Marcbt

Fossils in South Africa (limpopo)

12 posts in this topic

Hello!

 

If all goes fine, I'm going to South Africa in june or july. I will stay near Ellisras (Limpopo). 

 

I would like to go fossil hunting some day. But I dont know if I am in the proper zone, since I've seen in google that most of the fossils are in the south. Is it possible to find some fossils in the north? And if it is, what kind and what period of time?

 

It would be nice to go back home with some small ammonite or other fossil. It would be a nice remembee of South Africa!

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South Africa has very strict laws against removing fossils, even from private property, without permits that are only given in the case of academic research.  Even in that case, you must have a South African researcher as a collaborator and all specimens must remain with a South African museum.  This applies to invertebrates as well as vertebrates.  All fossils are by law considered to be the property of the state.  I don't know about Limpopo, but there are Upper Cretaceous sites on the East Coast with abundant ammonites and other invertebrates, and you are looking at big fines and even jail time if you try to collect anything.  You can take photos but it's not worth the risk if you are caught trying to smuggle anything out of the country, in my opinion.  You may or may not see things the same way, that's up to you.

 

Don

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Yeah, what Don said.  

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Sad to hear this. It's sad if you cant collect a single ammonite or shark tooth, and it's even more sad for the people that lives in SA and likes this hobby.

 

Obviously I wont risk to be in a SA jail for collecting some fossil..

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Unfortunately it's not just SA.  Italy has the same laws, for example, though I have read that enforcement may not extend to shells except for specificially protected sites.  It is always easier if you are not crossing borders, or in particular flying out of those countries, as it is hard to escape notice if you have such items in your baggage.  SA has scientifically important hominid fossils, and lots of Permian/Triassic vertebrate fossils in the Karroo Desert, as well as archaeological artifacts, and the law was presumably written to keep such items in the country, but the language is so broad as to apply to any and all fossils.

 

If you read Peter Ward's book "Gorgon" you'll learn that he went to SA to study ammonites but learned only after he arrived that even though he was a paleontology professor he could not do any field work without a SA paleontologist to accompany him, and none were available.  Rather than spend months sitting around doing nothing, he took up an offer to accompany another researcher, Roger Smith, to the Karroo to look for vertebrate fossils, and that turned into a long-term collaboration to study the end-of-the-Permian mass extinction event from a terrestrial perspective.

 

Don

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In light of the discussion about pending US regulations around amateur collecting, I wonder how the rates of new discoveries in countries like SA and Italy compare to the US/Canada/Britain/...

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Yep, time's getting harder - germany now has a new law for cultural heritage which makes collecting fossils more problematic.

By being far away from the strict american rules and laws in most of the german countys and countries, still the things getting more complicated.

With active support of professional paleontologists and fossil-collectors the law has been a little bit eased. Link: https://www.steinkern.de/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=21093 (need account to view)

A lot of european countrys have laws like these, China and a lot of south-american countrys has too. Already named: Great Britain, America, New Zealand, America, Canada...

 

 

 

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Reading all this, I sure am happy to live in the Netherlands!

 

Yet this surprises me though: I know that fossil sharkteeth can be collected at Cape Town (SA), on Big Bay and Milnerton Beach, with namely some exciting megs, great whites and makos.

And I think you are allowed to bring them home. Here's a website to a description the location, and it doesn't say anywhere that you are not allowed to collect.

https://english.fossiel.net/sites/fossil_site.php?plaats=287

Anyone care to enlighten me on this?

 

Best regards,

 

Max

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Hum ? Italy is Italy ....

As for Germany and England , they are still far more intelligent in this than France  ( i.e Jurassic coast , fossil code concept , Germany many quarries are open for anybody to come ine like Holzmaden , etc .... ).

For Canada , as I understand , there is a whole range of different laws and restrictions according to the different states ...

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On 2/3/2017 at 3:31 PM, taj said:

they are still far more intelligent in this than France

What do you mean by this? 

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Well In France , there is a law for everything . Usually ( always !)when it comes to fossils , laws mean interdiction ...

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I'm glad I collected the snarge out of Europe twice before the latest round of rules came into play.  My philosophy:. "If there is anything worth doing, do it now, as any number of factors could wipe out opportunity at any time."

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