Fossil Hunt: Peace River gravel

The tiny black pebbles in this gravel are made of phosphate rock, collected in the Peace River area of Florida. Mixed in with the pebbles are 20-million-year-old fossils of sharks, rays, and other animals that lived in or near the shallow sea that covered Florida at that time. The more you look the more you find, because some of the fossils are tiny teeth from baby sharks!

Here’s one way to hunt for fossils in your phosphate gravel: Pour some gravel on one side of a paper plate, then slowly push small amounts of gravel to the other side of the plate, so you can look closely at a very thin layer of black-and-gray phosphate pebbles, sand, and fossils. Use a magnifier if you have one. Pick out any fossils you see and set them aside to identify later.

Each Fossil Hunt Open-at-Home Bag includes a bag of fossil-filled phosphate gravel, a fossil-identification sheet, and small zippered baggies to store the fossils that you find.

Your bag of gravel comes with a paper that will help you identify many of your fossil finds. You may also find one or two these fossils:

This website will help you identify even more of the fossils in your sample of Peace River gravel:

If you still have trouble identifying something, email a photo of the fossil to Mr. Eric at, and he will try to help.

Follow this link to learn more about collecting fossils in the Peace River area in Florida: