The Education Committee at the Geological Survey of Alabama/State Oil and Gas Board has sponsored several Fossil Digs over the years at events such as Tuscaloosa CityFest and Gordo Mule Day. Children (and adults!) enjoy digging in the sand for fossils such as shark teeth, brachiopods (ridged shells similar to small clams), ammonites (relatives of the chambered nautilus), and many others. Plastic shovels, buckets, and sieves help children find the more elusive creatures. The fossil hunters can bag the fossils they find to take them home.
“Are there any shark teeth in there?” “Keep digging, you’ll find them!” Charlie Smith of the Survey helps children be paleontologists at Gordo Mule Days in 2006.
Volunteers from the GSA, OGB, and other organizations help each budding paleontologist identify their fossils and share other information with them such as habitat and age. Children frequently help each other find and identify fossils.
Richard Carroll from the Survey helps children identify fossils they have found.
Fossils from Alabama donated by Survey personnel are supplemented by shark teeth and other fossils purchased by the education committee. These purchases are made to match the enthusiasm and huge demand seen each year for shark teeth. We are happy to report that every child left with at least one and often a sack full of shark teeth and other fossils.
For more information about the Fossil Dig, including how to schedule one for your event, please contact David Kopaska-Merkel