Old School Geekdad: Fossil Hunting

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When my son expressed an interest in fossils I saw an opportunity to geekdad Old School style and pretend IImg_0259_2Img_0259_2 was one of the original geekdads, the gentleman naturalists that are stock characters in most movies about
Victorian England.

Not knowing much (anything) about fossil hunting, we turned to the internet where I found sites and forums describing the fossil hunting process. If you live in California, www.gtlsys.com has information to get you started. I also picked up Discovering Fossils: How to Find and Identify Remains of the Prehistoric Past (Fossils & Dinosaurs)to learn what to look for and how to find it.

We decided to hunt for fossilized shark’s teeth in sandy sediment at a location we found online. I corresponded with some of the experts from the site’s forum and even found one who was kind enough to act as our guide! 

The basic tools you need for fossil hunting in sand are a sifter to separate the stones and fossils from the surrounding sand or soil, a shovel, and a safe place to hunt.  We built a simple fossil sifter from wood and a screen based on photos we found here

Remember, safety should be your number one priority.  Please follow the rules in Discovering
Fossils concerning safety and consent to fossil hunt on public or private land.

Success! We found numerous shark teeth that other collectors at the site told us were 50 million years old. The whole process is starting again soon; my kids just asked me about meteorites…Img_0261Img_0261

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