Celebrating the Richness of Paleontology through Fossil Hunting

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Red Hill Fossil Site in central pa - banner


  • New regulations are being proposed that will end nearly all amateur collecting of fossils on public land.
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  • Red Hill Fossil Hunting Trip - Red Hill Revisited

    Central PA Fossil Hunting Trip Report
    September 2004

    view of the Red Hill roadcut, where the Devonian fossils can be found
    View of the Red Hill roadcut in central PA, where the Devonian fossils can be found.

    Red Hill Revisited - a search for fossil Hyneria teeth and Fin spines

    I went back to Red Hill to try my luck at Devonian fish. Red Hill contains a clear slice through the Devonian Period. It contains a large variety of fish, plants, and even contains two of North Americas oldest tetrapods. This makes it an ideal site for paleontologists studying the Devonian time period and for studying tetrapod evolution.

    I went with the MGS, and this time I was much better prepared. I brought a small sledge and a large pry bar to battle the tough rock. This time, I wanted to get a Ctenacanthus sp. fin spine. After searching, I saw two barely visible in the road cut. I hunkered down and went to work, carefully excavating the spines. After spending a few hours on these spines, one ended up being broken only a few inches into the rock, and the other one was only a few inches long. Next time I will look for a larger one! At any rate, these two fin spines look much better than my fin spine that I hacked last time. I've decided not to prep these ones until I get a pneumatic air scribe.

    Besides the fin spine disaster, I also found a fish tooth, and some placeoderm armor fragments, and part of an Archaeopteris plant.

    All in all, it wasn't a bad trip, I'm slowly getting better at extracting those tough fossils.

    Pictures of the fossil site:

    view of the cliffside at the Red Hill fossil hunting spot
    Another view up on the cliffside.

    A fossil Hyneria tooth when found
    Here is a tooth as I found it, a Hyneria lindae, a large lobe-fin fish.

    two fossil fin spines
    Here are the two fin spines I spotted. I should have known, since they were exposed like this, most of them had already eroded away.

    another view of the two fin spines found
    By this time I am realizing they are not be complete fin spines.

    Fossil finds of the day at Redhill
    These are some of my finds for the day. Broken fin spines (waiting to be prepped), a nice tooth, and a placeoderm armor fragment. There is a plant plate, another smaller tooth, and some more armor fragments not pictured here.