Tuesday, February 5, 2013

A Leisurely Fossil Hunt

"Are you from this area?" I asked, after exchanging greetings with a gentleman surrounded by fossils.


"Do you lead fossil hunts or tours?" I followed.

"In Morocco, yes."
I think my shortened question, using "area" to mean "the area around Tucson," was interpreted to mean "this space among several similar run-together booths in the hall."
The conversation then continued.

It was one of several conducted with dealers attending the two-week long Tucson Gem, Mineral, and Fossil Showcase.

I had wanted to see some of the fossils at three sites over two days and had begun with a stop at the booth of a dealer from Germany.

After a brief conversation, I was given the OK to take some photos of their fossils. I believe the first four photos are of fossils from Germany. I began taking notes with photo Number 3 above: "This is a fossil of Gyrodus Circularis from about 145 million years ago found in Solnhofen, Germany."
Recording this identifying information was taking more time away from just admiring the fossils, so the remaining photos remain unidentified for you readers. The photo above and one below, I believe, were found in Morocco.
As much as I enjoyed studying the details in the fossils, I have been equally frustrated with the inability to capture these same details and the differences in shading within the fossils in the photos.
I then met Robert Bowen from Wyoming Fossils. He took time to talk about the Green River site in Wyoming where his fossils were found.
More importantly, he talked about how fossils are displayed, mentioning that some dealers "highlight" details or even fill in details that are not clearly shown in the fossil.
I mentioned that I thought the experience of splitting the layers of limestone to reveal a fossil or a group of fossils or especially a rare animal or plant must be pretty exciting. With a smile, he agreed.

His fossil hunts provided the subject for several minutes of conversation before we parted. Southwestern Wyoming may be in our summer travel plans.

These stops were followed by visits with another Green River area dealer, a fossil dealer from Tucson, and two dealers from Lebanon.

The businessmen from Lebanon were especially helpful in describing the signs to look for in the limestone that will guide the steps in splitting the stone to reveal a fossil.

They also brought out a microscope that showed the detail and the dimensional qualities of fossils.

The beauty of the fossils plus the education provided in brief conversations and demonstrations fueled my interest in hunting for fossils.

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