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Limey Mates! - There's Fossils in this Muddy Quarry

The APS took a journey across the state line into southern Mississippi in March to a Lime Quarry in Smith County. As you can tell from the picture it was a little muddy, in fact flood warnings went up for the entire surrounding area after inches of rain fell the day and evening before our hunt. But be that as it may, we continued undeterred and were rewarded with a beautiful cool day for collecting at a fabulous Oligocene site. The age of the site is early Oligocene (Rupelian) and has exposures primarily of the Marianna, Glendon, and Bucatunna formations. We were hosted by members of the staff from the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and had a good turnout of members that made the drive (some the night before). As seen below all were mostly paying attention to George's speech as they were anxious to start the fossil collecting!

There was an excellent diversity of fossils at the site to include vertebrate (primarily fish and shark) and invertebrate fossils (e.g. Mollusks, Bryozoans, Decapods and Echinoids). We were lucky enough to have had some rare finds for this location and the formations; several fossils found have or will make their way into museum collections. That is always very exciting. In some places the ground was just littered with fossils as shown below.

Below are some of the fossils found:

Close up of a sea urchin schizaster americanus, some crab bits, and some scallop shells (Chlamys anatipes):

There were quite a few vertebrate fossils found to include shark teeth and fish otoliths:

Even found the distant relatives of Calamites:

Just a fabulous day all around! Hope to see you on our next field trip.

Jim Braswell, APS President

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