Not So Fossilized Fauna April 3, 2009
Early in the week Govinn sent me some emails arranging a fossil hunting trip for the weekend. Just coming off the Black River Fossils Lee Creek Trip weekend I decided to take it easy this weekend and declined on the invitation. Ha ha ha ha ha as if I could ever decline a fossil hunting trip.
The plan was to meet up in Greenville again Friday afternoon and hop into the giant puddle of filth to hopefully filter out those fine great white specimens. Denttech was coming down from Va as well. Later into the week I got a call from my sister announcing she was coming to visit from Georgia. I told her that’s fine, but she is going to look for fossils then and I don’t want to hear any complaining. So Friday finally rolls around and as soon as I could get out of work I jumped into the car, stomped the gas, and started making my way to Greenville NC.
I arrived at the Motel 6, checked in, met my sister, and we took off to Elm Street Park. After a phone call from Denttech I walked down to the bridge to talk to Govinn who was starting to move downstream and mentioned that Denttech was upstream where I found the chub and great whites last week. So I wandered up there and found him shoveling away. Upon the formal greeting of all fossil hunters (“have you found anything good”?) he pulled out a pristine great white. There wasn’t a scratch on it; an awesome find! I told him I was going to head downstream a ways and he followed me back to where my sister and Govinn were shoveling away. After a little bit of shoveling my sister asks “is this a tooth”? So of course we all look and she is holding up a 2” mako with some tip damage. Not bad for a first tooth. Which again it never fails for someone who has never gone looking for fossils before and pull out an awesome first find. Is it beginners luck or do they all just unknowingly like to rub it in my face that it took me three screens to find a half inch belemnite for my first fossil?
We didn’t stay long at that spot due to I wanted to try a couple spots downstream. So everyone follows me and we carry our shovels and screens and fossil hunting gear and whistle dwarven tunes from snow white as we make our way down the paved trail to the next spot. Just above the footbridge at the bottom of the park as soon as I see that water and the rocky slope down to it and the thought of fossils it contains I locked on target and hopped down the bank and into the creek faster than you could say snakebite. So I get down into the water and everyone behind me stops at the top of the bank as my sister asks loudly “what kind of snake is that”? I whirl around shovel in the air looking for movement and spy her pointing at the bank to the large blackish colored water moccasin curled up on the bank. It was probably 4 feet long, heavy bodied and very dark along with slightly less dark blotches across the top. And fortunately it was dead. Don’t know how it died, no wounds, no smashed parts, just laying there dead; which I am glad for because I rushed right over the thing on my way into the water. I felt quite foolish now, realizing I didn’t even notice it because it really stuck out. But what killed it? At first I thought I might have stepped on its head and crushed it as I hopped down the bank, but no marks and if it was just killed it would still be twitching due to nerves. So we will never know. I wish I had a camera with me so I could take a picture, but after last weekend’s exploits I kind of shunned the idea of carrying any electronic devices into the creek.
So with our serpent awareness raised a bit we all entered the creek. We searched screen after screen of gravel with the small finds appearing everywhere and kept up our hope for a nice find. It wasn’t long due to the location that we were surrounded by curious kids who kept asking what we were “excavating”. Since I was closest to the bank I walked over and started showing them some of the teeth I was finding. I really had nothing exciting at that time, except from small makos, sand tigers, goblins and crow shark teeth and a few belemnites. So I started giving a couple away. And as I did that, more and more kids showed up, some with babysitters in tow. So after explaining what each fossil was and giving it away (probably 60 or so teeth and unknown number of belemnites) they left and we started moving downstream a ways; finding the usual small, broken and worn stuff. I did manage a decent modern tiger shark (Galeocerdo Cuvier), a chipped and worn Great White (Carcharodon Carcharias), a broken Mososaur tooth, and some smaller finds (crows, sand tigers, goblins), including the usual broken and heavily worn pieces of megs.
But all in all it was a very eventful and “lucky” day. And I think my sister is now hooked on fossil hunting, but maybe its still to early to tell.
Until next time, good hunting!