Hamburg, NY –
Penn Dixie’s signature fossil dig — Dig with the Experts — is set to be the biggest yet, says Penn Dixie Executive Director Phil Stokes, PhD. “We’ve received nearly 100 pre-registrations, and the program is still a month away,” he adds. The annual dig attracts fossil hunters from around the country. “So far, most registrants are not from Buffalo,” Stokes explained. “We are thrilled to host so many out-of-town visitors in Hamburg.”
Members of the Cincinnati Dry Dredgers paleontology group will be among those traveling to Penn Dixie to dig. Dan Cooper, who will lead the excavations, is enthusiastic about this year’s prospects. “We’re going to open the biggest hole yet,” Cooper declared.
The dig, which will be held from 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday May 21, allows paleontologists — both amateur and professional — to examine freshly excavated rocks from several feet below Penn Dixie’s surface. The rocks will be placed on piles around the quarry and participants will have the opportunity to dig through the previously buried layers. Though the dig will focus on trilobites, brachiopods, cephalopods, and other Devonian Period fossils, unexpected and rare specimens are occasionally unearthed as well.
Dig participants are welcome to bring rock hammers, chisels, pry bars, gloves, and safety googles. Additionally, Penn Dixie recommends that participants prepare for all weather by packing rain gear, sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water. To preserve their finds, Penn Dixie recommends that diggers wrap their fossils in newspaper or bubble wrap.
For those seeking a double dose of paleontology, Penn Dixie will host a talk by award-winning paleontologist ‘Paleo’ Joe Kchodl on the preceding evening. The talk, titled ‘Fossil Fish of the Lost Lake, Wyoming,’ will tell the tale of the catastrophic extinction preserved in fish fossils from the Green River Formation in southwestern Wyoming. Kchodl’s talk will be held at 7 pm on Friday May 20 in the Gateway Building Auditorium at 3556 Lakeshore Road in Blasdell.
Admission to Dig with the Experts is $30 for the public and $25 for Penn Dixie members. Admission to the paleontology talk is $5 for the public and free for Penn Dixie members.