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Fossils that can be found along the Paleocene Cliffs of the Potomac River
Printable Identification Fossil Sheets for Vertebrates and Invertebrates of the Paleocene Potomac River
Mallows Bay Ghost Fleet. This is not a fossil site, but a nearby kayaking/paddling site. This bay contains one of the
largest ship ghost fleets.
Nearby Shark Tooth Collecting Location:
Calvert Cliffs, MD
Fossil Shark Gallery
Parts of Sharks that Fossilize
Yippee! a Paleocarcharodon Shark Tooth
This was our setup for the Nanjemoy Heritage Day. Paul and Amy leisurely await the start of the event.
Yippee! a Paleocarcharodon
Many months ago I received an email from someone in Nanjemoy, MD about setting up a display at the
2008 Nanjemoy Heritage Day
to show Charles County's rich fossil bounty. The date was Sept. 20th. As the months flew by, and the date quickly
approached, I decided to rope Paul into helping out at this event. I have no idea why he did so, but his help was
greatly appreciated. We set up 3 tables full of fossils and had a kiddy pool filled with Pungo River sediment from
PCS Phosphate mine in Auroa, NC
for the kids (and some adults) to search through.
The event was nice. There was a parade, clowns, horses, Indians, a live band, and many booths and vendors.
The event went flew by while we watched countless kids turn into enthusiastic paleontologists as they discovered
prehistoric beasts in the kiddy pool. If only one could hold onto that passion.
The only glitch to the event was the lack of an ATM machine. In a society becoming more and more cashless,
I tend to not carry much of the green stuff. Unfortunately, the event was cash only and the nearest ATM machine
was nearly an hour round trip drive away. Knowing we had to eat, I scrounged up a whopping $10.00 and figured we
could purchase a small snack to hold us over. To my surprise, $10.00 allowed me to buy 4 cheeseburgers, 2 sodas,
1 water, 1 piece of carrot cake, and 1 brownie! We feasted like kings on $10.00! It felt as if 10 years of inflation
was taken off the dollar!
Anyhow, here's the fossil part... This event just so happened to be a short drive from a nice Potomac River fossil
site. At sunrise before the event, we met along the Potomac for a fossil hunt.
Unfortunately, the water level was VERY high. Waves were washing against the cliffs. There were only small patches
of beach exposed to collect on. After a few hours of fossil collecting, we found less than 10 fossils between the three
of us. The day would have been a wash; however, the very first tooth I picked up happened to be a Paleocarcharodon
orientalis fossil shark tooth. A very rare "Pygmy White Shark" from the Paleocene. These oddities are only found in a few places
on earth and are the reason why many collectors hunt this area.
On our way out, we happened to run into Kevin, a collecting acquaintance. He decided to wait it out for the water
level to lower. He emailed me pics of his finds afterward. When I saw some nice Otodus fossil tooth he found, I knew his waiting
it out strategy paid off!
Kids become paleontologists as they dig through Pungo River sediment from Aurora.
Here, Paul and Amy search along the Potomac cliffs.
Unfortunately, the seaweed was in full bloom and washing ashore. This makes for a stinky mess.
Here are the finds. Nothing notable except for the Paleocarcharodon orientalis.
This is the Paleocarcharodon orientalis, or Pygmy White Shark. The serrations are very worn, and the cusps are
probably worn off.