When first signing up for the Florida Vertebrate Paleontology course, I was expecting the usual lecture/exam format. After I found out that we were going to primarily focus on field work, I was beyond excited. I had previously been interested in fossils but never had an opportunity like this to dig at a professional site like Montbrook. Below are some photos and descriptions of what I dug up during this memorable experience.

Montbrook Site & Animals

Day 1 of Digging

Day one was relatively uneventful for me. I was not able to find any bones, but fortunately the people around me had some pretty neat finds:

Day 2 of Digging

Day 2 was definitely an improvement for me from day 1. I was able to find quite a few smaller bones and fragments. Towards the end of the day I came across the larger bone structure in the third photo, but unfortunately it was very porous and almost rotted, making it unsalvageable.

Day 3 of Digging

Day 3 of digging was incredibly fun; I was busy the entire day. I came across what was likely a spot where a gar fish was crushed, as I found about 100 gar scales all stacked on-top of or near each other. While extracting all of these scales, they seemed endless. Additionally, I found some fragments of fish skull and a piece of alligator coprolite (fossilized alligator poop).

Day 4 of Digging

Day 4 was definitely the most entertaining and memorable day in the field for me. I was lucky enough to work on uncovering a gomphothere leg which was partially uncovered when I started the day. We then found out that the leg is a fully articulated forelimb, ranging from the toes to the shoulder. It was incredible to work on extracting this large and impressive fossil. Additionally, on the same day someone on the opposite site of the site uncovered a very rare rhino jaw with teeth still intact, which was very neat to see.