You don’t have to be a paleontologist to enjoy hunting for some fossils. Of course, we’re not talking about dinosaur skeletons or anything on that scale, but chancing upon some prehistorical snail shells, nautilus remains, or plants encased in stone. Beaches are excellent places where you can find some fossils that you can even take home if there aren’t any rules concerning ‘souvenirs’. So when you feel like spending a few days hunting for fossils or just enjoying the natural beauty of these areas, here are the best places for fossil hunting.
Fossil Bluff, Tasmania, Australia
Tasmania is famous for its landscapes and interesting fauna, and trekking through the forests and hills of this island can be a very enjoyable activity. For some fossils, travel to the city of Wynyard, and a couple of kilometers outside the city you will find the Fossil Bluff, at the tip of a promontory formed by River Iglis where it flows into Bass Strait. Since Fossil Bluff is a protected geological area, you are not allowed to take any of your findings home with you.
The coastline of Dorset is a perfect destination for anyone who likes the outdoors, but even more so for those with a passion for fossils. The rock formations at Durdle Door and Lulworth Cove offer a variety of little treasures hidden in nooks and corners, like fossilized ammonites, plants or even small fish. The Jurassic Coast region is especially great for fossil hunting!
Riversleigh, Queensland, Australia
Riversleigh is one of the few fossil sites in the world that has been declared a world heritage site, and also one of the most abundant in fossil discoveries. The fossils can be found mostly near freshwater pools, or in caves but some were found elsewhere too. Only a smallish portion of the fossil park can be visited, but it’s the first fossil deposit found in the area and also the richest.
Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, Colorado
Florissant Fossil Beds is one of the richest and most diverse fossil deposits in the world. The most interesting specimens can be found on petrified redwood stumps: all manner of insects, other invertebrates and plants. It is possible to visit the park on your own, but for more information (and to make sure that you see some really interesting fossils) you should take part in a guided tour.
Chengjiang Biota, Yunnan, China
Chengjiang Biota is the richest and most well known fossil deposit in China, where you can find not only an extraordinary variety of fossils, but also some of the best preserved fossils every found on the planet. The unique conditions in the area made it possible for the soft body parts of the animals and insects to be preserved, which is why you can see them in such astounding detail.