If you want to give your family the experience of digging through the dirt why not head out to Sharktooth Hill? It’s a great place to spend the day and learn about the things that used to lurk in the deep.
Once a vast ocean, the area is home to the largest deposit of Miocene marine fossils in the world. Here you will find vertebrae from whales and marine crocodiles just laying on the ground. Dig a little deeper and you will unearth shark teeth from Mako and extinct tiger sharks. Dolphins, walrus, sea cows and even desmostylus once swam freely here. So did extinct giant turtles, over 20 kinds of water birds and more than 27 species of shark and rays. Mammal finds include the tapir, rhino, and three-toed horses.
Sharktooth Hill is on private property and digs are scheduled. To find out more go to:
A couple of things. First of all before starting out you might want to visit the Buena Vista Museum of Natural History and Science in Bakersfield. The museum houses vast amounts of material brought from the site. They also have dinosaur casts, animal mounts from around the world and an interactive Science Discovery Center. It is a small museum and they do offer periodic digs at Sharktooth Hill as a fundraiser.
When on a dig be sure to bring plenty of water. It can get hot out in this desolate mountain area. Buckets for sorting and carrying your finds are needed as are hammers. Also you should consider using a mask when digging. In this part of California there is a fungal infection that can develop in the lungs called Coccidioidomycosis or Valley Fever for short . Valley Fever occurs when freshly dug spores are inhaled and they are plentiful throughout the San Joaquin Valley. While the numbers of people who contract this are low it is of concern especially for those whose immune systems may be compromised.