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Shellseeker

Hunting with Steve

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Shellseeker

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. IMG_2549.jpg.e3df32e5d3f1ad3bd547d789843f62f4.jpgHere are just a few of my new tiny horse teeth....

Horsef2txt.jpg.c38b08fbe51326f18909524dd2b4c6f6.jpgHorsed1txt.jpg.8f9d520576c1e8bc3441d6ed3e2995cf.jpgHorsea6txt.jpg.826dfc3b4d300e03ac49ed86b4fbde16.jpg

 

 

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.

IMG_2576PhosphoriaMineStevePhoto.thumb.jpg.0574200ad77fd20d3435c61595a07e1f.jpg

 

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...

IMG_2554Bucket.jpg.63c953d3e701e662d8ba8f54b4d9250f.jpgMulberryrhinotusk.thumb.jpg.7b7e57c3baff2828e8248e29741f8490.jpgIMG_2559Crocodile.jpg.261cee213020253487ae1f3e8dd95f83.jpgIMG_2566.jpg.3ab881581c3dd0383eab905afe579e21.jpgIn 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.  

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digit

Bravo!

 

What a great way to spend the "off season" still doing interesting fossil activities. If I lived in the area in the 70's I'd probably be neck deep in fossils. :P

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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WhodamanHD

Sounds like some good fun! I bought my first meg at that museum.

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Gizmo

I remember those days! :)

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ynot

Sounds like a fun day, thanks for taking Us along.

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hrguy54
On 7/7/2018 at 12:09 PM, Shellseeker said:

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.

 

Are the teeth tiny or are the horses tiny?

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digit

Tiny horses--as in the 3-toed horses that evolved into the modern day 1-toed (hoofed) horses. These are found in the Peace River and associated land sites (like phosphate mines) and are much less common than the more recent "modern" horse teeth from the genus Equus. One of my favorites that I've found a couple examples of in the Peace River is Pseudhipparion skinneri.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudhipparion

 

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Richard_Hulbert/publication/27395375_Systematics_and_evolution_of_Pseudhipparion_Mammalia_Equidae_from_the_late_Neogene_of_the_Gulf_Coastal_Plain_and_the_Great_Plains/links/02e7e53ba9d463dae5000000/Systematics-and-evolution-of-Pseudhipparion-Mammalia-Equidae-from-the-late-Neogene-of-the-Gulf-Coastal-Plain-and-the-Great-Plains.pdf

 

These older teeth can be distinguished both by size as well as the separate loop of enamel that forms a circle on the upper molars (as seen at the bottom of the tooth in the second of Jack's photos at the start of this topic).

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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