Texas park lets visitors dig for 300-million-year-old fossils and keep them

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By Mary Claire Patton - Digital Content Curator
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Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce

SAN ANTONIO - You can dig for 300-million-year-old fossils at Mineral Wells Fossil Park and keep what you find, and it’s all totally free.

The park is open daily from dawn to dusk and draws visitors from all over the country.

"One of the most interesting things found in the Mineral Wells Fossil Park has been shark's teeth. Sharks of the Pennsylvanian Era were different from today's sharks, as they were plant eaters and their teeth were blunt, not sharp as you'd expect. They are rare finds, but they have been found,” park representative Ninfa Flewitt said.

Flewitt also mentioned trilobites, or water bugs, which she explained can sometimes be found mostly intact.

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Twenty years of erosion at the city of Mineral Wells landfill borrow pit led to the revelation of fossils at the site.

The Dallas Paleontological Society, the city of Mineral Wells and the Mineral Wells Area Chamber of Commerce led a joint effort to create the park.

Fossils documenting ancient sea species of crinoids (sea lilies), echinoids (urchins), brachiopods, pelecypods (clams and oysters), bryozoans, corals, trilobites (arthropods), plants and even primitive sharks can be found at the site, according to the park’s website.

View photos of Mineral Wells Fossil Park:

Mineral Wells Fossil Park is one of very few parks in the U.S. where visitors can keep their finds.

Fossil hunters are encouraged to bring small, zip-close bags to hold their fossils and knee pads if they plan on crawling around.

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Time to get out your shovels! Check it out below:

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