Front Cover
 Florida Sunshine State Standar...
 Table of Contents
 Fossil Hall: evolution of life...
 Teacher and student resources
 Related exhibitions and progra...
 Exhibit map

Group Title: Florida Museum of Natural History educators' guides
Title: Fossil Hall: evolution of life and land
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00090933/00002
 Material Information
Title: Fossil Hall: evolution of life and land
Series Title: Florida Museum of Natural History educators' guides
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
Publisher: Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00090933
Volume ID: VID00002
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.


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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page 1
        Page 2
    Florida Sunshine State Standards
        Page 3
        Page 4
    Table of Contents
        Page 5
    Fossil Hall: evolution of life and land
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
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        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
    Teacher and student resources
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
    Related exhibitions and programs
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    Exhibit map
        Page 64
        Page 65
Full Text

Fossil Hall: Evolution of Life and Land
at the Florida Museum of Natural History



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This Educators' Guide to Northwest Florida: Waterways and Wildlife
was produced by the Florida Museum of Natural History with the support
from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

2008 Florida Museum of Natural History
University of Florida Cultural Plaza
Powell Hall on Hull Road P.O. Box 112710 Gainesville, FL 32611-2710
(352) 846-2000 www.flmnh.ufl.edu

FLORIDA .. MuseumandLibrar
Writers: Lauren Matisoff, Jamie Creola and David Webb
Supervising Editor: Jamie C. Creola
Graphic Designers: Elecia Crumpton, Hollis Wooley

We would like to thank the Institute of Museum and Library Services for their support.

For more information about the variety of educational programming
offered by the Florida Museum, please visit our website:


The Florida Museum of Natural History's Educators' Guides, in combination with ongoing teacher
workshops and field trips to its permanent and temporary exhibitions, will help you structure learning
experiences that correspond to the following Florida Sunshine State Standards. All guides contain materials
and online resources to supplement and enhance student learning in the classroom and during in-gallery
experiences, tying Museum exhibits to the state standards and enhancing school fieldtrips.

Language Arts
Reading Standard 1:
The student uses the reading process effectively

Reading Standard 2:
The student constructs meaning from a wide range of texts.

Writing Standard 1:
The student uses writing processes effectively.

Writing Standard 2:
The student writes to communicate ideas and information effectively.

Listening, Viewing and Speaking Standard 1:
The student uses listening strategies effectively

Listening, Viewing and Speaking Standard 2:
The student uses viewing strategies effectively.

Measurement Standard 1:
The student measures quantities in the real world and uses
the measures to solve problems.

Data Analysis and Probability Standard 3:
The student uses statistical methods to make
inferences and valid arguments about real-world situations.


Processes that Shape the Earth Standard 1:
The student recognizes that processes in the lithosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and biosphere interact
to shape the Earth.

Processes that Shape the Earth Standard 2:
The student understands the need for protection of the natural systems on Earth.

Processes of Life Standard 1:
The student describes patterns of structure and function in living things

How Living Things Interact with Their Environment Standard 1:
The student understands the competitive, interdependent, cyclic nature of living things in the environment.

How Living Things Interact with Their Environment Standard 2: The student understands the
consequences of using limited natural resources.

The Nature of Science Standard 3: The student understands that science, technology, and society
are interwoven and interdependent.

Social Studies
Time, Continuity and Change Standard 1: The student understands historical chronology
and the historical perspective.

Time, Continuity and Change Standard 6: The student understands the history of Florida
and its people.

People, Places and Environments (Geography) Standard 1: The student understands the world
in spatial terms.

People, Places and Environments (Geography) Standard 2: The student understands the interactions
of people and the physical environment.

The Arts: Visual Arts
Cultural and Historical Connections Standard 1: | The student understands the visual arts in relation
to history and culture.

Applications to Life Standard 1: | The student makes connections between the visual arts, other disciplines,
and the real world.


Part One: Northwest Florida: Waterways and Wildlife Exhibition

Exhibit Introduction......................... ...................................................................................06
Content Discussion: Evolution and Paleontology ........................... .............................. 07
Section One: Geology Florida.................................................................. ......................09
Section Two: Florida Under Water ...................................................................... 19
Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment...................... ...........................29
Section Four: Terrestrial Florida.............................................................. ...................... 43

Part Two: Teacher and Student Resources
Section O ne: Books................................................................................. .......................... 54
Section Two: Web Sources ........................................ ..................................................56
Section Three: Videos, Music.................................................................. ....................... 57
Section Four: Current Research at the Florida Museum....................................................... 58

Part Three: Related Exhibitions and Programs
Section One: Permanent Exhibitions........................ ......... ......................60
Section Two: School and Outreach Programs............................ ................................ 61
Section Three: General Visitor Programs and Special Events ..................................................63

Part Four: Exhibit Map...................................................... ......................64



Exhibit Introduction 6

Drawing upon the Florida Museum's internationally acclaimed fossil collections, this award-winning exhibit
describes the last 65 million years of Florida's history. Walk through time beginning with the Eocene, when
Florida was underwater, to the Pleistocene when the first humans arrived 14,000 years ago. More than 90
percent of the 500 fossils in this exhibition are real and many were found within 100 miles of Gainesville.

Entrance to the Hall of Florida Fossils: Evolution of Life and Land



Content Discussion: Evolution and Paleontology 7

Evolution is the idea that all organisms have changed through time due to the inheritance of specific
characteristics. Evolution occurs due to a process called natural selection. Natural selection is when some
individual organisms have the ability to survive in a particular environment better than others because they have
characteristics that help them do so. For example, if one species of moth has a variation in color so that some
are brown with white spots and others are white with brown spots, the brown ones will blend in with trees and
leaves better than the white ones. The white moths will be easily spotted against the brown bark and therefore
easier for predators to catch. Therefore, mostly brown moths will survive to reproduce and pass the color
characteristic on to their offspring, eventually altering the color variation for the entire moth population.

One must, however, make the distinction between inherited characteristics and acquired characteristics.
Inherited characteristics are those that are chemically encoded in an organism's genes. For example flexibility
is a characteristic that is inherited. For instance if a person stretches daily and are flexible this does not mean
that their children will also be flexible.

Some early evolutionists believed that giraffes' necks grew long due to generations of stretching to reach the
leaves in treetops. They believed that due to this behavior over generations, over time, giraffe's necks became
longer in each subsequent generation. This obviously was a misconception since we now know that giraffes
that were born with slightly longer necks were able to get to the food and therefore survive, reproduce, and
pass the trait on to their offspring.

The theory of evolution is known and studied by a wide range of scientists, for example paleontologists.
There are four major ways that paleontologists find fossils in Florida: surface collecting, diving, screen
washing and excavation. Surface collecting or prospecting involves searching for fossils in previously exposed
areas. Scientists that dive find fossils in underwater locations such as rivers, springs and submerged caves.
Screen washing is when scientists use a sieve to separate fossils from sediment found in or near a body of water,
such as a river. Excavation is a more methodical way of uncovering fossils. It involves carefully removing and
documenting layers of sediment to reveal buried fossils.

Paleontologists study fossils by comparing them to other specimens, both modern and ancient. These
comparisons show scientists the similarities and differences between and within different groupings of animals
and how these animals have changed over time. Often, they must repair fossil specimens so that they can be
studied more accurately. If a specimen is rare or delicate, scientists create molds and casts of the fossil that can
be studied more easily.

Fossils can give scientists information about when an animal lived, how an animal lived (e.g. diet, life cycle,
locomotion) and how the animal died. This information, combined with information from the surrounding
area where a fossil is found, can help scientists interpret the paleoenvironment or ancient habitat of the animal.
Studying the fossils and paleoenvironments of Florida shows scientists how Florida has changed over time.


Content Discussion: Evolution and Paleontology continued 8

The understanding of scientists about the history of life on Earth contradicts the beliefs of some religious groups
that the age of the Earth can be measured in thousands, not billions of years and that species do not change or
go extinct. There is no way to change such deeply held beliefs in one trip to the museum, nor is the intent of
this exhibit to do so, but questions about the science of the exhibit from such populations should be answered
respectfully and accurately. It is often useful to address such issues by explaining that this lesson is specifically
about the scientific process. The scientific process gathers evidence through observation of the natural world.
In paleontology, observations of the natural world include the fossils excavated and dates recovered from
potassium-argon dating. It is not the intent of science to refute a person's religious beliefs, but to find answers
to questions using scientific investigation, and form theories based on sound scientific evidence. Science does
not deal with the supernatural or with questions or issues for which no falsifiable evidence exists.

Classification System
The classification system used by scientists today is designed to place all organisms into hierarchical categories.
Categorization starts out very general in Kingdom and becomes more specific as one moves down the list.
A way to help your students remember the classification categories is to give them a saying of words where
each word begins with the same letter of the category. For example:

Kings Kingdom

Play Phylum

Chess Class

On Order

Friday Family

Generally Genus

Speaking Species

These categories are artificial, human inventions that are constructed for our convenience. Humans like
to classify things into manageable units (think neighborhood, town, county, state, country, continents etc.)
However, the concept of species is more concrete. Often times a "species" cannot interbreed with members of
a different species. And, it is sometimes the case that organisms can recognize whether another individual is a
member of their species. Birds can do it by coloration or by vocalizations in chirps and songs and some marine
organisms can do it using chemical cues. Among scientists, however, deciding the boundaries of species is a
difficult task.


Section One: Florida Geology 9

The oldest rocks underlying Florida's surface are about 500 million years old. Studies of the ancient magnetic
field preserved in these rocks indicate that ancient Florida was next to Northwestern Africa approximately
300 million years ago. Pangea was formed 290-250 million years ago when ancient continents collided. This
collision welded ancient Florida to what is now Southeastern North America. When Pangaea broke apart 250
to 220 million years ago, Florida remained attached to North America and drifted to its present position on the
globe. Throughout most of its history, Florida has been underwater, explaining why marine fossils can be found
throughout the state, while dinosaur fossils are absent.

Fun Fact: The oldest vertebrate fossil known from Florida is a sea turtle shell fragment from Okeechobee County
at a depth of 2,807 meters (~9,122 ft). This shell fragment dates from loo million years, into the "Age of Dinosaurs"



Part One: Florida Geology continued 10

Vocabulary Words
Carbonization: The conversion of organic material into carbon.
Dissolution: The process of dissolving a solid substance into a solvent or liquid.
Formation: Formally defined layers of rock.
Organic: Of, relating to, or derived from living organisms.
Pangea: A supercontinent that existed during the Paleozoic and Mesozoic periods about 250 million years ago.
It was comprised of modern Eurasia, North America, South America, Africa, Antarctica, Australia, and India.
Permineralization: A process of fossil petrification in which minerals replace bones, shells, or woody tissue
without changing the original shape of the fossil.
Petrified: A term used to describe organic material that has been fossilized without decaying.
Recrystalization: A fossil formation process where the crystal structure of shells is replaced with alternate,
more stable crystal shapes.
Strata: Layers of rock or soil with specific characteristics to distinguish it from surrounding layers.
Trace Fossils: Impressions made by organisms; for example burrows and footprints.



Part One: Florida Geology continued 11

Guiding Questions and Answers
1) What is Florida made of? How does limestone form? How does limestone help scientists
understand the past?

Florida is formed of thousands of feet of limestone that stretches down to bedrock when Florida was initially
part of Africa over 250 million years ago. Extensive limestone deposits like those in Florida are called carbonate
banks or platforms. Formed in shallow marine environments, these banks are comprised of skeletal remains of
organisms such as corals, calcareous algae, mollusks, and foraminifera (forams). The process of carbonate bank
formation requires the accumulation of organic matter in addition to calcium. Carbonate deposition probably
began in the Mesozoic (175 million years ago). During the late Jurassic and Cretaceous over -8,125 feet of
carbonates were deposited in southern Florida. Deposition occurred almost continuously on different parts of
the Florida platform for the next 100 million years.

During the Eocene (55 to 34 million years ago) two formations (different types of rock) were deposited on
the Florida Platform. The two formations can be distinguished by the animals and minerals encased inside.
The Avon Park Formation, the oldest rock exposed at the surface in Florida, was deposited first and represents
habitats further offshore than the later Ocala Limestone. Both rock units are commonly encountered in mining
operations, particularly in Central Florida. Limestone quarries are important to paleontologists because they
provide access to buried rock and sediments and the fossils trapped inside.

2) What are fossils? How do they form? Why types of materials are preserved?

Fossils are preserved remains or evidence of ancient life and can be thousands, millions, or even billions of years
old. Once remains are buried, fossils form in several distinct ways:

a. Permineralization is a chemical alteration process. For example, wood and bone have many pores.
Groundwater seeping through these remains carries dissolved compounds such as calcium carbonate or silica.
These compounds fill the pores, eventually turning the wood or bone into rock.

b. Recrystallization is another alteration process that is common for shells where the shell remains a solid
through the entire fossilization process. Shells are made of calcium carbonate, which has a specific crystal
shape. Over time, these crystals are transformed into other types of crystals that have a more stable form.

c. Buried shells and bones can dissolve as water seeps through them. If this occurs, a cavity is created, preserving
the shape of the remains in the surrounding rock. The cavity may fill with sediment to form a natural cast of the
original preserving the external surface and texture as well as the shape and size of the remains.



Section One: Florida Geology continued 1Z

Some remains may undergo dissolution and replacement without leaving a cavity. The original mineral, such as
aragonite, calcite, or phosphate, dissolves, but another, like pyrite or silica, rapidly replaces it. Some corals from
the Oligocene era are beautiful examples of silica replacing original aragonite.

Oligocene corals

d. Some remains, particularly plant fossils, are preserved as thin residues of carbon in sandstones and shale in a
process known as carbonization. The black film may preserve an organism's outline and structure in remarkable
detail. Insert image of carbonized fossils
e. The fossil record usually includes only durable remains like teeth, bones, and shells. Occasionally, however,
like a wooly mammoth entombed in a glacier, original soft tissues are preserved. These unaltered remains can be
extremely useful to paleontologists as a source of ancient biochemicals, such as DNA. DNA can be used to trace
ancestry to modern animals.
f. Sometimes no actual remains of an organism are preserved, only evidence of past biological activity. Examples
of these trace fossils include dinosaur footprints or petrified burrows of marine worms.



Section One: Florida Geology continued 13

3) How do scientists determine the age of a fossil?
The age of a fossil can be determined in two very different ways, known as relative and absolute dating:
Relative: Think of a fossil as an old photograph. If the photo has a date on it, we know exactly when it was
taken. But what if the photo has no date? We can only examine the content of the photo to determine when it
was taken. We note the models of automobiles, dress and hair-styles, or the age of a known person to estimate
the photo's age. In much the same way, the relative dating method estimates the age of the fossil in question by
its relationship to surrounding rock strata (layers) and other fossils of known age.
Absolute: Absolute age of fossils is determined by using the decay rate (half-life) of a radioactive isotope.
Newly formed mineral crystals in rocks sometimes contain radioactive isotopes that break down (decay) at
constant rates. In the decay process they change into other elements. For example, the radioactive isotope,
potassium-40 breaks down into argon-40 at a fixed rate. By measuring the amount of argon-40 in a mineral
crystal, scientists can calculate its age.

The Miocene marine fossil beds of northwestern Florida are known for high diversity and remarkable
preservation. Most of the specimens displayed here were collected from the 18-million-year-old
Chipola Formation in the Florida panhandle. This marine marl outcrops along the Chipola River and
its tributaries.


Section One: Florida Geology continued 14

Pre Activity
Geologic Time: Students will have a better understanding of geologic time by comparing the last 500 million
years of Florida history to a 24 hour time period.

* Paper
* Pencil

* Give each student a piece of paper and have them do the following:
* Draw a line across the length of the paper. This line represents 24 hours.

* The very edge of the left side of the paper represents 12:01am or 500 million years ago (MYA). Have students
label the edge accordingly.
* Midway down the line label it 12:00pm (noon) or 250 MYA.

* Now label midway on either side of noon as 6:00am (375 MYA) and 6:00pm (125 MYA). Ask students to fill
in the rest of the hours of the day.

* Ask students to label their timeline with the following events. You can either give them the year and they have
to figure out the time, or you can give them the time and they have to figure out the year.

500 MYA the earliest fishes evolved (12:01am)

500 MYA the oldest rocks under Florida formed. (12:01am)

375 MYA bony fishes appear (6:00am)
Shortly after this amphibians, insects and ferns emerge on land (Florida is underwater)

250 MYA the Triassic period begins and dinosaurs appear on Earth. Florida is under water. (12:00pm)

250 MYA the super continent, Pangaea breaks apart and Florida moves away from North Africa and
remains attached to North America.

125 MYA dinosaurs are the dominant creatures throughout the world (6:00pm)
Florida is still under water, which is why no dinosaur fossils are found here.



Section One: Florida Geology continued 15

65 MYA dinosaurs become extinct (8:50pm).
21 MYA Giant sharks, primitive toothed whales and four-legged sea cows
(ancestors of manatees) live in Florida's shallow seas and small islands (11:00pm).
10.5 MYA Florida is just emerging as a peninsula as Earth's temperatures cool and sea
levels drop. Large mammals such as mammoths, bear-dogs, and giant sloths will soon
migrate to Florida (11:30pm)
2.5 MYA the first humans evolve (11:53pm)
6,000 years ago the first humans (Paleo-Indian) migrate to Florida
(11:59pm within the last second of the last minute of the day).
* Review the answers to make sure all students had the correct time or year for each occurrence.
* Ask students:
What part of the clock does the number of years you have been alive represent?
(fill in the blank based on how old the class is)
What about that last 100 years?
Since the beginning of the United States?
Hint: 1 minute= 347,222 years; 1 second= 5,787 years

Field Trip Activity
* As you enter the Fossil Hall, point out to your students that the sharks' teeth in the entrance are some
of Florida's oldest fossils.
* Ask students why they think sharks teeth are so abundant in Florida? (Florida was underwater for most
of its history).
* Look at Megalodon's jaw. Will people see a shark this big in the ocean today? Why not? What does
extinction mean?

* Do students think they will see any dinosaurs in the exhibit? Why not?



Section One: Florida Geology continued 16

Post Activity
Pangea and Evolution: The super-continent Pangea was made of several of the continents we see today.

* Map of the continents. (Activity Sheet 1)
* Scissors
* Evolution Image (Activity Sheet 2)

Part One: Pangea

* Distribute one map to each student. Ask students to cut out the continents and piece them together as a
puzzle. They should be able to match the continents together into a super continent, much as Pangea looked.
Notice how Florida fits near North Africa.

* What do students think the fossils found on continents that were next to each other but are now separate
will look like? Are the fossils going to be the same or different?

* What about the type of rocks that make up a continent? Are they going to be the same or different?

* Explain to students that since Florida was attached to North Africa 250 million years ago, the same types
of rocks and fossils are found in both places

Part Two: Evolution
* Distribute the Evolution handout or display a transparency so that all students can view the image.

* Ask students to describe what is happening in images 1-3. Is the population of mice different in image 3
than in image 1? Why do students think this is happening? What does this mean for future mice populations?
Explain that this is how evolution occurs. Those animals that are best adapted to their environment are the ones
that will survive to reproduce.

* Discuss additional situations for evolution:

Giraffe neck length- those with long necks are able to reach more leaves and food
An owl's eyes- larger eyes allow more light in, enabling the owl to see better at night

* Going back to Pangea, ask students what they think happened to the animals that lived on separate
continents once Pangea broke apart? Look at Antarctica. Do students think that a larger number of animals
used to live on Antarctica? Explain that when Antarctica was part of Pangea, it was not as cold. What do
students think happened to the animals on Antarctica as it drifted into a colder and colder environment?


Section One: Florida Geology continued

Activity Sheet 1
Pangea Puzzle



Section One: Florida Geology continued

Activity Sheet 2



Section Two: Florida Under Water 19

Eocene: 55 to 34 million years ago

Lush tropical forests covered much
of the world's landmasses during the
Eocene and oceans were warmer
than today. The Florida Platform was
probably similar to the Bahama Banks
today. Florida was under water as a
region of shallow marine habitats,
warmed by a tropical sun, and filled
with a diverse array of marine life.
This pristine carbonate bank was
isolated from land by deeper water,
even to the north.

The coastlines of southeastern
North America were patrolled by
large predators, including sharks, ,..
crocodilians, and primitive toothed
whales called archaeocetes, while four-

of modern manatees) waded and
swam in the shallows. Tropical ocean
currents and the Tethys Sea provided .
throughways for the dispersal of sea
creatures and plants from far and wide.

Fossils from the Eocene are not Ancient Florida was covered by a warm, shallow sea; similar to the
common in Florida, but the remains of Bahama Banks today.
archaic toothed whales, early sea cows,
giant sea snakes, sea turtles, and various
fish, such as sawfish, sharks, and rays, have been collected. In fact, shark and stingray teeth are common finds in
Gainesville creek beds. Hundreds of vertebrate species must have lived in this shallow marine setting and many
exciting finds await discovery.



Section Two: Florida Under Water continued 20

Vocabulary Words
Archaeocetes: Ancient whales.
Biota: The plant and animal life of a region.
Extant: A term used to describe a species that is still living today.
Herbivore: An animal that only eats plants.
Sirenian: A taxomic order of fully aquatic, herbivorous mammals that inhabit rivers, estuaries, coastal marine
waters, swamps, and marine wetlands. Examples include the manatee and dugong.
Proboscidian: A term used to refer to the mammals of the order Proboscidea. They are characterized by
a flexible trunk formed of the nostrils and upper lip, large tusks, a massive body, and columnar legs.
The elephant and extinct mammoth and mastodon are members of this category.
Tetrapod: A term used to describe animals that walk on four legs or feet.
Cetacean: Mammals that are adapted to aquatic life with flippers as forelimbs.
Mesonychid: An extinct order of medium to large-sized carnivorous mammals that were closely related to
even-toed ungulates, dolphins, and whales.
Ungulate: Several groups of mammals that walk on the hoofed tips of their toes.
Artiodactyl: a hoofed, even-toed mammal of the order Artiodactyla, comprising the pigs, hippopotamuses,
camels, deer, giraffes, pronghorns, sheep, goats, antelope, and cattle.
Pectoral: Located on the chest.
Rostrum: A beak-like extension.
Vestigial: Something that remains after nearly all the rest has disappeared. The remains have become
functionless over the course of time.



Section Two: Florida Under Water continued 21

Guiding Questions and Answers

1) What is the Tethys Sea? When did it exist? Why is it important?

The Tethys Sea was an ancient waterway encircling the globe between the northern and southern continents.
During the Eocene, the Tethys extended from the western Pacific Ocean, through the Arabian and Mediterranean
seas, and across the Atlantic Ocean. Since North and South America were not yet connected, Tethyan currents
passed between the two continents before entering the eastern Pacific Ocean.

The westerly Tethyan currents promoted dispersal of marine plants and animals to and from distant shallow-water
environments. Similar biotas are known from Eocene sediments in the Caribbean Basin, western and southern
Europe, Egypt, Pakistan, and other widely separated sites.

Tethyan currents influenced ancient Florida during much of the Eocene. Several modern groups of mammals,
including sirenians and proboscideans (elephants and their relatives), originated in or near the Tethys Sea and are
called "tethytheres," (theres-beasts). Both these groups have continuous tooth replacement during an individual's
lifetime, suggesting a close relationship and origin from a common ancestor.

Over millions of years, wandering continents closed the Tethys. Remnants of this once great seaway exist today
as the Mediterranean, Black, and Caspian seas. The disappearance of the Tethys Sea affected marine communities
throughout the world. Animal groups became extinct, while others rose to replace them. Some Tethyan groups,
however, survived and still exist today.


600 N

- 10


600 S



I I 6


1800 1200

600 00


Section Two: Florida Under Water continued 22

2) What animals lived during the Eocene?

Echinoids (class Echinoidea)
At least 40 species of sea urchins, sea biscuits, and sand dollars are known from Florida's Eocene sediments.
A wide range in size and shape indicates different life habits. Echinoids belong to the phylum Echinodermata,
meaning spiny skin, which also includes feather stars, sea lilies, sea stars, brittle stars, and sea cucumbers.
These creatures first appear in the fossil record -450 million years ago during the late Ordovician Period.

Marine Vertebrates
Marine vertebrate fossils are uncommon in Eocene sediments of Florida, but include fishes such as the
porcupine fish, sea bass, barracuda, sharks, and sawfish. Crocodilians and early sea cows are also present
in the Eocene record, but are poorly known and understood.

During the Eocene, sharks and primitive whales ruled the seas. Some of these animals may have lived at
moderate depths, but their fossils were found in shallow water sediments. How? Bodies of dead marine
animals are commonly transported into shallow water by ocean currents.

Florida's Eocene sediments preserve three species of primitive toothed whales, or archaeocetes. Their large
size (up to 65 feet) and serrated teeth clearly place them in the top predator category. Their more common
occurrence in the Eocene of Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina (where the approximate shoreline was at
that time) may indicate that these whales kept relatively close to shore.

Marine mammals have a terrestrial, four-legged (tetrapod) ancestor. Evidence for this comes from the presence
of small "hind limbs" attached to the pelvic bone of marine mammals. These hind limbs are no longer
functional, but tell a story of adaptation to a new environment. Also, paleontologists originally believed that
cetaceans (extant whales, dolphins and porpoises) were closely related to mesonychids, an extinct group of
land-dwelling carnivores because of a similarity in their teeth.

Some paleontologists now think that whales are closely related to even-toed ungulates like the modern
hippopotamus. This is based on molecular evidence, as well as the similarity between the unique anklebone
of primitive archaeocetes, and those seen in all artiodactyls (hippopotamus, pigs, camels, etc).

e I

Basilosaurus cetoides

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Section Two: Florida Under Water continued 23

Cartilaginous Fish
Cartilaginous fishes, including rays, skates, and sharks, are
among the oldest vertebrates. Their fossil record spans 400
million years. These fish have skeletons composed mostly of
cartilage, like your nose and ears. Cartilage does not usually
fossilize, so only teeth, stingray barbs (tail spines), and the
calcified discs of the backbone are found.

Shark teeth are durable and commonly found as fossils. They
are also abundant because sharks continually replace their teeth.
An individual may have up to 3,000 teeth over its lifetime.

Eagle and bat rays (family Myliobatidae), first appear in Florida
in 55-million-year-old limestone and still live along the coast
today. They have plate-like, crushing teeth and long, whip-like
tails with one or multiple spines. Their large pectoral fins allow
them to gracefully "fly" through the water. These warm water
fishes are usually found near shore where they feed on mollusks
and other invertebrates. Their durable dental plates and tail
spines are abundant as fossils.

Sawfishes (family Pristidae), inhabited Eocene seas 55 million
years ago. Sawfish appear shark-like, but are actually more
closely related to rays. Living sawfish can be more than 18 feet
long. Some extinct species were even larger. Today they inhabit
warm, shallow seas and tropical estuaries. The sawfish rostrum
is a flat blade armed with ever-growing "teeth." This structure
has receptors that sense electro-magnetic fields of burrowing
shrimp and crabs, and acts as a rake to expose them. These
receptors also detect fish that are then killed with rapid slashing
movements of the rostrum.

Bat ray

Shark teeth



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Section Two: Florida Under Water continued 24

Turtles and Tortoises
The order Testudines (turtles and tortoises) is a highly successful
group of reptiles with origins dating back 200 million years
during the early "Age of Dinosaurs" (Mesozoic). They are
common as fossils because of their durable bony shell and other
skeletal elements that preserve well. Today turtles and tortoises
live in terrestrial, freshwater, and marine habitats. Sea turtles
represent an invasion of the sea from a freshwater or terrestrial

Eosphargis is the earliest sea turtle known from Florida,
although its fossils are rare and fragmentary. Sea turtles have
a fossil record that extends back into the Cretaceous, about
75 million years ago. Some sea turtles were gigantic, such as
the North American Archelon that was 13 feet in length in
comparison to modern leatherback sea turtles that grow to
about 8 feet in length.
Green Turtle
Living sea turtles are found throughout the world in tropical to
arctic waters. All are officially protected by the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and
Flora (CITES).

Snakes are first recognizable as fossils about 100 million years
ago (Cretaceous) during the "Age of Dinosaurs." Snakes probably
arose from early ancestors of monitor lizards. Snakes are
distinctive due to the lack of functional limbs, greatly increased
number of vertebrae, and remarkable lower jaw flexibility. Some
modern pythons, however, have vestigial hind limbs as spurs
used during mating and combat. Ninety-five-million-year-old '
Middle Eastern snake fossils also have small hind limbs.

The giant snake Pterosphenus was completely aquatic during the
Eocene. Pterosphenus fossils are only found in sediments deposited
in marine environments. The shape of its vertebrae also suggests that
it was adapted to aquatic life. Pterosphenus was probably unable to
move between terrestrial and marine environments.

Different kinds of snakes from egg eaters
to vipers



Section Two: Florida Under Water continued 25

Sea Cow
The order Sirenia (sea cows) includes the manatees and
dugongs. Paleontologists do not know in which extinct family
the mid-Eocene dugonid belongs because so few fossils have
been found. Modern dugongs replaced these early sea cows
ecologically about 15 million years ago (Miocene). Manatees
appear in the fossil record about 2 million years ago (Pliocene).
Small hind limbs are visible on early sea cows but not on
modern sea cows, suggesting evolution from a terrestrial habitat
to a marine environment. Also, many modern manatees have Duggongid-early sea cows
elephant-like toenails, and vestigial pelvic bones. Insert image
of manatee nails vs. elephant nails

Modern sea cows graze on sea grasses. It is believed that the sea cow's ancestors were also herbivores
because dugongid fossils have been collected from the same rocks as sea grass fossils. Also, sea grasses
have a unique carbon component. This distinctive carbon signature is incorporated into the tooth enamel
of mammals that feed on these sea grasses. Through chemical analyses of dugongid teeth, UF paleontologists
confirmed that early sea cows fed on sea grasses 44 million years ago.

3) What plants existed during the Eocene?

Few plant fossils are known from Eocene sediments of
Florida. Since a shallow sea covered the carbonate bank
that now underlies Florida's peninsula, Eocene plant life was
restricted to sea grasses. Nevertheless, other plant fossils
of seed and wood have been discovered in Florida's Eocene
limestone. The existence of the plant fossils in marine
sediments suggests that land may have been nearby.

Sea grass beds act as nurseries for many marine invertebrates
and fish. Dense stands of sea grass protect young from
predators, serve as egg deposition sites, and provide many
types of food. Florida's sea grass fossils contain the remains
of juvenile marine invertebrates, indicating that sea grass
habitats have provided safe haven for young marine organisms
for at least 38 million years.



Section Two: Florida Under Water continued 26

Pre Activity
Classification: Students will understand how scientists classify objects and specimens by creating their own
system of classification.

* A variety of objects for each group such as buttons, writing utensils, and wrapped candy
* Paper
* Pencil

* Divide the class into groups of 2-3 students.

* Give each group a bag full of objects. Ask them to divide the objects by the type of object that they are
(buttons, writing utensils, candy). These large groups represent Kingdoms in the classification system since
they are very general.

* Ask students to divide their groups further. For example, by type of candy, button color etc. Allow students
to choose their divisions on their own.

* Can students divide these new groups even further? For example color of candy within the type of candy.
Or size of button within button color. Once again, allow students to choose their divisions on their own.

* Students should divide their groups of objects as far as they can. Did all the groups end up with the same
divisions? How did students choose how to divide their objects?

* Discuss how the divisions and groupings they created are like the classification system. They started with
general groupings with a wide variety and kept separating and dividing to more specific groups. If they were
given a new object, how would they figure out what group is belongs in?

* Give each student a piece of paper and a pencil. Ask them to draw a dichotomous key to help guide an
outsider to identify their object. For example:


Section Two: Florida Under Water continued 27

Is the object made of wood?
yes The object is a pencil

Is the object made of wax?
Can you write with the object? Is the object made of wax?

The object is a button
Are there holes in your object?

Field Trip Activity
* Discus with students the vestigial leg on the ancient sea cow, and the giant sea snake.
* Ask them to explain how the legs likely became reduced over generations.

Post Activity
Jell-O Strata: Students will understand how different strata are deposited and how paleontologists know
relative dates of fossils based on the strata in which they are discovered.

* 4 different colors of instant Jell-O
* Large clear bowl or Tupperware
* 4 different kinds of sprinkles, fruit pieces etc.
* Large bowl
* Mixing spoon
* Refrigerator
* Bowls


Section Two: Florida Under Water continued 28

* Mix up one color of Jell-O. Add one kind of sprinkles or fruit pieces. Allow the Jell-O to set and cool.
* Repeat the process 3 more times, pouring each additional color on top of the previous.
* Look at the different layers with students. Explain that when paleontologists dig into the ground, they see
layers of rock like the different colors of Jell-O. These layers, called strata, represent different time periods.
* Ask students if the top layer or the bottom layer is older? How do we know? If they struggle with answering
this, lead them with questions about which color Jell-O did you pour first? What daytime did you do that?
What daytime did you pour that top color? Which daytime is further in the past? Something that happened
further in the past means that it is older.
* Ask students what they think it means for the fossils (sprinkles and fruit) inside the strata. Are the fossils in
the bottom layer older or younger than the fossils in the top layer? How do we know?
* Divide the Jell-O up and allow students to have a tasty snack.



Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment 29

Oligocene: 34 to 24 million years ago
Global climates became cooler during the Oligocene. Colder temperature world-wide caused more water
to be stored in the polar ice caps causing sea levels to drop. The northern portion of the Florida platform,
once abundant with tropical, marine habitats was exposed above sea level and became a small area of land.

The earliest Florida Oligocene terrestrial fossils (-30 million years old) were found near Gainesville during
construction of Interstate 75. Early immigrants to the Florida peninsula included amphibians, reptiles, bats,
shrews, and rabbits. Also, predators tracked dwarf horses and the strange, hoofed mammals, oreodonts and
chalicotheres, onto this new land. In the ocean, huge sharks plied the depths, while several kinds of sea cows
were abundant near shore. Marine invertebrate communities consisted of more modern groups.

Miocene: 24 to 5 million years ago
Great changes took place during the Miocene Epoch. Colliding continental plates and rising mountain ranges
altered global climatic conditions, especially rainfall patterns. Drier conditions affected vegetation types and
many dense, wet forests were lost. Grasses, once a small plant group, began to flourish.

Life on land was becoming increasingly more abundant. The spread of grassland savannas with mixed woodlands
offered a wide range of plant foods for grazing and browsing mammals. Florida had giant tortoises, giant sloths,
elephant-like proboscideans, tapirs, camels, horses, rhinos, and predators like bear-dogs and saber-toothed false
cats. The Miocene savanna provided the setting for different survival strategies to evolve.

Pliocene: 5 to 2 million years ago
The Pliocene witnessed wildly fluctuating climatic extremes resulting in higher (transgressions) and lower
(regressions) sea levels. These shifts greatly altered coastline geography of eastern North America, as well
as much of the rest of the world. Coastal lowlands were flooded with sea water during high sea level stands
(warmer temperatures), while vast tracts of the sea floor were exposed during periods of low sea level (cooler

The formation of a land bridge across Panama in Central America about three million years ago was a major biotic
event. Both North and South America had been previously isolated for millions of years. Each had evolved its own
unique flora and fauna.

Contact between North and South America allowed for the overland dispersal of organisms between the two
continents. Mammals living in North America invaded South America. South American mammals moved north.
The closure of the seaway between North and South America apparently resulted in extinctions of many marine
organisms. However, newly formed habitats also promoted the evolution of many new species as well.

Fun Fact: Fossilized Oligocene coral has been named as the official rock of the State of Florida.


Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 30

Vocabulary Words
Carapace: A bony shell covering part or the entire back of an animal.

Carnivore: An animal that only eats meat.

Chalicotheres: Any of various extinct ungulate mammals of the Eocene to Pleistocene epochs, having
distinctive three-clawed, three-toed feet.

Convergent evolution: The appearance of similar characteristics in organisms that evolved from different

Cormorants: A group of diving birds with characteristics such as dark plumage, webbed feet, a slender hooked
bill, and a pouch that can stretch and expand.

Dead-fall trap: A way of capturing animals that involves the collapse of the land they are standing on to the
point that the animals cannot climb out and eventually expire due to starvation.

Dermal: A term used to describe things that relate to the skin.

Dinoflagellate: Any species of single-celled marine plankton from the order dinoflagellata with two flagella.
They are one of the most common plankton organisms. They have both plant and animal characteristics.
Some species are responsible for "red tide."

Estuary: An ecosystem that occurs where rivers empty in to sea or ocean.

Karst: An area of limestone characterized by sinkholes, ravines, and underground streams.

Oreodonts: Sheep-like animals that lived during the Eocene and Miocene epochs.

Proboscis: Any of various elongated feeding, defensive, or sensory organs of the oral region, as seen in
elephants or tapirs.

Red Tide: A brownish-red discoloration of marine waters caused by the presence of enormous numbers
of certain microscopic flagellates, especially dinoflagellates. Flagellates produce a potent neurotoxin that
accumulates in the tissues of shellfish, making them poisonous when eaten by humans and other animals.

Regression: The act of going back to a previous state.

Topography: The features of an area of land, including mountains, valleys, lakes, rivers, streams, etc.

Transgression: Relative rise in sea level resulting in deposition of marine strata over terrestrial strata.



Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 31

Guiding Questions and Answers
1. What is a karst? What does it mean for Florida's
ancient animal life?

The German word karst refers to landscapes formed of eroded
limestone with sinkholes, disappearing rivers, underground
streams, and caverns. Karst regions occur in many parts of the
world, including Florida. .

When sea levels retreated millions of years ago, large portions As caverns in the limestone expand over
of limestone in northern Florida were exposed. Limestone time, their ceilings may collapse, forming
is a porous rock, easily dissolved or eroded when exposed to sinkholes. Image: U.S. Geological Survey
rainfall. Limestone dissolves as weak acids in rainwater slowly
percolate through tiny cracks and crevices, creating larger and
larger passageways. This process ultimately weakens the structural integrity of our limestone platform.

The never-ending passage of water eventually forms fissures and caverns in the porous limestone.
When cavern ceilings are weakened to the point of collapse, sinkholes form at the surface.

Florida's rich fossil record reveals that rugged karst topography proved deadly to now extinct animals.
Hidden cracks and sinkholes in forests and grasslands acted as dead-fall traps for animals on the surface.

Sinkholes often served as watering holes and homes for many species. Land mammals such as sloths, rhinos,
and horses fell while visiting these dangerous, rocky places. Others became trapped in muck and mud.

Terrestrial Environment

2) What terrestrial animals moved into Florida during the Oligocene?

Florida's earliest immigrants were frogs, tortoises, snakes, lizards, shrews, bear-dogs, peccaries, horses, and
others. Many mammals made debuts in Florida during the Oligocene. Fossil bats are well known and indicate
that in Florida bat diversity was higher than today. Primitive camels and oreodonts also arrived in the early
Oligocene. The tiny three-toed horse, Archaeohippus, made its first appearance in Florida during the late
Oligocene, as did the peccary, Cynorca, our first rabbit, Palaeolagus, and opossums.

Dwarf camels (Genticamelus), mouse deer (Nanotragulus), false cats, hedgehogs, and a large, pig-like entelodont
also made their first appearances during the transitional period between the Oligocene and Miocene.



Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 32

The first fossil record of terrestrial invertebrates in Florida occurs during the latest Oligocene. Fossils indicate
that land snails were widespread in Florida by about 24 million years ago (Oligocene/Miocene boundary).
These rare fossils were deposited in shallow water marine sediments via run-off from freshwater and estuarine

3) What is Thomas Farm? Why is it an important paleontological site?

Thomas Farm, located 50 miles northwest of Gainesville, is one of
the richest deposits of Miocene fossils in eastern North America.

Approximately 250 feet in diameter and more than 100 feet deep,
the Thomas Farm deposit is believed to be an ancient sinkhole.
The arrangement of fossilized bones suggests that the slopes of the
sinkhole were very steep and that the animals either accidentally fell "-'
in or were unable to climb out after descending in search of water.

Since its discovery in 1931 by state geologist Clarence Simpson, more I 1 -
than 50 species and thousands of individuals have been identified.
Thomas Farm has been excavated by paleontologists from Harvard
University and the University of Florida.

Extant (living today) relatives of some of the fossil frogs and lizards Thomas Farm dig site
found at Thomas Farm occur only in tropical settings today. This
suggests that the climate 18 million years ago in North Central Florida
was probably warmer than it is now.

The presence of birds, small rodents, rhinos, horses, camels, peccaries, dogs, bears, and bear-dogs suggest that
the sinkhole pond was a popular watering hole for many terrestrial animals. The great number of fossil bats
recovered also indicates the presence of caves. The remains of aquatic animals, such as turtles, alligators, and
fish, are relatively uncommon at Thomas Farm and are restricted to discrete layers. This distribution suggests
that a pond inside the sink hole periodically dried up.

Alligators are some of the more recent members of the group called Crocodylia, which also includes crocodiles,
caimans, the gavial, and extinct species. This lineage extends back to the beginning of the "Age of Dinosaurs,"
more than 215 million years ago. Like the alligators, these other crocodilians have changed little in their
evolutionary history.

The earliest fossil crocodilians in Florida (45 million years ago, middle Eocene) are fragmentary and poorly
known. The first true crocodile in Florida, Gavialosuchus americanus, dates from at least 14 million years
ago (Miocene). The American crocodile, Crocodylus acutus, occurs today in extreme southern Florida and the
Caribbean Basin.



Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 33

Thomas Farm is one of the earliest known sites that record the arrival of Alligators in North America from South
America 20 million years ago. Eighteen-million-year-old Alligator olseni is a member of the same genus as the
species living in Florida today (Alligator mississippiensis). This close relationship indicates that alligators have
not changed much since their appearance in Florida during the Miocene.

4) What terrestrial animals lived during the Oligocene?

Oreodonts were small- to medium-sized, pig-like, hoofed mammals, with long tails and stout jaws that fed
mostly on leafy vegetation. Native to North America, they were a diverse group, with over 50 species recognized.
Oreodont fossils are extremely common from 50- to 20-million-year-old (late Eocene to early Miocene)
sediments in the central United States, but are very rare in Florida. By the late Miocene, about 8 million years
ago, oreodonts had become extinct.

Even-toed hoofed mammals
The two major living groups of hoofed mammals are the Artiodactyla and Perissodactyla. Artiodactyls include
pigs, hippos, camels, giraffes, deer, antelope, bison, sheep, cows, and extinct groups like oreodonts. In the
artiodactyl foot, two digits (toes) are generally larger than the others and bear most of the weight. Two, or rarely
three, smaller side toes may be present.

What terrestrial animals lived during the Pliocene?

The Pliocene freshwater turtle fauna of Florida was very similar to that of today. The flat-edged slider and
snapping turtle lived in rivers, lakes, and ponds. The Florida soft shelled, Apalone ferox, is still common
throughout much of the state.

Glyptodonts have carapaces (shells) composed of thick, fused dermal plates with no movable sections.
Armadillos are similar in appearance, but have a carapace with flexible sections or bands. The hexagonal
dermal plates of glyptodonts are commonly fossilized.

Glyptodonts (Family Glyptodontidae) were one of the groups of animals that dispersed from South America
across the Isthmus of Panama and into North America as part of the Great American Interchange 2.5 million
years ago. They became extinct about 10,000 years ago.

Glyptodonts were probably slow, shuffling creatures considering their heavily armored carapace, large size,
and estimated weight of more than a ton. The armored carapace may have evolved to provide protection from
predators or thorny plants in the arid regions of South America. Glyptodonts must have presented quite a
challenge to carnivores looking for an easy meal.



Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 34

Eremotherium eomigrans (Family Megatheriidae) is the largest ground
sloth to disperse from South America into North America during the
Great American Interchange. It stood 4.5 meters (15 feet) tall. Males are
estimated to have weighed more than three tons (females were smaller).
These plodding giants were surpassed in size in ancient Florida only by
the mammoth and mastodon.
In life, the claw (ungual phalanx) consisted of bone covered with
a nail-like substance. Tracks on the surface were for blood vessels.
Like modern tree sloths, extinct ground sloths used their claws for
food gathering (tree leaves) and protection against predators.
Eremotherium- giant sloth
Tapirs (family Tapiridae) are odd-toed ungulates (hoofed mammals)
related to horses and rhinos. Tapir-like mammals first appear in the
fossil record 55 million years ago in North America. The genus
Tapirus became extinct on this continent at the end of the Ice Age
10,000 years ago.

Tapirs have a proboscis-a short, fleshy structure between the muzzle s.
and eyes. It functions as the tapir's nose, but also is used for food
gathering, much like an elephant's trunk. The distinctive indentation
on the front of the skull indicates that extinct tapirs also had a
proboscis. Insert image of tapir skull with arrow to the indentation

Tapir evolution has been relatively conservative, meaning they have Tapiridae- tapir
changed only a little through time. The skeletons and teeth of extinct
tapirs are very similar to those of living species.

Terror Birds
Titanis walleri was one of the largest and perhaps the last member of the terror birds (family Phorusrhacidae).
This extinct lineage of large, flightless, carnivorous birds is known mostly from South American sites dating back
60 million years ago. Its large beak and powerful feet armed with sharp talons indicate a powerful predator.

Titanis appears in the North American fossil record along the Gulf Coast at only a few late Pliocene localities.
Titanis dispersed to North America during the Great American Interchange and became extinct shortly thereafter.

Although Titanis was an extremely large bird, very few fossil remains have been found. Despite the lack of Titanis
fossils, there are enough fragments for comparison with more complete skeletons of other terror birds.



Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 35

UF paleontologists used scaling (a method that estimates the size of extinct animals) to reconstruct Titanis
as -6.5 to 10 feet tall, sporting a -2.5 feet long skull.
Although fossil remains of other terror birds are known in South America, the evolutionary relationships of
terror birds remain unclear. Their skeletons share distinctive characteristics that separate them from most birds.
The only birds that have this same suite of characteristics are South American seriemas. Not much is known
about seriemas or their relationships to other birds. Two living species inhabit open grasslands, a habitat much
like that of Florida during the late Pliocene when existed here.

5) What did dryer conditions during the Miocene mean for animals?
Dryer conditions meant that long-distance travel was necessary between water sources. Seasonal migration
for food may have become more essential. Since these mammals were walking further distances, they evolved
long limbs, resulting in longer strides with increased efficiency. (Fewer steps to cover a distance results in fewer
calories needed.)

6) What terrestrial animals lived during the Miocene?
The Miocene was a period of high land-mammal diversity. Grasslands, intermixed with different forest types,
offered varied habitats in which animals lived. Florida was much like modern African savannas, with many
kinds of herbivores all under the watchful eyes of predators.

The Amphicyonidae was a separate family related to both bears ,
and dogs. Amphicyonids have unique features in the ear regions
of the skull and very distinctive molar teeth that clearly separate
them from dogs and bears. An evolutionary "dead-end," bear-dogs
became extinct 10 million years ago.

The horse family (Equidae) includes modern horses, their wild
relatives (zebras, asses, and onagers), and more than 150 extinct
species. Horses have existed for over 55 million years. Some
species were tiny, while others were larger than modern wild Bear-dog

All horses, both living and extinct, share these defining features: a unique skull anatomy, distinctive enamel
patterns on the teeth, and either three toes or one large toe, as in modern equus.

< 0


Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 36

Rhinoceroses (family Rhinocerotidae) originated in North America 55 to 50 million years ago. The oldest rhino
fossils in Florida are from 24 million years ago (early Miocene). The Miocene wildlife in North America has
been compared to that of the modern African savanna.

Rhinos were common in Florida for millions of years until their extinction throughout North America 5 million
years ago. Along with other mammal groups, rhinos dispersed to the Old World across the Bering Land Bridge
that is exposed between Siberia and Alaska during times of lower sea levels. Rhinos lived in Europe until 10,000
years ago and are often depicted in Ice Age cave paintings.

Ground sloths originated in South America and dispersed into North America about 8 million years ago. At
that time, however, the land bridge between North and South America had not yet fully developed. So how did
these lumbering animals reach North America? Modern sloths are excellent swimmers and some fossil evidence
suggests that extinct sloths were "island hoppers." Giant sloths probably swam or rafted on floating vegetation
between islands that existed between South and Central America before a land bridge at the Isthmus of Panama
was complete. Once in Central America, the sloths dispersed northward.

Tortoises (family Testudinidae) are principally adapted to life on land. Tortoises were one of the early arrivals
to Florida after land was formed (about 30 million years ago). Since then, many tortoise species have lived in
Florida. Studies indicate that all North American tortoises, both living and fossil, arose from the same ancestors.
Therefore, extinct giant tortoises are related to the modern Florida gopher tortoise.

Barbourofelis (family Nimravidae) is considered a "false cat." The nimravids are separated from "true cats"
(family Felidae) by structural differences in the ear region of the skull. "True cats" include the extinct saber-
toothed Smilodon, lions, tigers, and house cats. Fossil nimravids are known from Eurasia and North America.
Ancestors of Barbourofelis originated in Eurasia and dispersed to North America across the Bering Land Bridge
(between Siberia and Alaska) about 15 million years ago. Nimravids became extinct about 6 million years ago
and represent an evolutionary "dead-end."

Saber-like canine teeth evolved independently several times in mammals. The "true cat" Smilodon of the North
American Ice Age had similarly shaped canines to those of Barbourofelis. Insert image of Smilodon. Even some
marsupials, members of the diverse group including opossums, kangaroos, and cuddly koala bears, had long,
dagger-shaped teeth. The marsupial Thylacosmilus of the South American Miocene and Pliocene had saber-like,
slicing teeth similar to Barbourofelis. This is an example of convergent evolution.


Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 37

Marine Environment
7) What marine animals lived during the Oligocene?

Florida's Oligocene deposits have not been thoroughly examined. The marine vertebrates inhabiting Florida
34 to 24 million years ago (Oligocene) were undoubtedly more diverse than scientific literature indicates.
However, paleontologists have documented sea turtles, sharks, including the 30 to 40 feet long Oligocene
megatooth shark, Carcharodon angustidens, stingrays, and assorted smaller fish from the Oligocene Epoch.

Sea Cows
Fossil evidence indicates that sirenians (sea cows) have lived almost continuously in Florida for about 45 million
years. The rich, yet incompletely studied, fossil record of sea cows in Florida and the Caribbean Basin fascinate
paleontologists. Derived from four-legged land mammals, their fossilized remains clearly bear the marks of
evolution at work, from the loss of functional rear limbs to changes in their teeth through time.

The primitive sea cow families, Protosirenidae and Prorastomidae, had disappeared by the Oligocene
(34 to 24 million years ago) and were replaced by more modern, dugong-like species. Sirenian diversity was
high in Florida during the Oligocene and Miocene, particularly during the late Oligocene when three genera
coexisted in shallow water habitats.

Megatoothed sharks
With large bodies and huge triangular teeth, megatoothed
Megaa = giant) sharks were the supreme predators of their
time. Early megatoothed sharks like Otodus obliquus
(50 to 45 million years ago) and Carcharodon auriculatus
(40 million years ago) were 3 to 6 meters (-10 to 20 feet) long.

Carcharodon angustidens appeared 35 million years ago
(Oligocene) with teeth 12 cm (5 inches) long and a body up
to 12 meters (-40 feet) long. The largest megatoothed shark, Megalodon jaw and teeth
Carcharodon megalodon, lived from 15 to 3 million years ago
(Miocene and Pliocene). "Megalodon" had teeth up to 18 cm
(7 inches) long and a body estimated to be 15 to 18 meters (-50 to 60 feet) long, making it one of the largest
animals that ever lived.

Shark teeth are arranged in parallel rows. The front teeth are used to capture and slice prey. Several rows of
replacement teeth grow behind the front teeth. When a front tooth is lost, another moves forward from the row
behind. New teeth are developed along the inner margin of the shark's jaw. A shark may produce, use, and shed
as many as 2,000 to 3,000 teeth each year. Over its lifetime, a shark sheds tens of thousands of teeth onto the
sea floor explaining their abundance as fossils.



Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 38

8) What did the marine environment look like during the Miocene?

The Miocene marine fossil beds of northwestern Florida are known for high diversity and remarkable
preservation. It is estimated that over 1000 marine invertebrate species occur in the Miocene sites of
northwestern Florida. This great diversity indicates a complex array of shallow water marine habitats.
Ecological settings were probably similar in appearance to South Florida today, consisting of reef systems,
coral rubble, lagoons, sand and mud flats, and sea grass beds.

The Miocene was a time of changing climates, resulting in several high and low sea level stands. When fossils
were deposited in the 18 million year old Chipola Formation, sea levels were higher than today. Dramatically
cooler climates in the middle Miocene caused a local extinction of many tropical elements of the Chipola fauna
while more temperate species prevailed.

9) What marine animals lived during the Miocene?

The varied fossil remains of Miocene aquatic vertebrates indicate that freshwater and shallow-water marine
habitats were diverse. The Williams' slider turtle, Pseudemys williamsi, lived in rivers, lakes, and ponds like
modern freshwater turtles.

The elongate skull of the crocodile, Gavialosuchus americanus, suggests that it ate fish, but with lengths
of 40 feet, it surely ate whatever it wanted. It probably lived near rivers along the coast.

The Florida fossil record of toothed whales (odontocetes) extends back about 15 million years. Common fossils
are teeth, durable ear bones, vertebrae, and jaw and skull fragments. Extinct dolphins, sperm whales, and
beaked whales all first appear in Florida about 15 million years ago. Modern dolphins first appear about 5
million years ago.

10) How do paleontologists know what an animal ate?

Paleontologists interpret the diet of extinct mammals from their tooth structure. Herbivores have flat teeth that
are used primarily for chewing and mashing up their food. Herbivores are also broken into two types of animals.
Browsers (animals that eat soft, leafy vegetation) tend to have short-crowned teeth, while grazers (grass eaters)
have high-crowned teeth. Carnivores have sharp teeth used to bite and shred their food.


Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 39

11) What animals migrated once North and South America were connected?

Over the subsequent millennia animal and plant groups dispersed to new ground. Some went north, some
went south. This is a list of larger mammalian groups that dispersed to North and South America during the
Great American Interchange. In addition to mammals, many other groups of animals and plants also immigrated
after the formation of a land bridge near present-day Panama. Some were early migrants, while others, like the
opossum, Didelphis, were apparently late-comers (Pleistocene).

Some of these groups originated in North America, while others were derived from Eurasia originally as noted in
parentheses. These Eurasian groups dispersed to North America first, then to South America. It is assumed here
that South America's mammal groups originated on that continent because the land mass was isolated for many
millions of years. However, their earliest origins may have been elsewhere.

South American mammals to North America

Ground sloths
Vampire bats

North American mammals to South America

Bears (Eurasia)
Camels (North America)
Cats (Eurasia)
Deer (Eurasia)
Dogs (North America)
Gomphotheres (Eurasia)
Horses (North America)
Otters (North America)
Peccaries (North America
Racoons (North America)
Tapirs (North America)


Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 40

12) What paleontology sites are important for Pliocene

Florida has many important Pliocene fossil sites. Marine
mammals and fish are well-represented in the extensive
Pliocene sediments of Florida.

Haile 7C: an ancient sinkhole
Freshwater vertebrates (such as turtles, alligators, and
ducks) from fossil site Haile 7C indicate that it was an
ancient sinkhole pond. Tapirs, which prefer freshwater
habitats, also were common. The ground sloths found there
visited this waterhole and probably became trapped in the
muddy sediments.

The Richardson Road death assemblage is an ideal
paleontology site. Cormorants have a fossil record in Florida
starting 5 million years ago (latest Miocene). The 2-million-' Al ,
year-old Richardson Road site yielded 137 partial skeletons ,e '.
of Phalacrocorax filyawi. This large number of well-preserved
skeletons at a single site is very rare in the fossil record. ..
Paleontologists determined that a single catastrophic event
killed them. Analysis of the sediments surrounding the
cormorant skeletons yielded numerous bones of small Haile 7C dig site, eremotheriumteeth
fish as well as microscopic fossil remains (dinocysts) of from the Haile 7C site.
dinoflagellates known to produce toxic red tides. Along the
Gulf Coast today, red tides still kill large numbers of fish and
the birds that eat them.

Pre Activity
Potato Contour Map: Rising sea levels reduces the amount of land visible above water.

* Half of a potato (cut lengthwise) for each group of students (try to use oddly shaped potatoes)
* One plastic container with a clear lid (Rubbermaid, etc)
* One dry-erase maker and one permanent marker for each group
* Ruler for each group
* Blue (food color- dyed) water



Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 41

* Have students place their potato into the container, flat side down, and mark an arrow above it,
indicating north.
* Ask students what they think would happen to Earth if it became warmer, and much of the ice at the north
and south polar regions was to melt. Where would that water go? What would happen to sea level if that
* Explain to them that this has happened before, and at one time Florida was underwater.
* Explain to students what a contour map is. It shows changes in topography, both on land and underwater.
Show them an example.
* Using the ruler, have students mark several 1 cm increments on the side of the container with the
permanent marker.
* Have them place the lid on the container, and draw a north arrow on the lid to coincide with the one
in the container.
* Have students remove the lid and pour blue water in the tub until it reaches the 1 cm. mark.
* Have students replace the lid, and align the north arrow on the lid with the one in the tub. Instruct them to
look down on the potato with one eye closed and trace the "shore line" of the potato with the dry-erase
marker. Make sure they draw only what is visible above the water.
* Repeat the last two steps until there are several 1 cm increments representing sea level rise.
* Come together as a class for a discussion. What happened to the "shore line" as the water got higher?
* What would rising sea levels mean if the potato were actually Florida? Look at a topographic map of Florida.
What elevation do we live at? What elevation are coastal cities such as Miami and Tampa at? Global warming
is causing sea level to rise. What does this mean to Florida? What cities will be affected first?

Field Trip Activity
* Point out Florida on the various globes throughout the Fossil Hall. Is it underwater during certain epochs?
When did Florida emerge?

* Ask students what they think the diet of the bear-dog was when it lived 18-10 million years ago. What do
students think the terror bird ate?

* The West Indian manatee, Trichechus manatus, is found in the southeast United States and Caribbean Sea.
It first appeared during the Pleistocene 1.5 million years ago, and is still in Florida today, although endangered.
What puts this modern, gentle mammal at risk in today's world? What mammal was the manatee related to
that is now extinct? What is it that makes the manatee's teeth different?


Section Three: By Land or Sea: A Changing Environment continued 4,

Post Activity
Sea Level Rise: Students will learn about the relationship between temperature and the state of water.

* Electric hot plate
* Cake pan
* Heat-resistant 12 ounce glass
* Water
* Ice Cubes

Part one: Demonstrate that water expands when heated. Correlate this principle with rising temperatures on
Earth. What happens to the oceans when heat is trapped in Earth's atmosphere?
* Fill the glass with very cold water. Be sure that the glass is almost overflowing.
* Place the glass in the cake pan.
* Place the pan on the hot plate, with the glass on top.
* Turn the hot plate on to a low setting
* Observe what happens to the water. Does it expand?

Part two: Demonstrate that ice which is already in the oceans (icebergs) does not increase sea level as it melts,
however glacial ice (ice on land) does.
* Place a couple of ice cubes in the glass and then fill it with cool water, almost overflowing.
* What happens to the water level as the ice melts? Does the glass overflow?
* After all of the ice has melted, place another piece of ice in the glass. This represents a glacier that is melting
on land and falls into the ocean.
* What happens to the glacial ice?
* Why would there be a difference between glacial ice and an iceberg?



Section Four: Terrestrial Florida 43


Pleistocene: 2 million to 10,000 years ago

The climate during the North American Pleistocene alternated between cold (glacial) and warmer interglaciall)
periods. During the coldest times, extensive glaciers extended as far south as Illinois with cooler temperatures
reaching well into the Southeast. Although Florida may have been slightly cooler than today, it was buffered by
the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

There were never glaciers in Florida, but colder global temperatures affected its environments and inhabitants.
Sea level was lowered by about 400 feet because more water was trapped in glaciers. Florida was over twice as
large as it is today. This opened a broad corridor of land along the coast by which animals and plants dispersed
in and out of Florida. Glaciers melted during warmer periods and sea levels rose, reducing Florida's landmass to
about its present size.

Larger animals megafaunaa) took a tumble during the late Pleistocene, but scientists are unsure why these
extinctions occurred. Changing climates or disease may have caused their demise. Or perhaps the new predator
in the region, Homo sapiens, hunted these marvelous animals to extinction. Humans dispersed into Florida
about 14,000 years ago, near the end of the Pleistocene.

These earliest Native Americans are known as Paleoindians. Excavations by UF researchers at a site along the
Aucilla River in Florida's Panhandle yielded stone tools such as spear points, implements carved from ivory and
bone, and the fossilized remains of animals, testifying to their existence in Florida until about ten thousand
years ago.

Vocabulary Words
Extinct: No longer in existence.

Glacier: An extended mass of ice.

Megafauna: In Florida, a series of extinct animals that were significantly larger that their extant relatives today.

Paleobotany: A branch of paleontology that deals with fossilized plants.

Pathogen: A disease producing agent such as a virus or bacteria.


Section Four: Terrestrial Florida continued 44

Guiding Questions and Answers

Marine Environment

1) What did Pleistocene marine environments look like?

Pleistocene marine habitats were similar to those of today. Many modern species make their first appearance
during the early Pleistocene. Large marine animals, such as whales, manatees, and sea turtles did not suffer the
mass extinctions near the close of the Pleistocene like their cousins on land.

2) What marine animals lived during the Pleistocene?

Seals and walruses (pinnipeds=fin-footed) are placed near bears in the order Carnivora. Known from
Pleistocene deposits, the Caribbean monk seal (Monachus tropicalis) persisted into modern times. European
colonizers and Caribbean residents hunted them to extinction by the mid-20th Century.

Manatees and dugongs
Dugongs were extinct in the Caribbean Basin by the end of the Pliocene, but two species continued into recent
times in the Pacific Ocean. The modern dugong lives in dwindling numbers in the Indo-Pacific region. Steller's
sea cow was hunted to extinction by the late 1700s.

The now endangered modern West Indian Manatee, Trichechus manatus, made its first appearance in the fossil
record of Florida about 1.5 million years ago.

West Indian manatees occur in coastal marine and freshwater habitats in the Gulf of Mexico, West Indies, and
northern South America. Two more species of Trichechus (Family Trichechidae) live in northeastern South
America and western Africa. Early manatees from 10-million-year-old Miocene deposits in Colombia suggest
that these sirenians evolved in the Caribbean Basin.

Manatees and probiscideans (elephants and their relatives) have an unusual way to replace cheek teeth. Their
teeth erupt in the rear of the jaw and wear down as they move forward. Worn teeth are shed from the front.
This adaptation insures that manatees have a continual supply of teeth to replace those worn down by their diet,
which frequently consists of abrasive sea grass. This shared feature, along with others, leads paleontologists to
assert that manatees and proboscideans share a common ancestry.


Section Four: Terrestrial Florida continued 45

3) Why do we find Pleistocene fossils? Where do we find Pleistocene fossils?

Most Pleistocene exposures occur from mining sand and shells for construction. Invertebrate fossils found in
the Caloosahatchee Formation (-2 million years ago, Pliocene-Pleistocene boundary) comprise a tropical fauna
of nearly 600 species. Slightly more temperate faunas preserved in the Bermont and Ft. Thompson formations
indicate deposition during cooler periods.

The Miami, Key Largo, and Anastasia formations were most likely deposited during an interglacial period about
125,000 years ago.

The Anastasia Formation outcrops along Florida's east coast. Rock typically consists of cemented shell fragments,
particularly of the coquina clam, Donax variabilis. Blocks of these fossils were used for construction of buildings
and forts, such as Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine. Ghost crabs and sand dollars are often preserved in
these sediments.

Pleistocene fossils are everywhere in Florida. They have been found throughout the state in sinkholes, caves,
rivers, lakes, beaches, shell pits, limerock quarries, and backyards. Early UF paleontologists pioneered the use
of SCUBA to collect Pleistocene fossils, particularly from northern Florida rivers and springs. Tens of thousands
of specimens representing almost a thousand Pleistocene localities are housed in the museum's research
collections. Collectively, they characterize a broad diversity of ancient habitats and extinct faunas.

Terrestrial Environment

4) What did the Pleistocene terrestrial environment look like?

Fossilized remains of a diverse host of aquatic plants and animals indicate that freshwater habitats were well
developed and had been for many millennia. Animals inhabiting lakes, rivers, sinkhole ponds, springs and spring
runs occur in Pleistocene sediments throughout the state. Large plant fossils are rare, but lake sediments often
contain pollen from which scientists can reconstruct ancient habitats.

Fossil plants are rare in Florida so any paleobotanical evidence provides a valuable glimpse of ancient plant
communities. The conifer cones, probably from pine trees and sabal palm seeds indicate that Florida's flora has
not changed much since the Pleistocene. Studies of fossil pollen preserved in Florida lakes indicate that local
plant communities fluctuated as climate changed. Warmer times tended to support more lowland pine forests
whereas deciduous trees (e.g., oaks and hickory) were more common during colder periods.


Section Four: Terrestrial Florida continued 46

5) What terrestrial animals lived during the Pleistocene?

Giant rodents
Rodents (order Rodentia) are usually small mammals such as mice, rats,
and pocket gophers. All rodents have enlarged, ever-growing incisor
teeth adapted for gnawing. During the Pleistocene, a giant beaver lived
in Florida. It lacked the flat tail of the modern beaver, but probably had
webbed feet. Castoroides was about 8 feet and weighed up to 440 lbs.

Bird fossils are somewhat rare, because the lightness and thinness of their
bones are not conducive to fossilization, but some Pleistocene deposits
in Florida have many. A single locality in central Florida produced over
10,000 fossil bird bones. A diverse fauna of freshwater birds is known
from Florida's Pleistocene, including ospreys, herons, egrets, loons,
anhingas, ducks, and many others.

Condors are first found in Florida 8 million years ago during the Miocene.
Fossil Florida condors also include the California condor, which lived
over much of North America. The California condor became extinct
across most of the continent 10,000 years ago (late Pleistocene), probably
because of a dwindling food supply resulting from the mass extinction of
large mammals. The group is represented in South America today by the
Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), the world's largest modern flying bird,
with a wingspan of about 3.5 meters (-11.5 feet).

Snails and Clams
Most freshwater mollusk species, like the Florida apple snail,
(Pomacea paludosa) persist in our area, although many habitats now
have been adversely affected by human activity.

The washboard, Megalonaias nervosa, a large freshwater clam, lives
today only in main channels of big rivers and their larger tributaries in
northwestern Florida. Its presence as fossils at the one-million-year-old
Leisey Shell Pit suggests that a large river existed in Hillsborough County
during the early Pleistocene.

Capybara, a semi-aquatic rodent


Megladonis, a freshwater clam

< 0


Section Four: Terrestrial Florida continued 47

Scaled and scaleless critters
Almost all the freshwater fishes, reptiles, and amphibians known from
Florida's Pleistocene still exist. Freshwater habitats were replete with
sunfish, bass, garfish, catfish, snapping turtles, cooters, sliders, along
with water snakes, frogs and salamanders. The top predator, Alligator
mississippiensis, often exceeded 5 meters (-16 feet) in the Pleistocene.

The family Camelidae includes camels and llamas. Fossil evidence
indicates that camelids originated in North America and became
extinct on this continent 10,000 years ago.

Ancestral species entered South America via the land bridge formed by
the Isthmus of Panama. The llama and its close relatives, (alpaca, guanaco,
and vicuna) are now restricted to South America. They are mostly grazers
adapted to a variety of habitats ranging from the high Andes to the low
grasslands of Patagonia. The modern camels live in desert regions of Asia
and northern Africa. Their ancestors first dispersed across the Bering
Land Bridge from Alaska to Siberia during the Miocene.

True cats (family Felidae) first arrived in Florida about 22 million years
ago. They became more diverse after the extinction of false cats (Family
Nimravidae) about 9 million years ago.

Several groups of cats are known from Florida's Pleistocene, including
Xenosmilus, Smilodon, and an American cheetah, Miracinonyx.

Lions, tigers, and jaguars are called "roaring cats." A giant form of the
jaguar, Panthera onca, lived in Florida during the Pleistocene. It was up
to 25% larger than the modern jaguar. Otherwise it is identical to the
living form and is classified as the same species. After the Pleistocene,
the jaguar's range was greatly reduced. Today, it is restricted to Mexico,
Central and South America. Several other cats lived in Florida during
the Pleistocene, including the saber cat, bobcat, ocelot, American cheetah,
Florida panther, and American lion.

Florida alligator




< 0


Section Four: Terrestrial Florida continued 48

The family Ursidae includes the modern bears of North America and
Eurasia, several south Asian species, the South American spectacled
bear, and many extinct species.

The Ursidae is principally an Eurasian group that dispersed several
times across the Bering Land Bridge into North America over the past
35 million years.

Even though bears are classified as meat eaters (order Carnivora),
their tooth structure and diet indicate that they are omnivores,
feeding on both plants and animals.

Tremarctine bears have short muzzles and are called "short-faced
bears." The South American spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is the
lone survivor of this group. Its ancestors dispersed into South America
during the Great American Interchange, after 2.5 million years ago.

Peccaries are primitive, even-toed, hoofed mammals. They generally
have four hooves on the front limbs and three on the rear.

Two types of peccaries lived in Florida during the Pliocene and
Pleistocene. Based on tooth structure, Mylohyus probably ate soft
vegetation, while Platygonus fed on coarser plants. There also were
earlier peccaries during the Oligocene and Miocene, but they are rare
and poorly known. Peccaries became extinct in Florida by the end of
the Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago.

Although peccaries are "pig-like," they are classified in the New World
family Tayassuidae, while true pigs belong to the Old World family

Three peccary species occur today in a variety of habitats from the
southern borderlands of the United States south into South America.
A third species, Catagonus wagneri, was thought to be extinct until
it was discovered in the 1970s living in Paraguay.


Family of Peccaries

< 0


Section Four: Terrestrial Florida continued 49

6) What happened to Pleistocene animals?

Paleontologists are unsure why most of the North American megafauna became extinct 12,000 to 10,000 years
ago. This extinction apparently happened rather quickly, perhaps over a period of just a few thousand years.
Large mammals, including ground sloths, glyptodonts, mastodons, mammoths, saber-toothed cats, the American
lion, and many others, vanished from the face of the Earth. Why? Scientists have hotly debated the reasons) for
this abrupt and dramatic decrease in mammalian diversity.

Two schools of thought explain these late Pleistocene extinctions:

1. The large mammals did not adapt to climate changes ("chill"); or

2. Humans hunted large mammals to extinction ("kill").

More recently, it has been suggested that lethal pathogens ("ill") spread rapidly through large mammal
populations, decimating them.

We do not know the answer to this mystery. Probably climate change, hunting, or disease, or some combination
of these factors resulted in the demise of these magnificent beasts.

More than 99% of all species that ever lived on Earth are extinct. Millions disappeared during the five greatest
mass extinction episodes. Today many of Earth's animals and plants are again in great peril. There is little debate
among biologists that we are facing a biological crisis that rivals the worst mass extinctions of the past. Some
biologists estimate that Earth is losing 30,000 species per year-three species every hour-as a direct result of
human activity, the "Sixth Mass Extinction."

Will the endangered species pictured in this Fossil Hall disappear in your lifetime?

Pre Activity
Piecing together the puzzle: Paleontologists make hypotheses based on only a small part of a puzzle.

SSmall "kiddie" puzzle for each group. If you cannot get puzzles, you can print a picture on cardstock and cut
it out to make a puzzle


Section Four: Terrestrial Florida continued 50

* Divide the class into groups of 2-4 students.
* Give each group a puzzle (-15-30 pieces) with several pieces missing. Have them put together the puzzle.
* Have student take the puzzle apart and flip the pieces over. Mix the pieces up.
* Ask students to select 2-3 pieces of the puzzle and flip only those pieces over. What do those pieces alone
tell about the whole picture? Is there one particular part that gives away the whole picture?
* Explain that paleontologists learn about animals from the past based on their bones, which are much like
the pieces of the puzzle. Sometimes they have an almost complete puzzle, but other times they only have
a few pieces.

Field Trip Activity
* Scavenger Hunt (Activity Sheet 3)

Post Activity
Paleo Cookie Dig: Students will understand that how a paleontologist determines what kind of environment
a site represents.

* Rice Krispies
* Marshmallow
* Margarine
* Knife
* Paper plates
* Raisins
* Nut pieces
* Sunflower seeds (with shell)
* Toothpicks



Section Four: Terrestrial Florida continued 51

* At home, make a batch or Rice Krispies Treats. Mix in raisins, nut pieces, and sunflowers seeds or different
items but make sure that they will not melt. The raisins represent turtle fossils, the nut pieces represent tapir
fossils and the sunflower seeds represent horse fossils.
* In class, cut the tray into pieces. Distribute 1 square to each student on a paper plate with a toothpick.
* Have students "excavate" their square with a toothpick. They should make a pile of each of the different items
mixed into the Rice Krispies.
* When finished excavating, ask students to count how many of each item they have on their plate.
* Ask students to raise their hand if they have mostly turtle fossils. Tapir fossils? Horse fossils?
* Based on the types of fossils found in their quadrant and for the whole site, what type of environment do
they think this site represents (terrestrial). Why?
* Ask students what they might find if the site represented a marine paleontology site?
* You can easily create a more difficult activity by assigning time period specific organisms as the fossils and
asking students to determine what time period the site represents.
* Allow student to eat the excavation remnants or have a second tray that can be cut up to eat.



Section Four: Terrestrial Florida continued 52

Activity Sheet 3
Fossil Hall Scavenger Hunt
1. I am the oldest Florida fossil ever found. I am over 100 million years old. What am I?
2. We are remnants of a four-legged ancestor. We can be seen on the extinct toothed whale. What are we?
3. I am neither a bear nor a dog. I am an evolutionary "dead end" I lived during the Miocene. Who am I?
4. I am Florida's first alligator. I lived during the Miocene. Who am I?
5. As the largest mammal to walk the Earth, I lived during the Miocene. I am an Indricotherium.
Where did I live?
6. Fossils of me are found in the Miocene. I am Florida's "official state tree" today. What am I?
7. I had huge claws, but ate plants. I am referred to as a "gentle giant." I lived during the Pliocene.
Who am I?
8. I am a large headed llama that once roamed Florida's grasslands. Where am I found today?
9. I am a top predator that originated in Africa. I first immigrated to Florida about 14,000 years ago.
I may be responsible for the extinction of many large mammal species. Who am I?
10. We are at least four of Florida's modern endangered species. Who are we?


Section Four: Terrestrial Florida continued 53

Answers: to be on a separate page for the teacher's reference only
1. Sea turtle shell fragment from Okeechobee area.
2. Small (vestigial) hind limbs
3. Giant Bear-Dog
4. Alligator olseni
5. Central Asia
6. Sabal Palm
7. Giant Ground Sloth
8. South America
9. Humans
10. Right whale, Florida panther, American crocodile, gray bat, West Indian manatee,
grass of Parnassus, Atlantic green turtle, Lower Keys marsh rabbit, Schaus swallowtail,
wood stork, shortnose sturgeon, Key deer.



Section One: Books 54

Barnes-Svarney, Patricia. "Fossils: Stories from Bones and Stones." Hillside, NJ: Enslow Publishers, 1991.

Barton, Miles. "Prehistoric America: A Journey through the Ice Age and Beyond." New Haven, CT: Yale University
Press, 2002.

Blashfield, Jean and Richard Jacobs. "When Life Flourished in Ancient Seas: the Early Paleozoic Era." Chicago:
Heinemann Library, 2006.

Blashfield, Jean and Richard Jacobs. "When Land, Sea, and Life Began: The Precambrian Era." Chicago:
Heinemann Library, 2006.

Blashfield, Jean and Richard Jacobs. "When Life Took Root on Land: The Late Paleozoic Era." Chicago: Heinemann
Library, 2006.

Blashfield, Jean and Richard Jacobs. "When Dinosaurs Ruled: The Mesozoic Era." Chicago: Heinemann Library,

Blashfield, Jean and Richard Jacobs. "When Giant Mammals Thundered: The Cenozoic Era." Chicago: Heinemann
Library, 2006.

Blashfield, Jean and Richard Jacobs. "When Ice Threatened Living Things: The Pleistocene Era." Chicago:
Heinemann Library, 2006.

Bonner, Hannah. "When Fish got Feet, Sharks got Teeth and Bugs Began to Swarm." Washington D.C.: National
Geographic, 2007.

Bradley, Timothy J. "Paleo Sharks: The Survival of the Strangest." San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2007.

Cartner, William C. How we know what one earth happened before man arrived:' New York: Sterling Publishing
Company, 1972.

Erikson, Jon. "A History of Life on Earth: Understanding our Past:' New York: Facts on File, 1995.

Firefly Books. "Guide to Fossils." Buffalo, NY; Firefly Books, 2003.

Gallant, Jonathan R. "The Tales Fossils Tell:' New York: Benchmark Books, 2001.

Gamlin, Linda. "Eyewitness Evolution:' New York: Dorling Kindersley,, 2000.



Section One: Books continued 55

Giblin, James. "They Mystery of the Mammoth Bones." New York: Haper Collins World, 1999.
Goodhue, Thomas W. "Curious Bones: Mary Anning and the birth of Paleontology." Greensboro, NC:
Morgan Reynolds Publishing, 2002.

Helmut, Mayr. "A Guide to Fossils." Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1992.

Hynes, Margaret. "Rocks and Fossils." Boston: Kingfisher, 2006.

Larson, Peter and Kristin Donnan. "Bones Rock! Everything you need to know to become a Paleontologist."
Montpelier, VT: Invisible Cities Press, 2004.

Lessem, Don. "Dinosaurs to Dodos: An Encyclopedia of Extinct Animals." New York: Scholastic Reference, 1999.

Markle, Sandra. "Outside and Inside Wooly Mammoths." New York: Walker, 2007.

Martin, Paul S. "Twilight of the Mammoths: Ice Age Extinctions and the Rewilding of America:' Berkely, CA:
University of California Press, 2005.

Matsen, Bradford. "Planet Ocean: A Story of Life, the Sea and Dancing to the Fossil Record." Berkley, CA:
Ten Speed Press, 1994.

McNulty, Faith. "How Whales Walked into the Sea." New York, NY: Scholastic Press, 1999.

National Academy of Sciences. "Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science:' Washington, DC:
National Academy Press, 1998.

Osborne, Mary Pope, and Natalie Pope Boyce. "Sabertooths and the Ice Age." New York, NY:
Stepping Stone Books, 2005.

Riehecky, Janet. "Sabertooth Cat:' Mankato, MN: Captone Press, 2008.

Walker, Sally M. "Fossils." Minneapolis: Lerner Publications, 2007.

Zimmerman, Howard. "Beyond the Dinosaurs: Sky Dragons, Sea Monsters, Mega-mammals and Other
Prehistoric Beasts." New York, NY: Antheneum Press, 2001.

Zimmerman, Howard. "Dinosaurs: The Biggest, Baddest, Strangest and Fastest." New York, NY:
Antheneum Press, 2000.


Section Two: Web Sources 56

Florida Fossil Hunters

FLMNH Invertebrate Paleontology

FLMNH Paleobotany

FLMNH Vertebrate Paleontology

Field Museum Evolving Planet Online Exhibition

National Center for Science Education

Paleontology at the United States Geological Survey

Paleontological Society

Science Daily: Paleontology News

University of California Museum of Paleontology


Section Three: Videos, Music 57

Bill Nye the Science Guy "Fossils" Disney Educational Productions. 26 min. video.
National Geographic Society "Fossils, Clues to the Past." Washington D.C. National Geographic Society,
Educational Services, 1983. 23 min. video.
National Geographic Society "Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure." National Geographic Video, 2008.
40 min. DVD.



Section Four: Current Research at the Florida Museum 58

The late Archie F. Carr, Jr. (1909-1987), UF Graduate Research Professor in Zoology and author of popular
natural history books, was a leader in the study and conservation of sea turtles.

The Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, UF Zoology Department, was established in 1986 to celebrate
the contributions of this extraordinary naturalist and promote a better understanding of sea turtle biology and

Invertebrate Paleontology
The strength and significance of the FLMNH Invertebrate Paleontology (IP) Collection resides in the extensive
amount of material collected within the last 50 years from over 4000 sites around Florida, the southeastern
U.S., and the circum-Caribbean. These collections are unique in that they represent many localities no longer
accessible because of rapid regional land development. They are also a significant national research resource that
serves as the basis, for an active and productive IP Research Program at the Florida Museum of Natural History,
University of Florida.

Paleobotony and Palynology
The FLMNH Paleobotanical Collection includes approximately 300,000 specimens. This is a conservative
estimate that does not take into account the fact that an individual hand sample may contain more than one
fossil of interest. In addition, the facility houses the John W. Hall paleobotanical collection (approximately
20,000 specimens) currently on a long-term loan from the University of Minnesota.

The collection is international in scope, ranging from the Proterozoic to the Pleistocene, and including
collections from 47 countries. Particular strengths of the collection are: Cretaceous of the US western interior,
Cretaceous and Eocene of southeastern North America, Eocene and Oligocene of the Pacific northwest, and
Pennsylvanian of Indiana and Illinois. Systematically the greatest strength of the collection is in Cretaceous-
Tertiary angiosperms, which are represented by large numbers of well-preserved fruits and flowers as well as
leaves and wood.

Vertebrate Paleontology
The FLMNH vertebrate fossil collections feature rich samples of all classes, mainly from the Cenozoic Era. More
than 90% of the collections come from about 1000 marine and non-marine sites in Florida; other contributing
regions are the Caribbean Basin and the South American Andes. Included are about 400,000 specimens, of
which more than 240,000 are catalogued and 225,000 are currently on a searchable computer database.



Section Four: Current Research at the Florida Museum continued 59

Tapir Challenge
The Tapir Challenge pitted fossil collecting teams from the Florida Museum of Natural History and East
Tennessee State University to determine whose site would produce the most tapir skeletons. By the spring of
2008, the challenge was about an even draw, although the Tennessee group still has many years of productive
work ahead of them. The Florida site was located northeast of the small town of Newberry in western Alachua
County. Its technical name is Haile 7G. The fossils found at Haile 7G are about 2 million years old, from the
late Pliocene Epoch. A complete list of the species found at the site can be found on the FLMNH Vertebrate
Paleontology website.
Over 550 volunteers assisted in the challenge from the fall of 2006 through the spring of 2008. FLMNH
collected a total of 79 tapir skeletons. In addition, we found about 100 skeletons of other mammals, about 250
turtle skeletons, 23 alligator skeletons, and three bird skeletons, making this one of the most significant fossil
sites ever excavated in Florida. Much of this productivity is due to our volunteers, who contributed over 8,000
hours of work at the site.



Section One: Permanent Exhibitions 60

Northwest Florida: Waterways and Wildlife
This exhibit follows water as it flows through the unique environments of northwest Florida, the most
biologically diverse region of the state. Explore a hardwood hammock featuring a life-sized limestone cave,
a seepage bog with its carnivorous plants, a Native American trading scene and more.

Butterfly Rainforests: Where Science Takes Flight
Stroll through this 6,400-square-foot screened, outdoor enclosure with subtropical and tropical plants and
hundreds of living butterflies. View thousands of Lepidoptera species on the "Wall of Wings" and learn about
butterfly and moth biology. See scientists working in the Butterfly Rearing Lab and the Research Labs.

South Florida People and Environments
This exhibit celebrates the story of native people in South Florida and the environments that supported them.
Walk along a boardwalk through a mangrove forest, travel underwater to view larger-than-life marine creatures,
visit the house of a Calusa leader and much more.



Section Two: School and Outreach Programs 61

Programs Overview
School groups include home schools and public, private and faith-based PreK-12 schools within a school district.

The Florida Museum of Natural History offers the following field trip opportunities for school groups:
Guided School Programs
Join our museum docents for hands-on classroom activities and interactive walks through our state-of-the-art
exhibits and outdoor natural areas. Guided programs are offered Tuesday through Friday mornings, Oct. 7, 2008,
through May 22, 2009. Programs fill quickly, especially for the months of October, November, April and May.
To avoid disappointment, reserve your date as early in the school year as possible. Reservations must be made
a minimum of three weeks in advance of the program date.

Indoor Programming
10-60 students per program
Each program is 60 minutes in length
$3 student, 1/10 ratio chaperone free, additional chaperones $3/each
Butterfly-focused programs will have additional entry fee into the Rainforest
Programs will work with grades pre-school to 12th grade. Each program will be
individualized to provide age-appropriate activities

Indoor Program Options:
Butterfly and Moth Explorations
Fossils No Bones About It!
Trails in Time Florida's Indian Peoples
Waterways and Wildlife of Florida

Outdoor Programming
10-40 students per program
Each program is 60 minutes in length
$3 student, 1/10 ratio chaperone free, additional chaperones $3/each
Outdoor Programs are available for pre-school through 5th grade students only

Outdoor Program Options:
Eye on Insects Fall Only
Green Machine Spring Only
Stayin' Alive


Section Two: School and Outreach Programs continued 62

Self-Guided Visits
Suitable for groups that prefer to visit the museum without the benefit of docents or staff. Reservations are
required for all self-guided visits of 10 or more students to ensure a positive experience for your group.
Self-guided visits must be reserved at least two weeks in advance and are available Monday through Friday
during Museum hours. A staff member will greet your group and facilitate the purchase of any tickets before
you enter the Museum. After that, your group leaders are entirely responsible for the educational experience
of the students.
School Group Self-Guided Tickets (10 or more individuals)
See link http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/education/self_guided.htm

Outreach Inquiry Boxes
The Florida Museum of Natural History currently offers five Inquiry Box outreach programs for use in your
classroom. They are also a great way to compliment your docent-led program or self-guided field trip to the
Museum. Our Inquiry Boxes are correlated to the Sunshine State Standards and are designed to enhance FCAT

Each Inquiry Box contains selected natural history objects, games, a video, reference materials and a teacher's
guide. Classroom teachers at any grade level may check out the Inquiry Boxes at a cost of $25/box for a two-week
period. Teachers will be responsible for the pick-up and return of the Inquiry Boxes to and from museum.
If interested, please contact tours@flmnh.ufl.edu.

Florida's Butterflies and Moths grades K-4
Florida's Reptiles and Amphibians grades 2-6
Northern Florida's Early Native People grades 4-8
Southern Florida's Early Native People grades 4-8
Florida's Seminole People grades 2-6

Coming Soon!
Florida's Fossils grades 5-8
The Geology of Florida grades 5-8

http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/education/inquiry boxes.htm


Section Three: General Visitor Programs and Special Events 63

Programs for Children and Adults
The Florida Museum offers a wide variety of educational programming for visitors of all ages. These programs
include summer and spring break camps, adult workshops and classes, field trips, lectures, weekend and school
holiday classes for kids, and a preschool program for tots and parents. Programming for the general public also
includes annual and special events such as Collector's Day, Museum Nights, Butterfly Fest, Earth Day and Family
Days at each exhibition opening.

Discovery Room
Swim through the shallows of a coral reef, puzzle together a prairie and create creatures from Florida's diverse
ecosystems in our self-guided discovery stations. Visit our hands-on Discovery Room filled with activities and
join us during scheduled program times for stories, puppets, Museum exploration with Dr. Discovery and more!
To utilize the Discovery Room, groups must have one adult chaperone for every 5 students. The Discovery Room
attendant reserves the right to limit the number of room participants or ask visitors to leave.




? Information
ft Restrooms (ADA Accessible)
I Baby Changing Station
(closed to the public) /
S Security Office
Butterfly Rainforest Ticketing
C Phone


(closed to the public) ADMINISTRATION
S(closed to the public)





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