Fossil hunting on Rockaway Beach

The ocean has not always met the land at the same place it does today. In fact, during Ice Ages, when more of Earth's water was trapped in glaciers, large swaths of what is now the Atlantic Ocean were dry ground. Things died there. In some cases, they fossilized. And when a big storm like Sandy hits, those bits of fossils can get broken out of the stones they're embedded in and washed up on our modern shores.

In this video, paleontologist Carl Mehling wanders Long Island's Rockaway Beach looking for fossils unearthed by Superstorm Sandy. It's a great video — and a handy "how to" as Mehling explains the basics of beach-based fossil hunting and how to tell the really old dead things from the simply dead things.

Via Mindy Weisberger


  1. I often find similar objects in clusters on a beach. The waves and currents sort objects by shape and mass. Flotsametrics. baby, flotsametrics!

  2. 3 minutes! That’s it?!?!  I could watch this for an hour.  I’d go if I could. Great piece. Please make more. 

  3. everybody: “Hey, could you help us carry some of these 500-pound soaking-wet couch cushions out of our basements in the chilly dark?  It’s a really big job even with hundreds of awesome volunteers helping out.”
    this guy: “Nah, I’m gonna hunt for fossils over here 50 feet away.”

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