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RE: [SACC-L] Fw: Out for photos, girl finds fossils

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  • Wenzel, Jason
    I am currently coordinating an archaeology field school for Brevard Community College (Atlantic Coast) where one site we are working has a rich multi-component
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 28, 2007
      I am currently coordinating an archaeology field school for Brevard Community College (Atlantic Coast) where one site we are working has a rich multi-component history (Sams on Merritt Island). There is an area we refer to as the "fossil creek" where we have sifted through spoil piles and found a diverse variety of megafauna remains from mastodons, giant land tortoises, camels, glyptodonts, horses, mammoths, giant armadillos, peccaries, and tapirs.

      Please visit the site of Indian River Anthropological Society for more information:




      From: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com on behalf of Mark Lewine
      Sent: Sat 2/24/2007 5:33 AM
      To: SACC-L@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [SACC-L] Fw: Out for photos, girl finds fossils

      the message below was sent to me by a friend...does anyone know how Florida,
      a state barely above sea level, could have supported megafauna in its past
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: <jbioya@... <mailto:jbioya%40aol.com> >
      To: <mlewine@... <mailto:mlewine%40wowway.com> >
      Sent: Thursday, February 22, 2007 6:43 PM
      Subject: Out for photos, girl finds fossils

      > This St. Petersburg Times (http://www.sptimes.com <http://www.sptimes.com/> ) story has been sent to
      > you from: jbioya@... <mailto:jbioya%40aol.com>
      > Fossils in FL
      > Out for photos, girl finds fossils
      > Published February 17, 2007
      > http://www.sptimes.com/2007/02/17/Tampabay/Out_for_photos__girl_.shtml <http://www.sptimes.com/2007/02/17/Tampabay/Out_for_photos__girl_.shtml>
      > SEMINOLE - A 16-year-old high school student has discovered what
      > archaeologists say could be the biggest fossil find in Pinellas County in
      > nearly a century.
      > Sierra Sarti-Sweeney was practicing nature photography in a heavily wooded
      > area of Boca Ciega Millennium Park in Seminole last month when a shiny
      > black rock caught her eye.
      > She took it home to show it to her 22-year-old brother, Sean, a geology
      > student at the University of South Florida. After some Internet research,
      > the siblings came to two conclusions: The football-sized rock was actually
      > the tooth of a long-extinct mammoth, and they were in over their heads.
      > The family contacted area paleontology and archaeology experts, who
      > confirmed the pair's assessment.
      > They quickly alerted county park officials, who converged on the site,
      > working secretly for the past four weeks.
      > To date, they have found teeth and bones from 12 species, including giant
      > sloths, camels, turtles with shells 5- to 6-feet long, saber-toothed cats,
      > horses, and giant armadillos the size of Volkswagen Beetles.
      > * * *
      > What makes the find so extraordinary is that remains from so many
      > different animals were found in such proximity, and they were out in the
      > open and clearly visible, said archaeologist Richard Estabrook, director
      > of USF's Florida Public Archaeology Network.
      > "It's fairly rare in Florida for this material to just come up to the
      > surface. In most cases, these finds usually occur during mining operations
      > when there is uncovering of 6 feet or more of the soil," he said.
      > Excavators have offered different theories for why the remains were
      > uncovered. It could have been the result of recent rains, erosion or even
      > stormwater runoff caused by nearby roadwork.
      > It's too early to have definitive answers, Estabrook said, but speculation
      > is rampant about the site's age, how it was formed and how so many varied
      > species came to rest in one location.
      > At the time that site was thought to be inhabited by such animals,
      > Pinellas County was inland, sea levels were lower and the coastline was
      > about 100 miles out, he said.
      > "It's possible that it's an old river valley, (and) the animals got caught
      > in the muck or the river washed all these animals down into one place at
      > one time," he said. "We can get a better handle on it by analyzing the
      > soil."
      > For now, the age of the remains is thought to be 12,000 to 100,000 years
      > old. Tests will be conducted to try to pinpoint a more exact age.
      > It is possible the remains are about as old as the remains found at
      > Seminole Fields, the county's last big discovery made in the 1920s, near
      > Clearwater. The Seminole Fields site is determined to be between 28,000
      > and 30,000 years old.
      > Two other sites from the Pleistocene, or the last ice age, have been
      > discovered on Florida's east coast, in Vero Beach and Melbourne.
      > * * *
      > Experts from Tampa's Museum of Science and Industry, USF and St.
      > Petersburg College have been working with the county at the site.
      > Park employees and volunteers have been sifting carefully through silt and
      > dirt, dividing the site into 5-meter sections.
      > The recovered items are being cataloged and stored in a climate-controlled
      > building on park property.
      > Pinellas County sheriff's deputies help provide 24-hour security to keep
      > looters away. But in the beginning, park staffers took shifts.
      > Last weekend, volunteers from the Tampa Bay Fossil Club taught Seminole
      > High School students how to make plaster jackets for some of the larger,
      > fragile fossils, which will be processed once the dirt around the fossils
      > has dried enough to gently brush it away.
      > "Because of the extent of the development countywide, the odds of
      > something like this surfacing again are pretty slim," Judy Jarosz, the
      > park's supervisor, said.
      > 'Fast Facts:'
      > 'Want to see for yourself?'
      > The site at Boca Ciega Millennium Park, 12410 74th Ave. N in Seminole, is
      > not open for public viewing. However, volunteers interesting in helping
      > with the excavation may contact the park at (727) 588-4882.
      > The fossilized remains will be on display at the park's Nature Festival
      > from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on March 3.
      > © Copyright 2002-2007, St. Petersburg Times

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