Treasure Hunting for Fossil Fish

If there is anything that truly unites us to the past, it must be fossils. They are a record of how life not only existed thousands and millions of years ago but there is a record of how that life was shaped and formed over those years. Anyone interested in treasure hunting may have a particular interest in any type of antique or special find, but for some, there is no substituting the hunt for elusive fossil fish. While you may assume that you need to travel to some far-off and exotic land and become a full-fledged Indiana Jones to find this type of treasure, in reality many have been able to come across these ancient fossils in whatever local area they live, including parts of the central United States, as well as in Germany, China, Italy, and other such areas.

To find fossil fish you of course need to get off the beaten path a bit. Areas that are developed and suburbanized are probably not going to have many fossils readily found as the construction needed for a city or suburb is going to disturb the ground well below for the foundations of buildings. Most of these ancient fossils are found in areas that are not quite civilized such as in deep caves and caverns or even the dessert.

For instance, the state of Wyoming has yielding some amazing finds recently when it comes to fossil fish. Stingrays and mioplosus are common finds. The Green River Formation in southwestern Wyoming seems to contain a treasure trove of these ancient fossils from many different geological times. The city of Kemmerer welcomes fossil treasure hunters from around the world as they too search for their finds. There are some three million acres of public lands at which you may do some digging, and of course when you get tired of treasure hunting there is a wealth of other activities available to you as well. At Fossil Butte National Monument you can do some exploring on your own, or if you’re new to the hobby you can take a tour with a local ranger or guide. Even children can get in on the action as they find and clean their own fossils and other treasures.

Some of the tools you will need are safety glasses, hammer, chisel and a crow bar. The quarry area is littered with flat slabs or plates of sedentary rock that was formed on and ancient lake bed. When the fish or plant life died they fell to the lake floor and were subsequently buried with mud and silt. Pick up the slabs of rock and split them endways to release the fossil treasures.

Some of the rarer fossil finds have commanded up to a quarter of a million dollars. The fossil’s value is determined by its rarity of the specimen, the size, and the quality of the bone definition. Wyoming is considered the fish fossil capital of the world.

Of course there really is no area of the world where you absolutely cannot find fossils. Many have literally stumbled across very valuable finds when just out fishing or hiking or rock climbing. While searching for fossil fish may be a bit difficult for those who are new to the activity, with the right guide and research manual you may find that this is a hobby that is well worth the pursuit.

Happy Treasure Hunting.