California Fedeation of Mineralogical Societies
Field Trip to Ant Hill
March 21, 2009

by Adam Dean and Shep Koss
CFMS Field Trip South Co-Chairs - 2008, 2009

Photos from Sal, Mitty Scarpato

Ant Hill
Ant Hill

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Ant Hill

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Ant Hill

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Jeff Miller, Sharktooth

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Sal, Mitty Scarpato

CFMS Ant Hill Field Trip Report

Hosted by the Conejo Valley Gem & Mineral Club
with Bob Sankovich in cooperation with CFMS

Hi Hounders!
WOW! What a turnout! I didn't know so many of you were interested in fossils. Ninety people signed in for this trip to the Miocene marine fossil beds outside of Bakersfield. They came from one end of California to the other and a few from Nevada. After orientation, waiver sign in and precaution speeches we broke off to begin our uphill hike to the fossil trenches on two hillsides. The day was partly cloudy and mild, a great day for digging and sifting.

In spite of a 5-6 foot long Northern Pacific rattlesnake basking in the sun while coiled in one of the trenches, everyone I saw was having fun and finding bones and teeth from a wide variety of extinct Mako sharks and 6-gilled cow shark including a very large tooth from a Big Tooth Mako at least 3 inches in length. I swore I heard the theme from "JAWS" echoing through the hills. Many more people found teeth from the Hook Tooth Mako (found now only in this one area of the world). Other teeth that I saw found were from seals, porpoises, and rays. Some finds I couldn't identify. Among the bones found were whale and fish vertebrae, ribs, clavicles and a nice 2 inch finger bone in excellent shape from the flipper of a whale or sea line. Yes, a very productive day.

Thankfully, this isn't government land with its fossil regulations but real estate land still open, for now to recreation, collecting and livestock grazing. The downside is this area is slated for homes, mini malls and gas stations. Thus, will close one of the richest Miocene marine fossil beds in the world. A sign of the times.

Shep Koss CFMS Field Trip South co-chair

What a great turnout. I took my grandsons and they had a blast. Their names are Nathan and Timmy and they found a rattlesnake along with a lot of bone and teeth. They didn't mind all the digging and with help from Scott and Family, Shep, and a couple of wonderful ladies, they found lots of teeth and learned where and how to dig proper. My boys loved it so much they want to join the club and go hounding with me. Thanks to all of you for a very special day.

Hi Shep,
Thank you very much for hosting the dig at Ant Hill. Carol and I had a great time and hope to go back again perhaps with our kids. We found a few shark teeth and some bones which were very interesting. Attached is a picture of what I am pretty sure are vertebrae. They were all in a close line of concretions. At the end of the line was a larger concretion that may be a head/skull. It was exciting to find it though I am not sure what it really is. If it is a skull it seems a bit small given the size of the vertebrae. What do you think? I am reluctant to chip any thing off of it and would welcome any suggestions you have. Also, do you have any suggestions on how best to preserve the bones to keep them from shattering or falling apart over time?
Great Thanks!

Hello Shep,
This Anthill field trip turned out great. There was plenty of room for everybody and fossils too. The weather was great and the wild flowers were an added attraction. I was nice to be with a big group to see that the sharks teeth were plentiful for each to find some. Plus, the guy next to me pulled out one of the largest mako shark teeth I have ever seen. I missed getting a picture of it, but have posted my pictures here for others to see and even add heir's to the album too.
From: rocknspector

From: Kim Noyes
I invite everybody to check out my blog of Saturday's field trip to Ant Hill near Bakersfield here:

Adam Dean
The Agate Hunter
O.B.M.S. Federation Director
C.F.M.S. Co/Chair Field Trip Southern CA
(909) 489-4899