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Don’t look a gift Equus sp. in the mouth…

After a recharged night at the Hampton Inn in Washington and with breakfast digesting, Skylar and I made our way to the GMR.  This was my first “true” fossil expedition with my daughter and not the back yard Pungo sand box kind.  It seemed forever since I was at the GMR and I was excited to see what fossils the creek would give up on this trip.  We parked at the 5th Street / Green Springs Park and geared up, well at least I did.  She only wanted to be in charge her old WWII wood handle folding shovel (which she ended up dragging half way along the asphalt walkway).


After what seemed to be an endless walk we finally arrived at the put in trail by the wooden bridge.   Poison ivy was everywhere as we slowly made it down to the creek.   I quickly made a mental note to next time bring just old jeans / boots or buy some new waders (hip) because by the time I got in the creek I lost five pounds from wearing my thermal chest highs and lugging gear for two.  At least one of the back packs had about twelve frozen water bottles which later hit the spot as they melted.


We walked up the creek and decided to make camp at the first big gravel beach area.  Did a quick scan of the terrain and right off Skylar found a partial whale ear bone (tympanic bulla) that most fossil hunters would most likely have overlooked or end up putting it (or two) up on the bank for a collector like Fat Boy to find (just busting your chops MikeDOTB).  I too ended up finding a partial meatier one on the gravel beach.


Skylar was content at looking around some more on the beach so I decided to start screening. I probably shoveled only three gravel screen loads when she came up to me and stated that she found a sand dollar barely in the water next to the large gravel bank.  I was busy picking out teeth in my quarter inch screen when I decided to see what she really found. "DOUGH" (Homer). I couldn't believe what I was seeing. An Echinoid!! Talk about beginners luck!!! I was dumbfounded on what I was holding, not to mention the condition of it considering how bad the GMR can wear fossils down. I never heard of anyone finding an echinoid at the GMR and was wondering if anyone else has ever found / known anyone who has found one.  I knew this was a special find so I packed it up carefully for safe transport.   I’m just glad she showed it to me and not put it in her fossil container where she ended up putting whale bones, cool looking rocks (included a section of a brick), shells, a golf ball…. etc to get “banged” around.

I finally got a positive ID from Dewayne Varnam, President of the East Coast Fossil Club (echinoid collector), who stated that she found a Hardouinia mortonis (Michelin, 1850) from the late Cretaceous, Pee Dee Formation.  He also commented that he has failed to find / verify an echinoid specimen at the GMR since 2001 and did not know of any other collectors who have found one from that location. 


We then made our way up to the 10th Street Bridge area with no major finds to report on other than a complete Agerostrea sp. (with interior matrix) that took my fancy and a fat partial whale rib bone that someone placed on the Pee Dee formation just south of the 10th Street bridge (thanks who ever left that).  So we decided to turn back around and set up final camp at another gravel beach area.   I ended up finding a small mosasaur and Skylar ended up finding her best tooth, an almost 1" Squalicorax pristodotus that she pulled out of her 1/2 screen.  She was a real trooper and slung gravel for about six hours with the occasional break to corral minnows in her ¼” screen.


About that time Mike (MikeDOTB) wandered down the creek to chat and compared finds.  It was starting to get late and we made our way further back downstream to see if we could locate Gerald (GReel).   Special thanks to Mike on grabbing Skylar’s other arm and helping me “carry” Skylar across some of the deeper pockets.  She was on my shoulders on the first pass and I didn’t think my back / neck could have taken another round with all the gear in tow.


We finally came up on Gerald slinging gravel.   I couldn’t contain the excitement on what my daughter found on her fist trip.   He too was shocked with the echinoid find.  Gerald also ended up gifting Skylar his “discard teeth” to boost her GMR collection, which included what all kids like…..a cookie (of note, the very worn GW (2.25”) equaled my second biggest GW that I have found at the creek).   I guess the fossils gods were pleased with his generosity and about five minutes later rewarded Gerald with a massive horse tooth.

Gas - $40
Hotel - $120
2 days of fossil hunting with my daughter and finding her Pièce de résistance on her first fossil expedition - Priceless


- Brad



Location Green Mill Run, North Carolina, USA

Date Added6/1/2009

Hardouinia mortonis - detail
the find...
a five year old's haul
my haul
Crow Shark (Squalicorax pristodontus)
Agerostrea sp.
Clydesdales budwiseus

Thats what I like about Sunday!
Thats what I like about Sunday!
Getting into a funk...
Getting into a funk...
past few months at GMR...
past few months at GMR...

Awesome Report - 6/1/2009
Reviewer : Govinn from Virginia United States
Total Rating : 10
You guys did REALLY good there. Your daughter is a natural!! I can't wait to hit GMR again. Content Quality : 10 of 10

Drool Quotient : 10 of 10

Picture Quality : 10 of 10
VOTE! Agree  Disagree 

- 6/2/2009
Reviewer : Daryl from Maryland United States
Total Rating : 10
Kodak moments and memories! Awesome. I definitely have to join you guys down there sometime. Content Quality : 10 of 10

Drool Quotient : 10 of 10

Picture Quality : 10 of 10
VOTE! Agree  Disagree 

Awesome Finds - 6/2/2009
Reviewer : MikeDOTB from North Carolina United States
Total Rating : 10
Your daughter definitely made an awesome find. That is the first one I have ever seen from the GMR. It was great digging with you guys. Let me know when you are in the area again. That crow shark tooth is also in awesome condition for the GMR. Usually don't find those with roots in such a good condition. Content Quality : 10 of 10

Drool Quotient : 10 of 10

Picture Quality : 10 of 10
VOTE! Agree  Disagree 





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