Many people contact us and ask what types of fossils they could expect to find on a tour here in Florida. Percentage wise, it’s invariably shark teeth by a wide margin. While there are many types of fossils to be found from a variety of prehistoric animals, shark teeth predominate by the fact that they are lost and replaced continually by all types of sharks during their lives. Shark teeth are the most common vertebrate fossils in the world due also to their durability and sharks’ world-wide distribution for over 350 million years.
Florida fossil shark teeth come from a variety of different species, some of which are still living, (or extant, as opposed to extinct.) The most commonly found species in the Peace River area are lemon, bull, dusky, tiger, mako, snaggletooth, megalodon, sand tiger, tiger, sharp-nosed and snaggletooth. There are also a variety of teeth from smaller species which can only be found by fine-screening sediments.
In addition, other vertebrate marine fossils can be often found including whale, dolphin, fish, rays and dugongs, which are ancient ancestors of today’s manatees. These fossils are usually from the most durable parts of the animals’ bodies such as bones and teeth. Vertebrae, jaw sections and ribs make up the bulk of these fossils but teeth, owing to their durability, are usually most common. The marine fossils found in the Peace River are mostly from the Miocene epoch and vary in age depending on specific location to between 5-15 million years in age.
While fossils of marine animals make up the bulk of what we find on our tours, terrestrial (land) animal fossils are also very common. These fossils date from a much more recent time period called the Pleistocene epoch (or ice-age) and generally date from 10,000 years ago to 1 million years before present. Although less commonly found, they are by no means rarely found on our tours. Fossils from horses, mammoths, mastodons, camels, llamas, saber-tooth cats, jaguars, giant armadillos, giant sloths, bears, tapirs, capybaras and much more are present in the Peace River; it’s just about putting your shovel in the right spot. Again, teeth of these animals are more durable than bones, and therefore more commonly found.
The pictures shown represent findings from 3 separate people on 2 different tours last season on the Peace River to give you an idea of what you can expect to find on our fossil hunting tours. Represented fossils are shark teeth, deer antler, alligator, Glyptodont and giant armadillo.
We’ve never had a tour where someone came home empty-handed; even minimal effort should reward you with a handful of fossils by the end of the day.
Our guided fossil hunting tours are arranged by reservation on weekends and weekdays all year. It helps both you and us to give at least a few days notice before booking your tour but don’t hesitate to give us a try the night before if need be. A deposit is not required. We generally are reaching areas by canoe with boats and equipment we supply but we also can do walk-in tours without a canoe. Please call (772) 539-7005 or email- fredmazza at paleodiscoveries dot com for more info or visit www.paleodiscoveries.com or http://fossilhuntingtours.com
Hope to see you on the river!