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My Second Fossil Expedition With My Daughter

The 4:30 a.m. alarm when off.  In the haze of a left over dream I finally realized I didn’t have to catch an early flight for work, but rather had to get the coffee going for a Saturday East Coast Fossil Club (ECFC) expedition at the Green Mill Run (GMR).   With the coffee brewing, I entered my daughter’s room and told her to get up and get ready to go.   This process was repeated three times (to my astonishment) in between packing a cooler of water, snacks in back packs…etc.   Now you have to understand that sometimes I will leave at 3:30 a.m. for my work to make sure I’m on a 6:00 a.m. flight at Raleigh or Charlotte.   Every time and I mean every time I leave she stands by her window refusing to go back to bed until she sees me drive off.   I finally stated I was going to leave without her…… two feet finally made contact with the floor and guided her downstairs.

 

The weather forecast looked ugly the first part of the week but I could see as we departed that it was going to be a beautiful day.  The skies slowly but surely got brighter as we headed east.  As we crossed over Interstate 95, it appeared we were going back in time.  An eerie fog materialized out of nowhere which rendered the visibility in some patches to almost nothing.   This, with the combination of the conifer trees blurring along the sides of the roadways gave a prehistoric landscape impression. 

 

We finally entered Pitt County and made a (put county name here) stop at McDonalds and introduced her to a sausage / egg / cheese McMuffin.  As I scarfed my second one down I observed the sodium / fat content on the label of just one as I quickly wadded it up in a ball and placed it on the tray.  I then admired my washboard stomach even though it now had 20 pounds of laundry on it.   I guess an extra hour of shoveling gravel will make it all better.

 

We arrived at the Green Springs Park just before 8:30 a.m. with the parking lot empty except for us.   Soon others from the ECFC showed up with still more later mid-morning.  It was a good turn out and you needed over two hands to count the final tally.  My daughter even had a fossil buddy to dig with.  A boy named Raleigh (about my daughter’s age) was escorted by her grandmother.  Fossil hunting… fun for all ages.   The group entered the creek and set up shop at various intervals, some doing a group dig and some individual digs but always congregating back to a group to see what finds were found.

 

This was the first time for me waderless at the Run.  It was nice to shed my thermals and feel the cool water.  But I should have done one thing…. NOT watch the Discovery Channel “Monsters Inside Me”.   The various episodes with water born parasites gave me the willies, especially since this is an urban creek / storm sewer run off.  I used to worry just about tetanus from “nicks” from broken glass.  There was one episode in which the parasite entered through the base of a hair follicle.   Those episodes freaked me out more than my first time watching Alien or the Exorcist.  You just can’t be 100% dry doing this hobby at the GMR.

 

My daughter and I finally made it up to the 10th Street Bridge area with still no significant find uncovered.  Although she was pretty darn proud of a small GW with feeding damage that she found and correctly identified.  I then had the pleasure of finally putting a face to FossilMick as he wandered up stream and stopped for a short while to chat.   Word travels fast along the creek and he stated that someone down stream found a monster mosasaur tooth.  I wished him luck as his path took him further upstream.

 

The mosasaur find sparked my curiosity and I decided to retreat back downstream to see what the fuss was about.  As I came up on a group of ECFC hunters I inquired who has it.  As luck would have it, Dawyne (President of the ECFC) was blessed with the find.  He said he would show it to me after he finished going through his ½ screen.  And as luck would have it again, he pulled out a very nice Meg partial right in front of me which I estimated to be around 4”.   This about made me sick (still working on one over 3”).   Fellow hunter Christine found a beautiful paleo drill partial that had a very unique color pattern to it.   I believe the material was black rhyolite.


An of course, Gerald (Greel) a.k.a. the Great White Tooth Hunter was starting to become despondent with this finds and his quest for his 3” Grade A Carcharodon carcharias.   I thought the heat and humidity got to him as he exhumed a very nice tooth out of his screen and mumbled that it was only a Mako (as he handed it to me as asked if I wanted it).  This “discard” ended up replacing one of my larger two makos in a shadow box on my home office wall.  Come to think of it, the replaced tooth was another one of his discards.  What a friend!  He then did an amazing impression of Ferris Bueller’s Day off.   Bueller….. Bueller….. Bueller….  Or should I say…. bulla….. bulla…. bulla, as he pulled out whale ear bone after whale ear bone (tympanic bulla) out of his screen.  

 

Soon after FossilMick made it back downstream to us and asked what the biggest barnacle you guys have found out here (as our fingers placement showed 1 to 2 inches amongst us).   He then pulled out a protectively wrapped barnacle the likes I have never seen.  If this barnacle monsterus was attached to a whale, it would have definitely affected its streamline.   I forgot to take a picture of it.  So…Mike, you need to show off that awesome find and post a pix of it.  I told him that would make one hell of a desk pen holder.

 

Time flies when you are having fun so Gerald, my daughter and I headed back down stream to call it a day.  Skylar didn’t want to go and still desired to sling more gravel.  So I told her we would dig a while by the gravel beach that was close to where we put it.   As I sat there on the bank, I scanned the area gravel and picked up some of the smaller teeth.  Then right next to me I found what I believe is my smallest GW which looked like a bottom tooth.   Gerald seemed to agree with my ID as he dug in his pocket and pulled out some more discards for me and Skylar.   I told her one more shovel load and we have to go (as I placed the large discards under the pile of gravel already in the screen).   I then told her (as I gave a wink to Gerald) that I feel this will be a lucky shovel load.   She dumped a load of gravel in the screen, placed her shovel on the bank, grabbed both side handles and started to sift.   To her amazement she showed off her nice finds, one after another, after another…   I smiled as I told her it looks like you struck gold.

 

With that we packed up and proceeded to the parking lot.  On our way we ran into Mike (MikeDOTB) heading towards us on the park path.  We discussed fossils as he informed us of various so called monster finds at various locations of the creek (A couple of 5” megalodons in the same hole… can this be true?).

 

My finds were meager except for a couple of cool mackerel sharks with cusps which I believe are Archaeolamna kopingensis and Cretolamna appendiculata in addition to a lighting struck crow shark Squalicorax bassanii.

 

….enjoy

 

Brad

Location Green Mill Run, North Carolina, USA

ID3427
Memberbrachiomyback
Date Added7/31/2009

shells and bullas
mako
mosasaur
paleo drill
meg
Archaeolamna kopingensis and Cretolamna appendiculata
GW
Squalicorax bassanii
  

Links
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Greensmill Run Clean Up Crew
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Greensmill Run Clean Up Crew
Bacteria Mill Run
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Comments
It could possibly be true.... - 7/31/2009
Reviewer : MikeDOTB from North Carolina United States
Total Rating : 10
After you guys took off I wandered down and just looked around... Finally I stopped, picked a spot and started shoveling... I only managed four screens and I broke my shovel. But out of those four screens I found tons of bone and big chunks of it, two great whites, one 2" with a worn root, a perfect smaller great white and a couple split megs, both worn. So its had me pumped all week to go back and try again! Awesome report, I wish I got up there a bit earlier but my alarm clock didnt come through. LOL. Let me know when you guys will be coming down again! Content Quality : 10 of 10

Drool Quotient : 10 of 10

Picture Quality : 10 of 10
VOTE! Agree  Disagree 

Thanks for the great read! - 8/1/2009
Reviewer : dw from Summerville South Carolina United States
Total Rating : 10
Fossil hunting is great - fossil hunting with our kids is the best! Btw, I loved your washboard abs comment! Content Quality : 10 of 10

Drool Quotient : 10 of 10

Picture Quality : 10 of 10
VOTE! Agree  Disagree 


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