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Contents:  Aurora and Ocean Lakes FOSSIL FESTIVALS, and Fossil Identification Photos


WAS HELD ON MAY 28-29 THIS YEAR (Memorial Day weekend each year)

Here is a link to the Aurora Fossil Museum website (Events link):


 & NC Office of Environmental Education website with more information on the 2008 show events:





May 23, 2009

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Photo of phosphate excavation equipment in the park across from the Museum

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New fossils from the Club to share, to assist with identification
 Black bear (Ursus americanus), right molar; Cope's Tapir, upper & lower molar and lower incisor

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Black bear, last upper right molar and lower left molar

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Modern black bear, rear paw, North Carolina

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Long-nosed peccary (Mylohyus sp. nasutus, lower left molar teeth

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Pinckney's Capybara (Neochoerus pinckneyi), cheek tooth and incisor

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Comparison of teeth:  Polar bear, squalodon, archeocete, cave bear

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Comparison of teeth: panther, prosqualodon, dire wolf, seal, and porpoise

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Seal femur, radius, metacarpal, metatarsal and phalunge

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Shasta ground sloth teeth, claw core and partial rib

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Manatee partial lower jaw, and  vertebrae

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Small wolf or red wolf (Canis rufus), Navicular (foot bone), premolar tooth, and astralagus bone

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Metoposaur drawing, and lower & upper jaw sections

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Link to view George Powell, sharing with us a partial whale skeleton he is restoring, in a garage just off the main street, during the show:

Sharks Page 16


MAY 2008


Here's Heidi at the fest, and a surprise meeting with a website customer she invited by email to come that CAME!  Moe said he's really glad he came.

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Science studies explained in one tent, these are turtle skulls

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Nurse shark jaw

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Whale vertebrae

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Whale baleen

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au69.jpg (141774 bytes)

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Thanks to George Powell, here are fossil shark teeth as they would grow within the jaw.

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au74.jpg (165397 bytes)  au72.jpg (151100 bytes)

Whale vertebrae in matrix

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Fossil dolphin shark teeth

au77.jpg (135875 bytes)

Extinct toothed whale teeth

au78.jpg (138240 bytes)

CROC JAWS (Gavialosachus Americanus)

Associated fossil crocodile upper/lower jaws

au90.jpg (156599 bytes)  au101.jpg (116318 bytes)  au104.jpg (126907 bytes)  au105.jpg (117876 bytes)

A second set of croc jaws

au103.jpg (117589 bytes)  au102.jpg (120652 bytes)  au89.jpg (150664 bytes)

First Parade banner

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Great shark float!

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Gator golf cart (Sudan Gators)

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Keystone Kops

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au88.jpg (158832 bytes)


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Driving out of town, we snapped a few photos of the mine operation

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On our way back from New York, we made an unexpected stop in Aurora.  There were people digging in the phosphate pile in the center of town, even in the early spring cold.

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aur2.jpg (119038 bytes) au1.jpg (141081 bytes)  au42.jpg (156669 bytes)

aur17.jpg (125165 bytes)  aur18.jpg (123417 bytes)  au48.jpg (153140 bytes) 

aur19.jpg (139237 bytes)  aur20.jpg (115931 bytes) 

Plenty of information to identify the fossils you find, and general rules to respect the area and others:

aur21.jpg (122595 bytes) 

 au44.jpg (117789 bytes)  au45.jpg (136871 bytes)  au46.jpg (115854 bytes)  au47.jpg (137036 bytes)

aur22.jpg (120953 bytes)

Glenn, next to the huge great white shark jaw inside the museum:

 aur3.jpg (127141 bytes)

A new fossil toothed whale exhibit, not from the phosphate mine, is a great display.  The museum purchased it for $40,000, dated to the Miocene age, 5-23 million years old. Undetermined Odontocete species, excavated by Matty Swilp, South Carolina.  Whale measures nearly 15 feet long (20 feet when alive), closer to a relative of the modern sperm whales rather than the "shark toothed" whales.  It apparently had a hard life - its teeth were very worn, and there is evidence of healed rib fractures on the left side and gouges in some of the bones perhaps bite marks:

au21.jpg (136194 bytes)

aur4.jpg (127314 bytes)  aur10.jpg (128883 bytes)  au20.jpg (141627 bytes)  aur7.jpg (122146 bytes)

aur5.jpg (130148 bytes)  aur6.jpg (123223 bytes)  aur8.jpg (128160 bytes)  aur9.jpg (120370 bytes)

The Fossil Exhibits "Learning Center" building has been getting some great specimens to display, see what I've posted below

aur15.jpg (120653 bytes)  aur16.jpg (119570 bytes) aur24.jpg (120584 bytes)

Fossil turtle shell

aur11.jpg (121752 bytes)

toothed whale teeth

aur12.jpg (126734 bytes)

Mosasaurus teeth & jaw

aur13.jpg (126067 bytes)

Anapsid reptile (Captorhinus magnus)

au31.jpg (146190 bytes)

au32.jpg (138995 bytes)

American Lion skull (Panthera atrox)

au2.jpg (123582 bytes)  au3.jpg (124513 bytes)

Saber tooth cat (Smilodon Fatalis)

au7.jpg (125729 bytes)  au5.jpg (124853 bytes)  au6.jpg (131759 bytes)

Megalodon shark vertebrae, compared to a great white shark vertebrae (white, in corner)

au8.jpg (118233 bytes)

au9.jpg (151355 bytes)

Mastodon jaw

au4.jpg (141357 bytes)

Primitive "Scissor-Jawed" Shark

Edestus heinrichi


au10.jpg (142330 bytes)

Pathological megalodon shark teeth

au14.jpg (131416 bytes)

au11.jpg (145090 bytes)

au12.jpg (140040 bytes)

au13.jpg (145345 bytes)

Associated shark vertebrae disks

au15.jpg (147879 bytes)

Shark cartilage

au16.jpg (152903 bytes)

Shark coprolite (poop!)

au17.jpg (152684 bytes)

Shark nose

au18.jpg (169420 bytes)

Whale humerus

au19.jpg (148358 bytes)

Whale beak

au22.jpg (148715 bytes)

au23.jpg (165678 bytes)

Walrus femur

au24.jpg (144730 bytes)

Walrus ankle bone

au25.jpg (152223 bytes)

Monk Seal Femur

au26.jpg (163307 bytes) 

Monk Seal Humerus

au27.jpg (148250 bytes)

Walrus skull & tusks

au28.jpg (140057 bytes)

Various whale teeth

au29.jpg (149783 bytes) 

Whale mastoid process, sperm whale tooth, Pilot whale jaw segment, and baleen whale flipper (finger)

au30.jpg (153463 bytes) 

Crawfish (procambarus primaevus)

au33.jpg (132709 bytes)


au34.jpg (149944 bytes)

Crab (Harpacto xanthopsis quadrilobatus)

au35.jpg (148821 bytes)

Seahorse (Hippocampus ramulosus

au36.jpg (147605 bytes)

Dragonfly Larvae (Liebulla doris)

au37.jpg (159854 bytes)

Frog (Rana?)

au38.jpg (143698 bytes)

Rhinoceras Teeth/jaw (Teleoceras fossiger)

au39.jpg (153529 bytes)

Rhino horn

au40.jpg (156949 bytes) 

Shrimp, Ammonite, Brittle Star (Aeger tipularis, Subplanites, Saccocoma tenellum)

au54.jpg (147696 bytes)

Dragonfly (Protolindenia sp.)

au55.jpg (152552 bytes)

Water Strider (Cresmoda obscura)

au56.jpg (151237 bytes)

Lobster-like decapod (Cycleryon propinquus)

au57.jpg (165043 bytes)

Crab (Avitemossus grapsoides)

au58.jpg (150921 bytes)

Bird feather (Aves sp.)

au59.jpg (167729 bytes)

Stingray (Heliobatus radians)

au60.jpg (165722 bytes)



Was held on Saturday, May 28, 2005

This is the only day of the year that dump loads of the phosphate gravel is piled in the center of town for anyone to dig all they want and keep the fossils they find!  There are food tents, arts and crafts, fossil dealers, and the Fossil Club, plus the Smithsonian is there to help you identify the fossils - for FREE.  So make it a whole day event that's "mentally nutritious", and you won't regret it.

Hotels available in New Bern or Washington, NC that are closest to Aurora, that has no hotels.

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AURORA NC ANNUAL FOSSIL DIG - Memorial Day Saturday, 2004

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Here's the Aurora Fossil Show in Aurora, North Carolina - held every year in this small town.  There's a phosphate mine close by that produces thousands of shark's teeth and other fossils that are collected as a by-product of the phosphate mining.  For the show, they bring dump loads of the dirt from the mine to a "sand pile" in the center of town.  For the Festival, the people can dig all they want and keep what they find!  Awesome finds too!  Across from the "sand pile" is the Museum, recently renovated, that will knock your socks off...enjoy the journey!

Glenn (above) is actually on a pile of the phosphate gravel outside of Chocowinity NC

Boy with pail 1.jpg (73867 bytes)Boy back with pail 2.jpg (64446 bytes)

Another happy camper (judging by the color of his rear) from the fossil dig!  Dad said he could take the pail full of phosphate with fossils home if he could carry them to the car!

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What fun to dig fossils for free with the family to help!

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Adults have just as much fun finding fossils

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One little girl made her American Flag part of her fossil dig


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The annual Fossil Auction that benefits the Aurora Museum - great stuff!



AURORA FOSSIL SHOW 2003 the free sand pile to dig for fossils...

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This young man REALLY took advantage of the pile of phosphate in looking for fossils in the pile...

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Another enthusiastic fossil pit "diver" ADULT with a dirty behind that we KNOW enjoyed the show and found some great fossils too! ...

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(Above) Here's a little sweetie that enjoyed the fossils in our booth at the show - and WE enjoyed the shark backpack she had.  It turns out this was a gift to her when she had to go into the hospital for her fifth brain surgery.  A great gift for a tough little trooper.

Aurora meg 1.jpg (38582 bytes)  Aurora meg 2.jpg (38279 bytes)

Above is a good example of an Aurora megalodon tooth.  Only the portion showing above Ken's hand is what was found, the rest was restored by a master.  So it does not have the same value as an original tooth but sure is a beauty!



Megalodon shark jaw model (from both ends!)

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A list of Man Eating Sharks

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 Photographs of the phosphate mine and a model of a cross section of the mine showing layers of fossils.

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Ore being slurried for pumping.  This material is FULL of fossils that get sucked into the transport tubes up to 11 miles long

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A great summary of the mine operation and the fossil layers found there:

On the south shore of the Pamlico river in North Carolina near the Outer Banks lies an open pit phosphate mine still in operation.  This mine produces some of the finest fossil shark teeth in the world and the region is known as "Lee Creek" by most.  There are four recognized formations each with its respective representation of an epoch in time.  They are in order of oldest first, PUNGO RIVER (Lower Miocene), YORKTOWN (Early Pliocene), CHOWAN RIVER (Late Pliocene), and JAMES CITY (Pleistocene).  It is currently believed that the Pungo River layer once existed as a sub-tropical marine environment.  The lowest strata of this formation is theorized to have been under 100 - 200 meters of water when covered by a prehistoric ocean with the uppermost layer having existed at a depth of 70 meters under water.  The Yorktown layer is believed to have been under 80 - 100 meters at its lowest strata with a gradual decrease in the ocean depth to a point where the water was as shallow as 15 meters at the last time period of that formation's existence.

Approximately 50 species of sharks alone are found in the Lee Creek mine.  Other fossils exist representing skates, rays, bony fishes, mammals (mainly marine), reptiles (turtles) and a host of marine invertebrates.  Lee Creek is a world-class site for some of the finest shark fossils.  These specimens are coveted by collectors the world over.  All it takes is to hold one of these gem teeth in your hand and behold the beauty up close and personal.  In doing so, you too, will be hooked forever on the beauty of Lee Creek teeth.


Below is our great Fossil Identification showcase in our store (now in our home).  Some are unusual fossils, others are more common fossils found right here on our own Myrtle Beach and surrounding areas.  Folks came from near and far with their fossils to find out what they are.  We've got reference books to back up the display as well, we're delighted to see what everyone has found.  (See the Weirdest pages for a great Weird Museum we've set up of our MOST unusual collections).

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For those of you, such as our good customer here,  who have found these "fossil turtle heads" on Myrtle Beach, particularly after a big storm or from dredging, we've got bad news for you...

It's actually the 60 million year old fossilized snail (or rock-like cast) formed by silt that replaced the snail from an extinct Cucullaea, which is a mollusk similar to a modern-day Ark shell.  Here's a photo of the full shell (below) so you can picture the "turtle head" inside it.

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Ocean Lakes Ark shell.jpg (37662 bytes)  Ocean Lakes reverse side of Ark shell.jpg (37901 bytes)

The April 3, 1997 

Sun News (Myrtle Beach, SC) ran an article entitled:

"Man identifies Strange objects found on Beach".

The essence of the article is that along with thousands of sand dollars, whole seashells and other sea treasures that waves have sucked off the ocean floor and deposited on the beach, there have been hundreds of casts of clam shells from 60 million years ago.  Sometimes you can find one with the shell still on it.  People think they are fossilized turtle heads.  Another North Myrtle Beach resident, Richard E. Petit, a research associate with the Smithsonian Institute, said the molds were formed inside Cucullaea, a mollusk that became extinct in this part of the world around 60 million years ago.  The rocklike forms people are finding on the beach that look like miniature stone turtle heads were formed when the empty Cucullaea shells filled with fine silt, which hardened over the millennia.  Eventually the shells broke off, leaving only the rock-like casts.  The casts have a spiny ridge on the rounded top-side, an indent that looks like the place where a spine might attach and a line that looks like where the mouth would close.  That is why they resemble fossil turtle skulls.  But sadly they are not.



Was October 25, 2008 this year

Here's a link with more details on the Fair, and directions:

Every year, the Fossil Club sets up their collections at the Ocean Lakes Campground in Surfside SC (southern Myrtle Beach).  The Smithsonian has fossil ID experts there.  The Aurora Phosphate mine people are there with material for kids to dig in (photo below).  You will see below -  fossil I.D. photos I took of some member's collections including Bob Johnson's, an incurable fossil hound here in South Carolina. Also visit the Nature Center around the corner for many local fossils collected, displayed and identified.

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Bob Johnson's other passion is collecting vintage hearse cars (Our young customer in blue is in this photo with Bob)

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Ocean Lakes belemnite squid pen.jpg (36076 bytes)

Belemnite (squid pen)

Ocean Lakes Hydrocodon jaw.jpg (36219 bytes)

Hydracodon jaw

Ocean Lakes crab claw.jpg (36160 bytes)

Crab claw

Ocean Lakes fish gill bones.jpg (37703 bytes)

Fish gill bones

Ocean Lakes jaguar canine tooth.jpg (37155 bytes)

Jaguar canine tooth

Ocean Lakes manatee jaw frag.jpg (34384 bytes)

Manatee jaw fragment

Ocean Lakes marlin dorsal spine.jpg (40639 bytes)

Marlin dorsal spine

Ocean Lakes Mastodon teeth.jpg (37168 bytes)

Mastodon teeth

Ocean Lakes ray dermal skutes.jpg (38422 bytes)

Ray dermal skutes

Ocean Lakes sawfish rostrum.jpg (37614 bytes)

Sawfish rostrum fragment and rostal tooth

Ocean Lakes Sawfish rostal tooth.jpg (36895 bytes)


Ocean Lakes woolly mammoth teeth.jpg (37062 bytes)

Woolly mammoth teeth

Ocean Lakes associated mastodon fossils sign.jpg (39415 bytes)

Ocean Lakes associated mastodon fossils.jpg (35805 bytes)

Associated baby woolly mammoth ivory, teeth and bones

Eagle claw and fossils.jpg (66307 bytes)

Eagle claw, capybara tooth, elk jaw

pygmy whale, wolf, bear, mosasaurus.jpg (69389 bytes)

Pygmy sperm whale, wolf teeth, bear teeth, Mosasaurus teeth

whale, gator, bison.jpg (37371 bytes)

Eocene Whale teeth, gator teeth, bison teeth

Toothed whale tooth:

Ocean Lakes toothed whale.jpg (36340 bytes)

drumfish.jpg (74527 bytes)

Drumfish mouth.jpg (37643 bytes)  

Drum fish jaw & upper mouthplate

Bear teeth, wolf teeth

bear.jpg (37215 bytes)

Black bear teeth

Ocean Lakes Black bear teeth.jpg (38232 bytes)

capybara.jpg (37206 bytes)

Capybara teeth, deer teeth

peccary, beaver, seal.jpg (37223 bytes)

Teeth of Peccary, Giant beaver, seal

tapir.jpg (36680 bytes)

tapir 2.jpg (49960 bytes)

Tapir teeth & jaw

sloth.jpg (35668 bytes)

Ocean Lakes ground sloth tooth.jpg (36271 bytes)

Ground Sloth teeth, and claws with toes

Ocean Lakes ground sloth claws and toes.jpg (37808 bytes)

beaver teeth.jpg (36284 bytes)

Beaver teeth

seal heel bone.jpg (32344 bytes)

seal flipper bone.jpg (37467 bytes)

Seal heel bone and flipper bone

dog tooth.jpg (35261 bytes)

Dog tooth

muskrat jaw.jpg (34794 bytes)

Muskrat jaw with teeth

camel tooth.jpg (35673 bytes)

camel leg bone.jpg (36488 bytes)

Camel tooth and leg bone

rhino.jpg (34890 bytes)

Ocean Lakes rhino tooth.jpg (33857 bytes)

Rhino tooth

mink jaw.jpg (37629 bytes)

Mink jaw fragment with teeth

pufferfish.jpg (38640 bytes)

Puffer fish

bonita fish.jpg (38229 bytes)

Bonita fish nose & skull

More noses

Ocean Lakes bonita noses.jpg (39172 bytes)

Ocean Lakes Sturgeon skute.jpg (38505 bytes) 

Sturgeon skute

Ocean Lakes Llama teeth and toe bone.jpg (37429 bytes) 

Llama teeth & toe bone

Underside of horseshoe crab found on beach (a living fossil)

Ocean Lakes underside horseshoe crab.jpg (38073 bytes)

and mating horseshoe crabs

Ocean Lakes mating horseshoe crabs.jpg (37841 bytes)

Ocean Lakes allosaurus claw sign.jpg (37347 bytes)

Ocean Lakes allosaurus claw.jpg (38560 bytes)

Allosaurus claw


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