Friday, June 4, 2010
One of the things we did when the kids were small,
was our family liked to dig fossils. The above picture
if you can't tell is a fossilized clam, it is still closed tight.
The weird bone looking thing is a inside of ear canal,
of a sea lion and of course the shark tooth.
This is the disk that goes between the vertebrae
of a whale.
This is the whale vertebrae. See how the disk
fits perfectly on top.
These are just some of the shark teeth the kids dug
Now the story part, you knew there had to be a story
When my husband was young, his grandpa used to take
him to dig sharks teeth at a area just in the foothills above
our town. It appropriately is named Sharks Tooth Hill.
They would go dig sharks teeth and at the time, we did
not know that in the dirt lives a organism that gives you
what is called Valley Fever. When we have dust storms,
you will see the rise in cases of Valley Fever. When we
were teenagers the county closed Sharks Tooth Hill and
you couldn't go dig there anymore, but the foot hills are so
full of bones you can go out there and find a place if you know
what to look for and dig.
The first time, and I admit only time I went to dig fossils we
found this really great place and started digging. We were in
the matrix where the fossils are and the first thing we dug up was
the whale vertebrae. Then the disks but not being or having
any experience with digging up dead things, I got the shock of my life.
I have always thought that when you dig up fossils everything would be
fossilized, right? Well as we are digging all of a sudden there is a smell like
something dead. The kids were small so all of a sudden I am starting
to get goosebumps running up and down my arms.
Let me set the stage, here we are out in the foot hills, the sun
is starting to go down, we are digging in the dirt with shovels and
there is the smell of something dead. This was all before CSI and all
of that stuff and all I can think of is, " How in the world do we know
if this is a fish? What if it really is a body? No one ever told me
that in bone beds, not every thing is a fossil. Some of it is bone next
The kids were finding clam shells and other things and sharks teeth,
I grabbed the babies and went to the end of the truck and quit digging.
Pretty soon everyone stopped because it was to dark to see. I asked
around a bit and that was when I learned not everything will be a fossil.
We came home and we had asked our dentist for all of his old dental
tools and I had boiled them and that is what you use to remove the
dirt and crud that gets into the fossils. It keeps all kids busy for hours.
My family, (not me) dug trilobites in Oklahoma. Maybe
sometime I will tell you all about dissecting Owl pellets, the hardest thing
about that is soaking them in warm water, in the kitchen.
Have a lovely Friday.