The Scotts Hill Elementary School fourth grade took a field trip to Coon Creek fossil site on May 8th. They started the trip by sitting in the mess hall and receiving a lecture with the Coon Creek Center Director Alan Youngerman. The students were told that the site had been established 74 million years before when the ocean used to be 100 feet deep in the area. They learned about hundreds of fossils that had been recovered that were specific to the area. The earliest discovery of fossils happened in 1833. There were several geologists that made their way to West Tennessee throughout the 1800s and early 1900s and documented findings in the area. In 1915, Vanderbilt graduate student and Trent native Bruce Wade, approached the owner of the land that is now known as the Coon Creek site. The owner, Dave Weeks, allowed Wade to study and document his findings in the 1926 in the iconic monograph, USGS Professional Paper 137, The Fauna of the Ripley Formation of Coon Creek, Tennessee. It turned out that Dave Weeks was actually using the fossils to feed his chickens at the time. It just so happens that one of our students, Kaliyonna McCombs is a direct descendent of the Weeks family. Her great great great grandfather had his picture on the wall in the lecture hall. During the discussion, the Director told the students that when they went down to start hunting for fossils, it was possible that they might find something that was rare, and that they would be offered a chance to give that to the Coon Creek Museum and be traded a different fossil. After an hour of searching, and lots and lots of mud and laughter, the students returned to the mess hall to await a pizza lunch and started to look through their fossils. Student Sadie Morris found a fossilized lobster claw. During the lecture, there were several fossils on display, including a lobster claw that looked different. The Director reviewed what she had, and told the group that he had never seen one recovered at the site, but that Bruce Wade, who had published his findings in the 1920s had referenced a similar claw which made it very rare. The Director asked Sadie to trade him for a different fossil, and that her name be taken as the discoverer of this very rare lobster claw. This announcement was met with chairs by the fourth-grade classes. In addition to hundreds of fossils being recovered by the students and staff, they also gained a newfound respect and love for paleontology and archaeology. The Coon Creek site is a real gem that needs to be seen by all school-age children and adults alike. The third Saturday of every month features a community dig in which all people can come in and search for fossils. Our fourth grade highly recommends this trip for your family.
Scotts Hill Elementary Student Discovers Rare Fossil on Field Trip
MAY 09, 2023