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Found 5 results

  1. Florida Fossil Hunt , Part 2

    The winter of 2018-2019 was rough on folks from Minnesota, people who normally judge their self esteem on surviving mother nature's cold and snowy fury. So when the time came to depart for my snowbird trip to Florida, I could not have been more excited to go. Here is the local landscape as we left. Then on arrival to the Sunshine State. What a stark contrast. I could never give up my winters for this , as nice as it is to visit. Hunting for fossil treasures in Florida is usually limited to a single day per trip for me. But this time I was blessed with three outstanding excursion from three wonderful members of the forum, JCBShark (alias Jeff), Shellseeker, (alias Jack), and Sacha, (alias John). Unfortunately my hopes for finding fossils were dashed due to high water, but my friends were nice enough to attempt to conquer mother nature and we pressed on. I will let you decide if they were successful. Here were the participants for Day 1, a trip on foot to get to some special spots. As can be seen, it was NOT an easy hike. Here was Day 2. Kayaking up the creek for a few miles was not easy due to high water. But going back was a very peaceful float, as these pictures of Jack show!! Something needed after an old man (me, not Jack) paddles like he did and then shovels gravel all day!
  2. Yankeetown, FL Echinoid Hunting!

    Hey guys! Here's something a little different from me... Echinoid Hunting! This was an extremely fun and productive fossil hunt, finding some of the oldest fossils Florida has to offer. In this video you even get a tour of my fossil-filled vehicle, which could have been a whole video in itself hahaha! You may also notice a quality change. We got some sweet new gear! Give the video a watch if you're interested and have some time!
  3. In an effort to do something while the Peace and the Santa Fe decline from flood stage, I went back to Yankeetown to look for echinoids without any real expectations. Tide was low and the wind was strong out of the east so the water level was very low. Screening was pretty much out of the question without serious back strain, so I spent a few hours on hands and knees looking between all the footprints for something that holiday week hunters may have missed. I brought home nice examples of several of the more common species including Eupatagus antillarium ( only 5 examples which, I think, shows extraordinary self control) one of which was a nice matrix specimen, several Neolaganum durami (one pictured and one in matrix), 1 small Rhyncholampas ericsoni, 1 nice Agassizia clevei and best of all 1 Eupatagus ocalanus (still to be verified) in the bottom left of the picture. Sorry the picture isn't the best, but I can't figure out how to improve the contrast to how the detail. I'm pretty new to this echinoid stuff, really only interested since last years contributions to the invertebrate collection at UF. Posts like this one are probably pretty basic to most forum members, but I'm feeling pretty chuffed about the variety of species that can be found in Florida. It's nice to have access to echinoid sites during high river water levels too.
  4. I took a quick trip to Yankeetown, FL this week because, although I've been there a number of times, it is one of the few locations I know of that isn't under water this year. I screen sifted for a couple hours and got some nice examples of echinoids already in my collection. I'm paying more attention to these sand dollars and sea biscuits since the variety in my collection is growing and my contribution to the Univ. of FL Museum really piqued my interest. I was hoping I could get proper species names for the specimens in the following photos. These would be from Ocala Limestone, Inglis Formation. First the small sand dollar. These are quite common, in good condition and rarely larger than the larger on shown. Next is the small sea biscuit. I think there are 2 different species in the picture, but the more oval one is probably in to poor condition to ID. The other inflated obloid ones are not that common and are what I'm primarily hunting for when I go back to these islands with the exception of the still allusive sea urchin. I appreciate the help. Thanks for your time.
  5. As I eluded to in a separate posting, my wife and I recently joined the FPS (Florida Paleontological Society) and joined them for their fall field trip and meeting in the High Springs area of north central Florida. It was a 320 mile drive (one way) but well worth the effort. It also gave us lots of time to listen to a stash of podcasts to pass the time on the long drive. During the field trip to Haile Quarry I found my first Eupatagus antillarum (on my fossil bucket list for a few years) and several other nice smaller echinoids. During the FPS meeting in the evening Jack (Shellseeker) introduced me to Gunther Lobisch who has a passion (and accumulated knowledge base) for echinoids. I mentioned to him about my nascent interest in Florida echinoids. I first learned about Eupatagus antillarum (Florida's long-time "almost" state fossil which is still pending approval) a few years back. Apparently, state legislature also does things on a geological time scale and at the present Florida still does not have a state fossil. I don't remember what led me there but somehow I happened upon a YouTube video of a couple of guys who took kayaks out to the spoil pile islands just west of the small town of Yankeetown along the Gulf Coast of Florida (just north of Crystal River). They were looking for (and found) a number of these fossilized spatangoid (irregular) urchins. That original video is no longer available on YouTube but one of the guys who posted it (and who goes by the handle "Snot Otter") has a newer replacement video showing collecting on the spoil pile islands: I had mentioned to Gunther that it was on my fossil bucket list to one day where to launch some kayaks or a canoe to be able to reach these spoil pile islands in order to go hunting for the echinoids found there. Gunther replied that echinoids could be gathered along the canal itself without having to venture out to the spoil piles. This was all I needed to hatch a plan. We were up in the High Springs/Alachua area and would pass right by Yankeetown on the way home--if you ignore the one hour detour that it would take to head west. My wife was up for the idea so on Sunday (the day after the FPS meeting) we checked out of our hotel and set the car's navigation system at an address nearby where I wanted to go. In a little over an hour we were driving through the little town of Inglis and crossed over the canal itself that runs from Lake Rousseau to the Gulf of Mexico. Along the southern edge of the canal is a small road called the Withlacoochee Bay Trail. There are a few parking areas along the road, an equestrian trail, some paved walking paths, and areas where people had stopped to try their luck with some fishing poles. Along most of the canal length there is a ridge mound made up of the dredging material that was removed from the canal back in the 1930s. In most places this ridge was covered with grasses and trees but we did spot an area where the limestone that made up this ridge was visible along the surface. It was packed hard and weathered and the color was more blackish gray than white due to the mildewy covering. We walked this area for a few minutes and turned up a larger echinoid (still embedded in a coating of limestone but identifiable by shape) and a smaller grape-sized echinoid that had a clean surface but also a few cracks. This was better luck than we had had at the Haile Quarry the day before (or at least quicker finds). We got back in the car and continued down the road. Most of the ridge was covered by grasses with some scattered bushes and trees. In a little while we got to an area where the trees were taller and more dense. It looked like the undergrowth was light limited in these areas and I thought that it might be possible to search under the trees in areas where the soil was eroded away enough to uncover some of the underlying limestone rocks. This was the same sort of areas I looked for while surface hunting the Mazon Creek area for nodules so I wanted to see if my gained knowledge in that environment would cross over to this new area. In just a few minutes of looking around under the trees I spotted a few nice echinoids hiding at the surface. I decided that I needed to return to the car to tell Tammy and to get some bug spray as the mosquitoes were quite dense (and hungry) under the canopy. The flying insect density it seems was not being mitigated enough by the copious number of spider webs stretched between branches. More than once I planted my face directly in a Spinybacked Orbweaver (crab spider) or Golden Orbweaver web--it kinda felt like Halloween haunted house display a week early. -Ken
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