On the News | Students search for sea-creature fossils off roadcut in Indiana @ The Collegian

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Students search for sea-creature fossils off roadcut in Indiana


A fossilized shark tooth found near Sulphur, Indiana by James Young during a trip there by Historical Geography students. James Young | Courtesy (@source)

“Almost all students who visit Stone Hill end up flat on their stomach, peering at the ground. They don’t have much of a choice: They’re hunting for fossils, and there isn’t an easier way to see them.

Historical Geology class students put their classroom work to use on last week’s field trip, when they visited Stone Hill in Brookville, Indiana, to search for Ordovician fossils.

“I thought you would have to search through the mud to find the fossils, but they are sitting on top of everything,” senior Christine Scanlan said. “There are thousands and thousands of them. It’s really crazy how prolific they are.”

Stone Hill looks like just another Indiana roadcut, but its rocks are filled with the remains of sea creatures more than 450 million years old.

“It’s basically a treasure hunt,” junior James Young said. “It’s just the side of the road. If you drive past it, you would not be tell it from anything else. But if you get out onto the rocks, basically the whole thing is covered with sea shells and corals and all sorts of things that you wouldn’t expect from a countryside in Indiana.”

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Indiana was once under a tropical sea. As the tectonic plates shifted, its waters dried, and sediments buried its sea creatures under many layers. They remained hidden until the continental plates buckled, erosion exposed the ancient remains, and Hillsdale students picked them up.

“There is a really distinct thrill in finding something so old,” Young said. “The fossil has been sitting there, waiting for you to pick it up for 450 million years. It’s seen the world go through three major extinction events and the entirety of every single war — and all of that is nothing compared to these things.”” (…) READ MORE

Lurdes Fonseca

Assistant Professor and Researcher at University of Lisbon
Sociologist (PhD), Paleontologist (Researcher in Micropaleontology), Majors in Sociology and Biology, Minor in Geology. Main interests in Paleontology: Microfossils, Molecular fossils, Paleobiology and Paleoecology. (read more about me)