Florida Family Fosslin' Fun
As my four year old son grows to assume his spot at the top of the food chain I feel compelled to take him deeper into the wild. His building instinct to hunt and gather (and fill his shark tooth jar) has begun to outweigh my fear of him becoming prey. His only fossil hunting experience thus far has been the beach at the Peace River Campground where he routinely "racks" the tiny teeth that only his relatively new eyes can pick out in the phosphate ladden sand. The number of these teeth that it will take to fill his jar would make the national debt numbers seem managable.
So we planned a camping trip to Brownville Park on the Peace River. My hopes were to find Matthew a couple Megs and/or Makos to at least cover the bottom of his jar. He and I started right away upon arrival. We walked along the river upstream to the spot called, yes, you guessed it, Shark Tooth Island. He climbed over or under each obsticle in a way that would make Survivor Man take note. I was so proud! At least until my wife pointed out the 15 foot wide cleared path that connected our campsite to Shark Tooth Island. I wrote it off as training in a "I meant to do that" sorta way. Meanwhile, like Steve Austin zooming in on bad guys, Matthew started plucking micro teeth from the gravel. As I struggled to see them, much less ID them, he filled my hand in a rapid fire fashion as the sunlight gradually faded away. I decided we should head back to the campsite to try and treat my eye strain induced headache with an adult beverage.
Morning broke and my #1 fossil hunting buddy called and said he was almost here with a couple canoes. "This should get us into prime Meg bearing territory" I thought as I enjoyed a camp fire cooked breakfast.
We paddled south down the river looking for a good spot to start digging. Gravel was everywhere and we soon agreed on a likely looking area. As we were digging away Mark Renz and a group of 12 or so kyakers paddled by in search of there fossil fortunes giving me a feeling of being in the right spot, until I considered they probably weren't the first group unleashed in these parts. We found lots of Bull Shark and Lemon Shark teeth as well as turtle shell pieces and lots of bone pieces. A couple Makos and a Meg fragment kept us digging with vigor. A Tapir, camel, and horse tooth later we decided to head down river to more fossil laden grounds.
In our last spot my wife scored a respectable mammoth tooth chunk and a few more meg pieces and lots of the smaller teeth to help fill our collecting bag. It was a great day with family and friends.
|Peace River, Florida, USA
|Matthew dressed for the occassion.
|Mommas Mammoth tooth. She took it to work to show her co-workers.