When we think of a fossil dig, we often picture a rocky valley or pit far away from civilization. However, surprising fossil locations are uncovered all the time. It's not a dinosaur conspiracy - prehistoric life existed all around us, even under our shopping centers and subway systems.
Fossils found in surprising places can give regular people a chance to experience the excitement of discovering the remains of prehistoric animals and dinosaurs. It’s a great reason to keep your eyes peeled when exploring the great outdoors - or even when building a new fire station.
1. Massive Mosasaurs Were Found Behind A Busy New Jersey Shopping Center
A shopping center in central New Jersey sits near a quarry that has become the center of increased attention from paleontologists. For years, excavation of the quarry has revealed a great number of marine fossils from the Cretaceous period. Largest among them are the remains of massive mosasaurs, but the fossils also include crocodiles, sharks, and brachiopods.
The area was once part of a shallow sea, and the surrounding earth appears to be from the end of the Cretaceous period when dinosaurs and many other species went extinct.Is this a wild find?
2. The Fossil Of A Carnivorous Whale Was Found In The Peruvian Desert
Most whales today are very docile and few hunt large animals. The same can’t be said for Livyatan, a massive and aggressive whale with large, sharp teeth. Livyatan was discovered in the middle of the vast Peruvian Pisco-Ica desert on the last day of a two-year archaeological search.
Scientists theorize Livyatan would have preyed on its kind; the species likely ate whales when they were much more common in the world’s oceans.Is this a wild find?
3. A Giant Catfish Fossil Was Found In An Egyptian Desert
Since the world has changed so much over hundreds of millions of years, it’s impossible to tell at a glance which species would have lived in certain places in prehistoric days. One great example: An arid and lifeless desert in Egypt called Wadi Al-Hitan was found to be full of whale and fish fossils. An especially unusual discovery was the nearly 7-foot-long fossil of a catfish.
Although the fish is enormous by today’s standards, it probably would have been regular prey for the local whales.Is this a wild find?
4. The Shell Of A Giant Mammal Was Found Sticking Out Of A Riverbank In Argentina
While taking a walk on Christmas Day, Argentinian farmer Jose Antonio Nievas found what he thought was a dinosaur egg sticking out of a riverbank. Instead, the pebbly object turned out to be the nearly complete shell of a glyptodont, a giant mammal that no longer exists.
The glyptodont was similar to the modern armadillo but much larger, possibly weighing more than two tons. This prehistoric animal also had protective layers of bone on its head and a tail to defend against predators.Is this a wild find?