Explore Florida's fossil history on one of our Fossil Hunting Tours, where you can screen sift or snorkel in one of our shallow rivers or streams. Find remains of ancient sharks, whales, dolphins, fish, saber-tooth cats, jaguars, mammoths, mastodons, camels, tapirs, horses, sloths, giant armadillos and much more. Discover your own piece of history– one that you can actually hold in your hand! Experience genuine Florida eco-tourism.
Did you know that many Ice Age Fossils, including Mammoth, Mastodon ans Saber-Tooth Cats were discovered here in Indian River County, Florida?
Florida is known as one of the richest areas for fossils in the world. There are a few reasons for this, one of which is its geological history. There has been very little geological volatility such as earthquakes or volcanic eruptions to disturb the ancient record of life in this state. Also, an extensive river system seems to have been a part of our landscape for a very long time. This contributed greatly to the amount of fossil material to be found here as it is a key factor in the preservation of animal and plant remains. Anything that dies and is quickly buried by sediment is more likely to fossilize well. Due toFlorida’s long history of sea level rise and fall, this means anything from mammoths to sharks can be found here!
Florida’s surface fossil record goes all the way back to the Eocene epoch, approximately 50 million years ago. During that time the ocean covered the entire state. Sea level has risen and fallen many times since then and multitudes of land dwelling animals and sea life lived and died here. Sometimes, if the conditions were right, their remains fossilized and remained entombed in various types of sediment. The action of water, such as that in rivers and the ocean, very often uncovers these fossil producing sediments. Many times there are a mix of terrestrial (land–dwelling) and marine (ocean-dwelling) fossils in the same location.
The list of animals that have been found here is very extensive and many books have been written about them. On that list are 60-foot sharks, stingrays, fish, whales, dugongs, manatees, dolphins, walruses, seals, alligators, crocodiles, turtles snakes, birds, mastodons, mammoths, antelope, bison, camels, ancient horses, giant armadillos, 20-foot sloths, saber-tooth cats, enormous lions, rhinos, giraffe-like animals, bear-sized beavers, and many other extra-large and long-extinct beasts.
The most common vertebrate fossil finds here (and worldwide) are shark teeth. On any given day, in the right location, many teeth are usually found. These are from several species, some extinct, some still living. Tiger sharks, lemon, gray, snaggletooth, mako, and the big guy, Megalodon, are all found here.
By Fred Mazza, Paleo Discoveries, LLC
Map of Trails