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We are in the process of doing a survey of three locations in the region. We hope to identify enough species to establish a timeframe for the deposition of the fossils. Ms. Offutt, who once taught us biology in a classroom setting, joined us for the expedition. She is an avid birder, so we hoped to spot more than just fossils. As soon as we were geared up, Andersen and I raced to the beach. Both of us had chest-waders, so we waded across the estuary and plucked up the first fossils of the day. The rest of the gang came along a little later, and I showed them my first finds.

The wind was rushing towards the beach, making the wavelets ride up the estuary. The tide was still falling, giving us hope that the further reaches would be accessible. We made the decision that those of us with chest waders would venture around the bend, and towards the first beach to the south. Here, we searched for smaller shark teeth, and Andrew made a notable find. He discovered half the tip of a squalodon tooth, something we have seen there in the hands of others, but which was a first for our group. I noticed some trees that were just about to fall, and told everyone to avoid them, even though the landslide under them was tempting. We only stayed for thirty minutes, and then moved back to the main beach where we recounted our experience. We swapped gear so that Matthew could join us in the next foray south. Early on, Ms. Offutt had found what was probably the best specimen, a vertebra, most likely from a porpoise. After that we continued on to the more fertile areas. As we traveled, I asked many people if they had found anything nice. All of them said no, except for a college graduate, who showed us a monster mako he had found. It was probably from the lower Miocene due to the thickness of the base. It was an awesome find, but we still continued to pick up anything they had missed. We all searched until the agreed turnaround point was visible.

 

Examining find in situ. Andrew's keeping watch on the cliffs.

A rich vein

Retrieving a find from the matrix

Ms. Offutt was right. They were bald eagles.

Assessing the haul