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FOSSIL SITE FILE
CASEY KEY -- 5 miles South of the Southern city limits of Sarasota is the small town of Osprey on Hwy. 41. Look for the Hwy. 789 cutoff that takes you across the Intracoastal Waterway to the key. The south end of the key is hunted for teeth regularly, but the N. end is relatively untouched. Use a scoop if on the beach, or beach dive out to the 15 - 18ft. depths and use a strong spaghetti colander to sift the sand for teeth. For every one found on the surface, 20 are hidden in the sand. This is a good site!
JACKSONVILLE BEACH -- (N30° 17.69¢ W81° 23.30¢ ) -- moderate numbers of ancient tiger shark teeth can be found on the beach, as well as fossil remains of bison, horse, and giant ground sloth. There is undoubtedly a large fossil bed just off the beach, but it has not been located as of yet. The beach is located in the town of Jacksonville Beach, E. of Jacksonville on Hwy. 90, and N. on Hwy. A1A will run you right into the beach.
APOLLO BEACH -- (N27° 46.47¢ W82° 24.79¢ ) is south of Tampa off of Hwy. 41 in the town of Apollo Beach. The beach can be reached by taking the street Flamingo W. off 41., and North Ruskin is the landmark on Hwy. 41 just north of the street's intersection with the Hwy. Fossils of both land mammals and shark teeth can be found here, on what used to be the ancient Tampa Bay.
THOMAS FARM BONE BED -- A Gilchrist County site for professionals, it is an early Miocene sinkhole that has been worked since 1932. Field trips can be arranged with the Florida Museum of Natural History.
MANASOTA KEY -- (N26° 57.93¢ W82° 23.55¢ ) in Lee County, is opposite the town of Englewood, N. of Port Charlotte on the West coast of Florida. Enormous numbers of fossilized shark's teeth, including Megalodon teeth, are found here! The diving is good year round, and the beach hunting is excellent, if you don't want to get wet! The beach is off the end of Manasota Beach Road (and the Manasota Bridge), off Hwy. 775, use the landmark of Woodmere as your turning point into the town of Manasota.
VENICE -- the areas to look here are broken up into a number of different areas. One of the best is a beach dive off Venice beach in the 15-20 foot depth range. Many extremely large Megalodon teeth are found by beach divers at the point indicated in the photograph. Some simply use a spaghetti colander to scoop the bottom sands and filter out teeth, some use an inner-tube with a screen in the middle and shuttle back and forth between the bottom and the tube with bucket-fulls of bottom sand, and some simply swim the length of the beach, looking for anything black. All these techniques work! The second area to work is the Casperson Beach area, where there are a series of ledges at the 22 foot depth. These ledges are frequently cleaned of sand by wave action, exposing teeth on the bedrock to simply be picked up by the knowledgeable diver! The third area to work are the spoil islands in the Venice Inlet area, where the dredge picked up many large teeth and deposited them within easy reach of the diver, wader, or snorkeling swimmer. The offshore water is white due to a violent winter storm that frothed the surf the day before the picture was taken, normal visibility is 25+ feet. There are boat ramps (public & good ramps) on both sides of the inlet.
SHELL CREEK -- the name says it all. In addition to ancient shells, you can find Paleo-Indian spearpoints in number, and huge Megalodon teeth that rival any location in the world in quality. There is a boat ramp in a fish camp on the W. end of the Hwy. 17 bridge that provides access. To get to the bridge, turn off Hwy. 75 in Punta Gorda, and go E. on 17, until reaching the bridge. The fish camp will be on your left before you cross over.
CAMP CREEK/SANDY CREEK -- (N30° 49.54¢ W86° 04.41) is a Miocene age site, where shark's teeth, camel, three-toed horse, alligator, and turtle fossils can readily be found by wading the streams or snorkeling the deeper stretches. The site is accessed in Walton County (N. Florida), where CR 183B crosses Sandy Creek. Camp Creek is just West of the Sandy Creek crossing. Padgett Road, North of the CR 183B crossing on the East Side of 183B, also crosses Sandy Creek in two places. If you go S. on CR183B and turn right on CR 183A, you will cross a small section of Camp Creek. A wade or hike upstream will lead to deeper water.
ALAQUA METHODIST CHURCH SITE -- is a site where you can look all day and never get wet! The site is S. of Defuniak Springs and can be reached by taking CR 278 west from its intersection with Hwy. 331, to the Alaqua Methodist Church, and going 1/2 mile further to a road-cut where Miocene fossils are found. For those who wish to wade, CR 278 also crosses two small streams.
CHIPOLA RIVER -- (CR 280A Site N30° 43.048¢ W85° 12.004¢) yields fossils from the Pleistocene era primarily. A boat ramp, S. of the town of Marianna, can be reached by taking SR 71 S. of its intersection with I-10. From the intersection, go S. to the intersection of SR 71 and CR 280A, then West on CR 280A to its crossing of the Chipola, cross, and go to the boat ramp on the SW side of the bridge. A second access to the Chipola is the boat ramp N. of Marianna at the SR 167 crossing of the Chipola River. Yet another access is where SR 20 crosses the Chipola, with the fossil bed located 2 1/2 miles upstream.
ECONFINA CREEK -- (N30° 25.72 W85° 32.76) is best explored with SCUBA, as it has many spring branches, and deep sections at the river bends. A good strategy is to put a canoe in at the SR 20 overpass of Econfina Creek, and take out at the SR 388 bridge.
WACISSA RIVER -- (N30° 20.22 W83° 59.12) has many fossils in its clear canoe trail. Look especially in the many springs that line the river. SCUBA can be used in the deeper upper region, wading is sufficient in the lower reaches of the river. A canoe is a definite benefit! The spring is accessed one mile S. of the town of Wacissa, off Hwy. 59.
MOUTH OF SUWANNEE RIVER: along the sides of the outer islands at the mouth of the river, large Megalodon teeth are found by feeling around in the ooze for them.
AUCILLA RIVER: up to 5 miles inland from its mouth, all types of shark's teeth and other large fossils (including Mastodon) are found. This river is under professional archaeological study, as evidence of man's occupation of Florida has been pushed back at least 2,000 years, by Mastodon kill finds.
PEACE RIVER: where Hwy. 760 spans the Peace River, near Arcadia, extremely large MEGALODON teeth are routinely fished from the river, many larger than the human hand. It is wise to plan a trip here in the winter, when the alligators are more docile.
The mighty Megalodon, the largest carnivorous shark to ever prowl the seas, was over 60 feet in length. Precursor to the modern Great White shark lived in the Miocene epoch 5 to 24 million years ago. Some of the larger teeth fetch prices to $5000 and more!
The extinct mackerel shark lived from the Oligocene to Miocene era or 5 to 37 million years ago. These long curved teeth are highly sought after for mounting on necklaces and other jewelry!
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