. They've found whole croc skeletons, beautiful full sea turtle shells, petrified wood and other beauties in this 8-acre pit. Shark teeth, shell steinkerns, and vivianite crystals are common finds. There were 1,500 tickets available for today. They sold out in 30 minutes a month ago. Wow! I have been eagerly awaiting my time in the pit ever since! We made sure to get tickets for the earliest of three sessions so we got the first crack at whatever was to be found. No lazy morning for us! We got on the shuttle bus and the volunteer asked if we were all ready for the "trip of a lifetime." Everyone cheered. She said that "almost everyone" will find something if they look hard. Hmmm. The tickets are timed. You can pay $7 per person for a 2-hour time slot or $140 per family for the whole day. We chose the 2-hour slot because two hours seemed like plenty of time. Well, it definitely wasn't. The session was from 8:30 to 10:30, but that included travel on the shuttle bus to the site, 20 minutes to get off the bus, look at the display tent and a couple vendors, and line up with 500 other people so everyone could walk in at once. We listened to a talk about the pit as a 500-person group, and finally got to dig at 9:30. We dug for 45 minutes, then spent the last 15 minutes shuffling most of those 500 people back out of the pit. I mentioned that the pit itself was 8 acres of amazing. The visitors today only had access to maybe an acre. 500 people + 1 acre of ground= stepping on each other. Not good. We also were not allowed to dig on the floor of the pit within our fenced area because it might contain something they want to dig out professionally. Fair enough, but 500 people on 3 small spoils piles and a big puddle? Hey, I spent that 45 minutes digging with my plastic toy shovel (no metal tools allowed) in one tiny spot with no reason to move anyway, at least until I hit an ant colony. My teenage daughter dug a foot away and we chatted with a guy next to us from Boston who had come down for the day. See that little black area on the right, surrounded by orange fence? That's where 500 people dug in each of three sessions. What did we find? Not much. Generally on our digs, my daughter finds teeth and I find shells or bones. Doesn't matter what we are looking for, that's what we find. Today was no different. I found one 1/2" partial brachiopod of a genus with which I am unfamilar and a couple of small vivianite crystals. My daughter found a 1/4" partial tooth from what was probably a fish. The volunteers weren't great at IDs beyond the common stuff and the three PhDs onsite were a bit busy for those 45 minutes, so we may never know. As we got back on the bus, a volunteer cheerfully complimented us on how dirty we were. *sigh*
  3. Legal fern collecting sites?

    Hello PA Residents! In a Virginia collector and always admired the amazing ferns I see people posting from there. I have a few myself, but none I have actually collected personally. I'll be in PA very briefly next week and have time to go to one or two sites. But I am finding a lot pieces of info and none is to recent. I want to make sure we visit a still legal site to collect from that can get some results. I don't need the finds of the year, I just want to find my own fern fossil so any site will do even if all I can find are smaller pieces. I saw someone mention Hancock Road, but advised to contact owners. If they are open to collectors does anyone have there info they can PM me? I've also read about abandoned strip mines. Uncharted territory for me. Are those ok to collect from? If so can anyone name one to check out? Saw mention about a "Carbondale" area near a school in another post but there didn't seem to be any follow up on what if anything they found. Any help would be great, don't know when I'll get a chance to be up there again so I figured you guys might be able to steer me in the right direction. Last time I just tried to drive around looking for sites I never found a thing.
  4. Shark Tooth Hill Dig

    The local museum is hosting another dig at Shark Tooth Hill in Bakersfield, California. Join us October 9,10,11 for some middle Miocene madness! Attached are some shark teeth we've found on previous digs their. Join us on the Miocene fossil hunt: http://bit.ly/bvmnh_digs
  5. Opinions Needed Please!

    Hello Everyone, I'm an avid paleophile and social researcher doing work on natural history museums. I am interested in talking to people who love fossils! I am doing a survey and want to invite you to take it: Survey for the public: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/DFX55S6 Survey for the paleontology community: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/67RNCMW You might fall into both categories! Please feel free to take them both if you want to. Only 10 questions apiece. The purpose of this survey is to ask people what they know about fossil collecting for commercial purposes, and what they think about this. I really want to get more perspectives on this issue. Ultimately I will be presenting the data at a conference and then publishing it open-access. I want to bring "amateurs" and the public into the conversation about the market! As a museum professional, I don't think my motivations and thoughts on this topic reflect any of those currently being circulated by the media, and I think it's simply wrong to leave people out of this conversation. Thanks for your time, I appreciate it! - Francis B. PS you can send me a private message if you want to talk about this further, I am all ears.
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