Fossil Expeditons

One of the best vertebrate fossil collecting rivers in Florida. Easy access. Shallow most of the year. Great for screen-washing, snorkeling or diving. Native Americans called the Peace River "Talakchopcohatchee," which means "River of Peas." Somewhere along the way, white settlers changed it to Peace River. Today, 67 miles of the river are a designated canoe trail, beginning at the U.S. Highway 98 bridge just east of Fort Meade and ending downstream at State Road 70 west of Arcadia. There are dozens of places along the river to launch a canoe or small boat.

So far, the Queen of Florida fossil hunting on our expeditions - hands down - is Debbie "Flipper" Burdette. The first day of one of our expeditions, she was snorkeling the Peace River in Polk County and pulled up a complete mammoth tooth. The following day, she wanted to go again. What does she do? She finds a complete mastodon tooth. Then, she heads north to the Carolinas, and in a phosphate mine, finds a six inch extinct giant white shark tooth. The following year, she joins us again in the Peace River in Hardee County, and finds another mammoth tooth. But before you discount her as just being lucky, you would do well to observe how she collects. Like anyone who is successful at what they do, she is focused and persistent. She thinks about important things like "Where would I hide if I was a mammoth tooth?" and "I'm glad I brought the guide an extra peanut butter and jelly sandwich."

Nate Miller found this mammoth tooth in the Peace River, Polk County, Florida. Not a man of many words, Nate did manage to elicit a fairly audible "Wow!"

Mike and Pam Sampognaro, along with their children Mary Margaret and Michael John, traveled with us to the Peace River in Hardee County. Within the first hour of screen-washing in shallow water, they scooped up about 1/4th of a mammoth tooth. Later, their shovel hit something that sounded like metal against china. They immediately stopped digging and worked their hands down through the sand, pulling out an entire mammoth tooth, with the replacement plates attached. Later in the day, part of the lower jaw was discovered, as well as what appeared to be a Marion spear tip. At the end of the day, everyone was getting ready to leave when Mike shouted, "Just one more scoop!" Lo and behold, he locates another mammoth tooth! A photo and Isolated Finds Form will be sent to the Florida State Bureau of Archaeology, notifying them of the Marion point. The last two photos are of a mammoth foot bone uncovered at "the site a few weeks later.

Trips are by reservation, beginning at 9am until 3pm. We are located in the Ft Myers area, but conduct expeditions in areas that are a reasonable driving distance from Tampa, St Pete, Orlando, Sarasota, Naples or Ft Lauderdale.
For prices and reservations, call (239)368-3252.
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