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Paleo Discoveries E-Newsletter
 Spring  2009
Welcome back to the latest edition of our newsletter! Things have been moving right along down here in Fla. and we've got some new things to share, a feature fossil, and some good news for everyone wondering how the fossil huntin' has been.
   First, I want to send out a personal thank-you to all the returning faces from years past on our tours this winter. We sincerely appreciate your repeat business.     Peace River train trestle- Arcadia

    Second, thanks to everyone for all the "Deliverance" movie quotes and material for a very funny book someday about our fossil hunting frolics, especially on our canoe trips. No, I still don't have a bow and arrow, a big knife or a banjo. Yes, I still have all my teeth.                                                   
  OK, on with the show....
News- The Peace River Times

You really can't get too many photos of Megalodon teeth, can you?

  The news out on the river is more of the same, but it's all good. South Florida is now in the middle of the dry season which usually continues on until late May, when building humidity and heat bring on summer thunderstorms. For now though, the river remains about 2 ft below normal and very clear. Things got a little chilly at points during the winter, but we're now into warmer and more consistent weather in the low 80's .
Conditions for fossil-hunting in all locations are excellent, and we're having great success on our canoe and walk-in trips.  Recent finds include a few mammoth teeth, carnivore teeth (Dire wolf and Saber-tooth cat), plus beautiful fossil sand dollars and of course, quite a few Megalodon teeth.
  We also have 3 new book additions to our website store- Chased by Sea Monsters, Prehistoric America and Fossilized Shark's Teeth & Fossils (a photo ID guide).  The first two are outstanding companion books to the Discovery Channel series produced by the BBC. The photo guide book is very handy, especially for common Florida fossils.
   Many people on our tours ask if the sifting screens we use are for sale; they are and are priced at $25. for a good used screen or $35. new. If you would like a new screen, please let us know before the tour so we have one available.  

Creature Feature-
Fossil Animal of the Quarter

The Columbian Mammoth

Mammoths are likely one of the most
recognizable animals of the last ice-age; there were a few different species with the cold-weather adapted woolly mammoth probably being the  most familiar. 
All was not ice and snow, however, in the ice age. The southern states, especially Florida, were nearly as warm as they are today. There is evidence it may have a times been warmer than today. 

   The warmer climes of the ice age were the home of the Columbian mammoth which shared it's home with an enormous variety of other animals such as saber-tooth cats, jaguars, lions, short-faced bears, llamas, horses and more familiar animals of today such as alligators, opossum, raccoon and beavers. While nearly all the larger animals of the ice age went extinct approx. 10-12,000 years ago, many of the smaller animals live on today.
   The Columbian Mammoth was somewhat larger than even a large African elephant of today which is it's closest relative. Not surprisingly, mammoths seemed to have lived a very similar lifestyle to elephants. They spent a large amount of time grazing on grasses and small flowering plants and the similarity of their teeth to elephants reflects this. The evidence points to herding behavior, matriarchal groups and fairly long-term care of their young.
  Mammoth tusks (which are actually specialized teeth) grew continually throughout their lifetime an could exceed 14' in total length. The tusks were used for both fighting and feeding as do modern elephants.
  There has been some discussion recently (for right or wrong) about the possibility of resurrecting a mammoth through extracted DNA. It may be technically possible in the very near future that maybe the mammoths will walk again some day! 

Columbian Mammoth Molar Tooth- 10,000 to 1 million yrs old from the Peace River in Arcadia. Found by feel- yes, I actually stubbed my toe on it!