Identifying fossils may need more than just a look - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Identifying fossils may need more than just a look

(Source: Fossils of Myrtle Beach facebook) (Source: Fossils of Myrtle Beach facebook)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Different shaped items on the beach can often be mistaken for fossils. Archaelogists have a solid understanding of how to identify a fossil from years of studying, however most people might pick something up that is unique looking and mistake it for a fossil. 

A local fossil collector Janet Wilson Clore says there is ways to tell if a fossil is real or fake. For example sharks teeth are unmistakable but other material such as horse, molars & bone material come with time. The key to finding a fossil is picking up mostly odd looking shapes and black material. Some fossils come in a variety of colors depending on where it laid and in what material.

Most fossils can be identified by research, internet, or books such as a Pictorial Guide to Fossils by Gerard R Case, and Fossil Vertebrate Beach & Bank Collecting for Amateurs by: M.C. Thomas.

If you're still unsure of the item, archaeologists can determine if it's a fossil, it takes about 4 years or more to become an archaeologist. An archaeologist studies past cultures through artifacts, or items which people have made, used or modified, according to nps.gov.

Clore says the most common type of fossils depend on where you are. Most fossils found in the beach are shark teeth, great white, tiger, and more.

Clore recently went on a fossil hunt with Ron Kirkpatrick to The Great Pee Dee River where they dug down 30 feet along the rivers edge. The area is known for its Jurassic period dated 65 million years old, where the animal died.

At one time the ocean was known watering holes for large mammals and therefore, the ocean will place horse, mammoth, peccary, giant sloth & deer dated thousands of years old.

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