Tucker Borrow Pit
University of Florida Fossil Vertebrate Localities BR011
Tucker Borrow Pit is located in far southwestern Brevard County. 27.83o N, 80.81o W.
- Late early to early middle Pleistocene Epoch; Irvingtonian land mammal age
- About 1.3-0.6 million years old
Basis of Age
Stratigraphy, invertebrate and vertebrate biochronology. The bone-producing horizon lies above the early Pleistocene Nashua Formation and below the late Pleistocene Fort Thompson Formation, separated from each by unconformities (Morgan and Portell, 1996). This in agreement with the age suggested by vertebrate biochronology. The co-occurrence of Mammuthus, Tapirus haysii, and Holmesina floridanus is indicative of an Irvingtonian age. But the limited number of species present means that the age could be as old as the Leisey Shell Pit sites (1.0-1.5 million years old), but younger than the McLeod Limerock Pit (about 0.5-0.6 million years old).
The vertebrate fossils were collected from a clayey sand unit about 1 meter in thickness. Most of the bones came from the lower 5 to 10 cm of this bed (Morgan and Portell, 1996).
coastal lagoon or bay.
The Florida Museum of Natural History has about 600 cataloged specimens from the Tucker Borrow Pit. Nearshore marine fish are abundant, while freshwater species are rare. But freshwater turtles and alligator are common. No associated or articulated specimens were recovered; just isolated bones and teeth. The following faunal list is slightly modified from the one published by Morgan and Portell (1996).
(†= extinct species; *=species no longer living in Florida)
Sharks and Rays (Chondrichthyes)
Bony Fish (Osteichthyes)
Serpentes (multiple species)
cf. Ardea sp.
†Eremotherium sp. cf. E. eomigrans
Excavation History and Methods
Fossil bones were found in March 1993 by a construction crew building a drainage pit for the St. Johns Water Management District (SJWMD). SJWMD personnel contacted Florida Museum of Natural History collections manager Gary Morgan, who first visited the location on April 23, 1993. He and SJWMD land manager Jennifer McMurtray discovered the in situ source of the fossils on the north wall of the quarry. Field crews composed of Florida Museum staff, J. McMurtray, and volunteers from the Florida Fossil Hunters, the Florida Paleontological Society, and Indian River Historical Society collected fossils both from spoil piles and the in situ fossil-bearing layer in May 1993. Only a limited time was available to dig the site before construction was completed and the pit filled with water.
Screenwashing of sediment from the Tucker Borrow Pit failed to find small terrestrial vertebrates.
The Tucker Borrow Pit is one of the older Pleistocene fossil sites on the east coast of Florida. Although the fossil vertebrate assemblage is relatively small and does not contain any extremely rare or valuable species, it forms an important link between chronologies based on marine invertebrate and terrestrial vertebrate fossils. It is not often in Florida that one finds an in situ vertebrate-bearing deposit in direct superposition between two identifiable geologic formations. The Tucker Borrow Pit local fauna is also notable for producing three proboscideans, a fairly rare occurrence in Florida.
- Original Author: Richard C. Hulbert Jr.
- Original Completion Date: March 13, 2015
- Editor(s) Name(s): Natali Valdes
- Last Updated: June 16, 2015
Morgan, G. S. and R. C. Hulbert, Jr. 1995. Overview of the geology and vertebrate biochronology of the Leisey Shell Pit local fauna, Hillsborough County, Florida. Bulletin of the Florida Museum of Natural History 37:1-92.
Morgan, G. S. and R. W. Portell. 1996. The Tucker Borrow Pit: paleontology and stratigraphy of a Plio-Pleistocene fossil site in Brevard County, Florida. Papers in Florida Paleontology 7:1-24.
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number CSBR 1203222, Jonathan Bloch, Principal Investigator. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.