Scientific Significance

The Montbrook fossil site is the first late Hemphillian (NALMA) site found in north Florida. It is located about 120 miles (200 km) north of the Palmetto Fauna, the state’s only other source of late Hemphillian fossils. Unlike that region, Montbrook is producing more complete specimens and contains the first significant terrestrial small vertebrate fauna of this age from Florida. The Palmetto Fauna is rich in marine species, while the aquatic species discovered at Montbrook are mostly from freshwater habitats. So, Montbrook is providing the first direct evidence of its age about vertebrate life in a coastal river and adjacent habitats in the Southeastern United States.

Aerial view of the Montbrook pit
Aerial view of the Montbrook pit. Florida Museum photo by Andrea Cornejo

The Effort

An initial excavation took place at Montbrook from November 2015 until May 2016. This effort involved nearly 150 persons and 5,000 person-hours, resulting in the recovery of 8,000 fossil specimens. The digging season following this was even more extensive, running from October 1st, 2016 through May 21st, 2017. The effort made by volunteers, FLMNH staff, students, and teachers resulted in 9,221 person-hours put into the Montbrook site. Preparation and curation of these fossils is currently on going.

What We Need

In order to fund the remaining effort, we must rely on donations. Donations are tax deductible. Any contributions to help fund the effort would be greatly appreciated. To donate by credit card, follow this secure link.

If you are unable to donate money but would like to donate your time, volunteer in the field or the lab.

This project was funded in 2016-2018 by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number EAR 1645530, 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. Additional funding provided by the Felburn Foundation and the Florida Program of Vertebrate Paleontology.