A Mammoth Year
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a year when so many people are finding mammoth and mastodon fossils. And not just teeth or other bits here and there. There are two people who are actively digging what could be complete mammoths out of the Peace River. Other hunters are finding associated teeth and tusks, it just amazing what I’m reading and seeing on Facebook.
I just visited a fossil friends’ home the other day to see 17 vertebra, ribs, teeth, and complete leg bones of a mammoth laid out on his floor. Other friends are building displays for tusks and if you follow TBFC’s Facebook page, you’ll see people posting photos of elephant specimens still dripping with river water.
Don’t think that you have to be a SCUBA diver to get in on this adventure. Some of these fossils were found by snorkelers, and I saw on the Facebook page someone digging a mammoth tooth from the sand in inches of water.
Want to know the secret to finding these great specimens? Go out and hunt for them. Some of the folks finding these fossils go hunting frequently, at least once a week. You don’t have to dedicate every waking moment to fossil hunting (although many of us wish we could). Others I know who are taking home the mammoth bone are just very meticulous in their search. They find a decent area and hunt the heck out of it. Bottom line, you have to get off the couch, away from the television or computer games, and get your feet wet.
This New Year’s edition of the Fossil Chronicles should include enough proboscidean photos to inspire all of us to get out and start looking!
January 5, 2019
Preparation of Modern Bone & Skulls for Fossil Comparison
Chris DeLorey has a few aliases. Some call him "Dr. Dino", some call him that “bone guy”. If you’re following behind him on the interstate after he’s collected a dead rhinoceros from a neighboring zoo, the aroma may cause you to call him by another name…
Chris wears many hats. He is the director of education at the Brevard Zoo in Melbourne, FL. He’s a real-life dinosaur hunter who also serves as a paleontological consultant for production companies that build those lifelike replicas you see in museums. He also runs a side business selling fossil reproductions and preserved modern skulls and bones.
What Chris seems to be most famous for is being known as the guy who will take whatever animal you have, no matter the size (and odor), de-flesh it, clean it, preserve it, and hand it back to you pearly white. All clean, odor free, and ready for display.
You might ask how modern skulls and bone crossover to a fossil club. Have you ever found a small fossilized canine and wondered what it was? Typically, the answer you get when handing it around the paleo crowd is opossum or racoon. The size and frequency of these type of specimens make that a good guess. If you had modern opossum and raccoon skulls in your collection for comparison, because the Ice Age version of these creatures is nearly identical to the modern, you’d be able to identify the teeth for yourself. Chris sets up his wares at FossilFest each year and I have often heard folks saying they were on their way to his booth to pick up an opossum, raccoon, deer, otter, fox, coyote, wolf, etc. He’s very popular at FossilFest. I have a dozen or so in my own collection.
At the January meeting Chris will tell us how he uses his colony of dermestid beetles to clean every nook and cranny of bone he gives them for preparation. He’ll also explain other more simpler ways to collect and clean modern bone for display. I guarantee this will be an interesting presentation. Don’t miss it.
March 8, 9 & 10
As we turn our calendars to 2019, FossilFest is just a couple of months away. It will take our entire TBFC tribe to pull it off. In this issue of the Chronicles you will find a long list of information about volunteering for the event and all of the items we need to have donated. Please take a few minutes to read through the entire list. FOSSILFEST NEEDS YOU!
I hope to see another good crowd at the January meeting. Good and safe hunting to you! And happy New Year too!