Monday, April 15, 2013

The Shark Tooth Hunt Is On Beginning Saturday, April 20

Ever wanted to dig up shark teeth? In Durham? It possible now, and it's about to get easier.

The Museum of Life and Science, home of the Triangle’s foremost Dinosaur Trail and Fossil Dig Site, announces the arrival of 300 tons of fresh fossil material to refresh its popular Dig Site. PotashCorp-Aurora, Norfolk Southern Railway Company and the City of Durham are helping provide tons of fossil hunting fun when they come together in a huge “bucket brigade” to transport “fresh” fossil dirt for a spring refresh of the Museum’s Fossil Dig Site, a key component of the Museum’s Dinosaur Trail.

The Museum’s Dinosaur Trail and Fossil Dig Site educates visitors about paleontology—the study of prehistoric life forms on Earth through the examination of fossils and interactive presentations. Teeming with shark teeth, dolphin and whale bones, fish vertebrae, shells, coral and even crocodile and turtle fossils, the Museum’s dig site is equipped with digging tools and fossil identification charts for visitors to find and take home real fossil treasures from 5 to 20 million years old.

Special Event Kickoff Megalodon Shark Tooth Hunt: April 20-21; 26-27 and May 5-6

Opening to the public Saturday, April 20 and for three weekends through May 5, fossil hunters at the Museum’s site can find special golden-colored “treasure teeth” – that’s the ticket to win one of several colossal megalodon teeth.

Each megalodon tooth is over 4 inches in length and belonged to megalodon sharks that were themselves about 40 feet long weighing as much as 80 tons each, three times as big as today’s biggest great white shark and comparative in size to a modern-day school bus.

Volunteers from the North Carolina Fossil Club will be on hand each weekend to help identify fossils found at the dig site and help you learn more about fossil collecting.

Megalodon Shark Background
The Megalodon was the biggest prehistoric shark that ever lived and the biggest predatory marine creature in the history of the planet, outweighing today’s fierce Great White Sharks.

Megalodon teeth have been found all over the world, from antiquity to modern times. Millions of years ago, here in North Carolina, shallow seas teeming with life covered its coastal plain where these sharks swam and hunted. Since sharks constantly replace their teeth, producing thousands in a lifetime, as they grew, fed or fought, their shed teeth accumulated on the sea floor.

“Bucket Brigade” Fossil Transport — Aurora to Durham
At PotashCorp in Aurora NC, phosphate is mined to provide nutrients to plants and animals for fertilizer or feed. When mining for phosphate, they dig through a layer of fossil-containing material. This “trash” contains a rich amount of “treasure” for fossil hunters.  The most efficient way to move this much material to Durham is by rail and Norfolk Southern Railway Company generously provided three train cars to transport the material along a 130-mile journey from Aurora to Durham. The City of Durham provided the final delivery leg, using large dump trucks to haul the material to the Museum campus.

The Shark Tooth Hunt paleontological adventure is only at the Museum of Life and Science in Durham – a chance to hunt the best fossil material with the added thrill of a chance to acquire a fossil hunter’s dream – a gigantic megalodon tooth from one of the most fearsome predators to have ever lived! The Megalodon Tooth Hunt and all fossil hunting at the Dig Site are free with admission.

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