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GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Florida Museum of Natural History Vertebrate Paleontology Division is looking for volunteers to assist with fossil collecting at a major site discovered in 2005 in a limestone quarry northeast of Newberry.

The fossil dig began in October and will continue until Dec. 20. Volunteers are needed seven days a week between the hours of 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and physically fit enough to work outside for a minimum of three hours. No previous experience is necessary.

The site is approximately a 30- to 45-minute drive from Gainesville.

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“It is anticipated that this will be our last year working this fabulous fossil site,” said Richard Hulbert, Florida Museum of Natural History Vertebrate Paleontology collections manager. “We think we are nearing the end of the area that produces the best fossil skeletons. It has turned out to be one of the best sites ever found in the state, and the public still has the opportunity to participate and help make new discoveries.”

This fossil site has produced about 400 partial to nearly complete animal skeletons that are approximately 2 million years old. Fossils of tapirs, ground sloths, frogs and turtles are very abundant, and about 50 different species have been found. Museum paleontologists anticipate the discovery of more species and many more skeletons. Volunteers will be digging alongside Florida Museum staff and University of Florida graduate students.

Writer: Jessica Thurmond
Media Contact: Paul Ramey, 352-846-2000, ext. 218,