Fossils of the Peace River

The Peace River in Florida is appropriately named, and if you've ever been there, you'd know why. The river meanders serenely through sparsely populated areas of the state. Most of the land along the river is uninhabited and far from the noise of any city. It's possible to spend the whole day without seeing another person. Wildlife is abundant, and the river's banks are lined with cypress, live oak, and willow.

The Peace River is unique in other ways. It contains a wealth of fossils. The river cuts through the Bone Valley Formation and contains fossils dating from the late Miocene to the Pleistocene (approximately 5 million to 10,000 years old). The Bone Valley Formation is an example of a thanatocoenosis, which in Latin means "death assemblage." In other words, the bones were mixed together by erosional forces after the animals' death. Shark and dugong bones are found next to horse and mastodon bones.

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