thEvery year many people travel to spectacular geological vistas such as the Grand Canyon to feel the sense of awe inspired by gazing across the great depths of time represented by its many multi-colored rock layers.  Smaller scale, but no less amazing glimpses into the Earth’s past can be found in rocks much closer to home.”  ~ Jim Lacefield

Quick…what comes to mind instantly when I mention Alabama: college football, civil rights, hot sticky weather?  After recently visiting this rural southern state, and eating boiled peanuts, collard greens, BBQ, and moon pies (luckily I wasn’t asked to sample chitlins!!), I discovered that  Alabama represents one of the best states for dinnosaur era fossils.  Nearly all geological history layers are represented, from near the dawn of time (Pre-Cambrian Era) through the Cretaceous dinnosaur time and up to the “modern day” Quaternary Period.

The dinosaur bones are found in the limestone chalk (think potters clay consistency) of an ancient inland seas.  By a creekbed near Union Springs, I delighted in easily breaking mounds of gray chalk in half and finding turtle shells, coiled sea shells and Mother of pearl relics.  Later at a remote upland hill site, we came upon hundreds of Goblin Shark teeth.  Every exposed cutbank site carries its own prehistoric surprises and because the fossils reveal themselves anew everyday due to erosion, one day’s non-findings can become a treasure trove overnight.  It is astounding that shell and bone can withstand the convulsive underground changes wrought by time.

As I write from Tupelo, Mississippi, I can feel Elivs’s ghost hovering in his birthplace town.  Just outside Tupelo’s city limits, Blue Spring Fossible Bed yields more seashells than any beach I know.  And these shells are 145 million years old, and share thise site with inky black crabs and the occasional shark tooth.  Fossil hunting in Alabama and Mississippi can yield spectacular skeletons such as the recently excavated bigger than T-Rex Appalachiosaurus.   And after I returned home, my fellow fossil hunters came upon a Pterosaur, a giant flying reptile.

Despite all the electronic distractions of the modern age, I’m glad that many of today’s children are still crazy about dinosaurs. ~

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