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fossilsonwheels

Our Shark Education Program- FREE SHARK TEETH FOR KIDS...the best part

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fossilsonwheels

I have detailed our shark education program in previous posts but I forgot the best part. Fossils on Wheels has around 350-400 shark teeth that will be given away to kids. All of these come from donations. My son and I have donated around half and the rest have come from donors on TFF, who we have thanked in previous posts. These are really my favorite fossils because they serve a higher purpose. Getting kids interested in science, natural history, fossils and of course, SHARKS !!!

 

I write a lot in these posts but the core of what we do is summarized above. This is fun and we are feel lucky to be doing this. The donations from TFF members are allowing us to do this and the kids will know it. Thanks to donations of marine invertebrate fossils, these teeth are going to become fossil starter kits with other fossils mixed in.

 

The pictured below are some of the fossils. Some STH mako teeth and about 100 Squalicorax teeth are not in the picture because they are in my laundry room at the moment. Tomorrow, I start bagging these and putting together information cards so I wll know exactly how many fossil start kits we will have in a day or two. We have a nice mix Moroccan Squalicorax, Sand Tiger teeth and Otodus teeth, a significant number of STH mako teeth, teeth from a few smaller STH shark species, a few Ptychodus, and a few Goblin Shark teeth. We are trying to make sure we give away teeth from species we cover in the presentation.

 

THANK YOU FOSSIL FORUM MEMBERS for helping us make this happen :)

 

 

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fossilsonwheels

Our fossil start kits are coming together. What a fun way to spend a Sunday :) I am going to work on more of these tomorrow but what a fantastic start. All of these fossils were donated to our program and in about 9 days these will be in the hands of kids.

 

We have 30 kits that contain 2 STH teeth ( Hastalis & Planus) plus two different kinds Devonian of brachiopods

 

We have 30 kits that contain 1 STH tooth (Hastalis mostly) plus a Sand Tiger tooth from Morocco and a Mississippian coral.

 

We have 10 kits that contain 2 Moroccan teeth ( Sand Tiger and Cretalamna) plus a Mississippian coral.

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siteseer

I have also made fossil kits in the past.  They were based on kits that were commercially available when I started collecting fossils thirty years ago.  I think there were two or three companies that were doing it but I'm not sure if anyone still does it.  I have made kits with ten fossils each for family and friends and I've also sold some at garage sales and to a local natural history item store.  The commercially available ones were priced at $10 and tended to have some decent fossils along with some partials that would be less identifiable to the average person (e.g. half a trilobite).  The ones I made had fossils that had to each look like something.  I sold mine for $10 too and rapidly saw that the trick was to find fossils cheap enough that I didn't find myself selling $10 kits with fossils I spent $20 on.  I did salt the kits for family and friends with more substantial fossils but I was giving those away and didn't care about about at least breaking even there.

 

What this means, of course, is that I had to find fossils that cost about 50 cents each to make it worth my time and that's not easy especially when I'm trying to represent several different groups with decent examples.  Part of it was easy because I included specimens I found myself and they essentially cost me zero unless I really thought about the gas, the time, and the motel if I was out for a couple of days.  I used to collect in the Sharktooth Hill Bonebed so I had shark teeth from there and echinoids from a few sites but to get ten different I was either going to have to arrange some trades or find stuff cheap at shows.  I was able to do both.

 

I used to go to the Tucson and Denver shows every year plus some up and down California.  Over time I've been able to find sources for specimens I haven't found myself.  Here's a list of different fossils I have included with my kits.

 

Shark teeth - I tend to include two different sharks: one tends to be from the STH Bonebed; the other tends to be from Florida or Morocco because those happen to be places I can get shark teeth from the easiest.  Sometimes, one of teeth is from somewhere else like the Late Cretaceous of New Jersey or the Paleocene of Maryland for variety.  Kids like sharks so they don't mind getting two of them 

 

Ray tooth - I have included a bat ray tooth from Florida or a Rhombodus tooth from Morocco to replace a shark tooth or other fossil in some bags for variety.  I've included a dermal denticle (Late Miocene of Florida) instead of a tooth before as well

 

Brachiopod - If you keep your eyes open you can find someone selling a bag of brachs for $10-12 and there might be 20-25 decent specimens in there.  That's a no-brainer for me.  They are usually from the Paleozoic so that that adds some older fossils than what I tend to hunt for.  I found some Jurassic ones from France that were very cheap so I had a little variety of those for a while.

 

Sand dollar - I still have some from my trips to the Kettleman Hills in California - two different Pliocene species. 

 

Sea urchin - I have collected sea urchins in Florida and I have some left so I can replace a sand dollar for variety or make it the 6th fossil in the bag.  A friend had some extra ones from Australia and gave me some so I was able to have some variety among the bags with those.

 

Plants - I have been able to put a plant fossil in bags: either a piece of petrified wood or a leaf I got cheap.  A fellow Fossil Forum member, the late Jbswake, once gave me a big box of Metasequoia specimens so I have some of those left.  I once bought one lot of Mazon Creek ferns at a very good price.  I put one isolated half nodule in a few bags.

 

Gastropod - Years ago, I picked up one lot of Eocene gastropods from the Eocene of Texas and still have several species.

 

Cephalopod - Occasionally, I've had some very small ammonites so a few bags had one of those instead of a gastropod or when I didn't have a plant fossil.

 

Arthropod - I have collected pea crab impressions from the Late Miocene of California so I've had something to represent arthropods from time to time.  Otherwise, it's almost impossible to have anything decent that I can get cheap.  I've had a few crab claws from a different site from the Middle Miocene of California.

 

Other vertebrate - I've had a mix of different teeth to include depending on different deals I've been able to do.  I've had groups of oreodont teeth or rodent jaws (Early Oligocene of Nebraska), alligator teeth from the late Miocene of Florida, and fish vertebrae from various sites.

 

Sometimes, when I trade, people throw in extras they find from their area.  I might add a little diversity with a horn coral or a seed or a fish tooth from time to time.  Generally, the fossils fit in a 2x2 or 2x3 zip-lock but sometimes need a bigger zip-lock and then I use a standard sandwich bag for it all.  I think if I tried to make a real business of it, I would lose money because I try to avoid making them all have the same fossils with everything looking like something if you know what I mean (nobody wants a broken seashell).

 

Jess

 

 

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fossilsonwheels

Jess

 

Thank you so much for sharing all of that information. I have found the members of the forum to be the best resource I have for information. That extends to the programs themselves, not just the fossils. I got about 20 kits done today and each of those had a STH tooth, a Moroccan tooth, a Crinoid stem and a gastropod. We have been extremely lucky with getting donations so far. That has really helped us put the kits together. We had about 200 teeth we were going to give away but with all of the donations, we can make kits. I think the kids will like a diversity.

 

TFF members have been adding to extras to handful of purchases I have made through members here too so we do have a good number of fossils. My son and I will purchasing another lot of Moroccan teeth to add to the mix at the end of the month. i had not even thought of ray teeth but that is a great one to add. I have seen pretty cheap lots of them on online. Plants are a good idea too. I may try to be a few fish too just to mix in on occasion. Maybe some cheap Trilobites too.

 

I know exactly what you mean lol This was really helpful and I will read this again some when it comes time to do more.

 

Kurt

 

 

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siteseer
On 3/4/2019 at 9:11 PM, fossilsonwheels said:

Jess

 

Thank you so much for sharing all of that information. I have found the members of the forum to be the best resource I have for information. That extends to the programs themselves, not just the fossils. I got about 20 kits done today and each of those had a STH tooth, a Moroccan tooth, a Crinoid stem and a gastropod. We have been extremely lucky with getting donations so far. That has really helped us put the kits together. We had about 200 teeth we were going to give away but with all of the donations, we can make kits. I think the kids will like a diversity.

 

TFF members have been adding to extras to handful of purchases I have made through members here too so we do have a good number of fossils. My son and I will purchasing another lot of Moroccan teeth to add to the mix at the end of the month. i had not even thought of ray teeth but that is a great one to add. I have seen pretty cheap lots of them on online. Plants are a good idea too. I may try to be a few fish too just to mix in on occasion. Maybe some cheap Trilobites too.

 

I know exactly what you mean lol This was really helpful and I will read this again some when it comes time to do more.

 

Kurt

 

 

 

 

Hi Kurt,

 

I can tell you it's tough to find cheap trilobites to the level that they can be kit fossils.  Elrathia kingi is probably the most common commercially-available one.  Back in the 90's you could buy good lots but those were more geared for dealers for resale with larger specimens.  You really had to buy from one of the Utah guys to get the best deal.   I think I obtained some small decent ones for as low as $2 each but not very many.  If you can come up with some free stuff for the kit, it gives you a chance to splurge a little on another one of the fossils.

 

Some used to come out of the Czech Republic (Ellipsocephalia) in large numbers and sometimes you can find a guy who has a lot of Flexicalymene from Ohio but it's tough.  A couple of times, I used a cephalon of an Olenellus from California to get that 10th fossil but I think it's important to try to provide at least most of a trilobite or other arthropod to show how the body is divided and how the legs are jointed. 

 

The good thing about the isolated cephalon is that you can note how that is an example of disarticulation, the body breaking up after death with the hardest parts having the best chance of becoming a fossil.  You can find a photo of an Olenellus in a book and the kids can recognize the distinct shape.

 

Jess

 

 

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