Wednesday, January 26, 2011
Fossils, courtesy of GTMMERR
This is a close photo of the coquina you see in constrast to the fine white sand along the beach at Guana. Nestled in this stuff, which is mostly crushed or small shell, you can find shark's teeth of all kinds of sizes, pieces of turtle shell and teeth, all ancient, all amazing.
To those of you who love the beaches and inland waterways so perfectly protected and blessedly available to the public at our beloved Guana, here is the equivalent of a Valentine from those fine folks. To those of you who turn an indulgent but slightly bored eye to my praise-singing of Guana's abundant natural offerings, accept my thanks in advance.
Because I wrote a post in celebration of the anniversary of GTMMERR, sent it to the Director and opened a dialogue with him, I've been added to a mailing list. This means info I didn't have before, including an announcement all fossil geeks will find to be the delightful Valentine I promised (and everyone else will find incredibly boring): the GTM Education Center is hosting an educational event on February 12 about collecting and identifying fossils on our beaches. (If you're interested, reserve a space by calling the Center at 904.823.4500 - it's free, but space is limited.) We all think of shark's teeth when we think of fossils and my dear old person and I have a shocking number of these collected, but there's an amazing range of teeth and other fossils to be found on our beaches, and get this: we're invited to bring stuff along to have it identified! I might not have to plan that trip to the Paleontology Department at U of F in Gainseville after all. In all the years I've lived here, as I may have mentioned, I didn't even start looking for shark's teeth until, in the office of a colleague, I noticed a postcard image identifying different kinds of shark's teeth. I commented, because we walked on the beach all the time and I took them for granted. To my amazement, she said, "You know they're hundreds of thousands of years old, right? Some of them are millions of years old." I'd had no idea. And I was hopelessly hooked.
I've written about this, too, of course, in part because the University of Florida houses a great little museum of paleontology AND it is possible, in theory at least, to make an appointment with the nice geeky professorial types who work there. I'm told you can set up time and pretty much literally pour your collection of fossilized stuff on someone's desk for inspection and identification. But why drive to Gainesville? Come down to the Education Center. I wish you could all come, especially the kids. So if any kids care, let me know. I'll write a post for the really discriminating blog palate: kids, who know how fascinating fossils really are, because after all, when you think about it, they're pieces of dinosaurs. How cool is that?