Fossils Hunting is like a treasure hunt. You never know what you might find, and that’s the fun part. From folklore to fossil finds – the adventure is the journey.
If you’ve been on a long hike and become bored, you might have started talking to yourself.
I’m not saying that I’ve ever done something like that. Of course not.
So if you don’t want to sound like you’re talking to yourself, you could practice tongue twisters.
Tongue twisters are a combination of words or sounds that we’ll give your brain a workout. They’re difficult to pronounce quickly and correctly. They’re also alliterative, meaning that all the words we’ll begin with the same letter.
National tongue twister day is November the 13th.
Tongue Twisters and Dinosaur Bones
“She sells seashells on the seashore.
The shells she sells are seashells, I’m sure.
And if she sells seashells on the seashore,
Then I’m sure she sells seashore shells.”
This tongue twister is said to be based on Mary Anning, who collected seashells and sold the seashells to tourists. But if you dig (yes, the pun is real) deeper – you soon discover that this is legend or “metafolklore.”
Even though it appears to be folklore, I prefer to think of an enterprising woman seeing a business opportunity that helped sustain her passion for discovering the fossilized remains of ichthyosaur, plesiosaur, and pterosaur as well as a coprolite (fossiled poop). Of course, being a woman in the early 1800s meant male scientists stole the credit.
Where Seashells and Fossils Meet
Roughly 240 to 500 million years ago, the Cincinnati area was covered by a shallow sea brimming with marine life. But all was not calm. Massive hurricanes constantly swept through the shallow sea, burying and preserving the marine life into the fossils we find today.
However, the strata (layers) of fossils were buried deep under many other layers of earth. Then the tectonic plates shifted pushing up the Cincinnati Arch that runs through Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
When glaciers plowed through the region, they essentially bulldozed off the top layers exposing the Ordovician layer.
The Greater Cincinnati area has plenty of Ordovician-aged rocks—with fossilized sea critters such as brachiopods, horn coral (commonly called dinosaur teeth), cephalopods, and crinoids (commonly called penny stacks). People from around the world come to explore Cincinnati’s unique geology.
Where You Can Find Ordovician Fossils
Some of the common fossils you can find in the Cincinnati Arch area are horned corals, crinoids, tabulate corals, brachiopods, and the coveted trilobites.
I like the horned corals and the brachiopods the best. However, finding a long crinoid is fantastic.
The photos below show off bivalves, brachiopods, and corals. These flat rocks are common throughout the Cincinnati Arch region and are often used for building stone walls.
Here are my favorite books about the fossils in the Cincinnati Arch.
Trails You Can Hunt for Fossils
Trails you can see fossils around the Cincinnati area include Sharon Woods. Nearby Sharon Woods is Trammel Fossil Park, where you are allowed to collect fossils.
There isn’t any shade, and the fossil-rich stones are fairly sharp. I highly recommend gloves, a garden hand trowel, something to kneel on like a towel or garden pad, and a cloth bag to hold the fossils. Why cloth? If you use plastic, it will tear.
The educational displays at Trammel Fossil Park are full of great information.
Fossil collecting in Ohio is allowed at Hueston Woods State Park, Oakes Quarry Park, Caesar Creek State Park, and East Fork State Park. Some areas require a permit. But don’t sweat it. Getting a permit is as easy as filling out paperwork and following the rules.
Go here to learn more about hunting for Ordovician fossils in the Cincinnati area, which includes Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
Hunt for Fossil Clubs and Where to Dig Them Up
The Dry Dredgers is the oldest and continuously operating fossil club in North America. http://drydredgers.org/
If you want to learn more about fossils, check out their Paleontology Web Sites page. http://drydredgers.org/paleoweb.htm
Where to See Dinosaur Fossils and Hike
The National Park Service’s Fossil Discovery Trail in the Dinosaur National Monument is the place to go. The trail is 1.2 miles and features a stop at the Morrison Formation.
At the outcropping, you can see several small fossil fragments and a few large pieces of dinosaur bones in their natural state, just as Earl Douglass found them in 1909.
How You Can Help Nature
Do the natural spaces you love a solid favor. Pack in and pack out your trash. Only collect specimens if it is permitted. Leave the area cleaner than you found it.
If dogs are not allowed, don’t bring our dog. If dogs are allowed, keep the dog on a leash and clean up after your dog.
Volunteer or donate to the places you love to visit and enjoy. A movie ticket is roughly $18. If you enjoy a park or park system, consider an annual donation of $20 per person in your household or join a “friends of” volunteer group to volunteer!
Need more fossil parks. Head here to discover all the places you can go hunting for fossils.
Learn more about the Cincinnati Arch.
The unique history of Mary Anning.
More Tongue Twisters for You
Need some more tongue twisters? Here you go —
Here. You. GO.
Fresh fried fish, fish fresh fried, fried fish fresh, fish fried fresh.
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood
Give papa a cup of proper coffee in a copper coffee cup.
The big bug bit the little beetle, but the little beetle bit the big bug back
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?
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