Have you ever walked in your backyard and wondered about what lies beneath your feet? Most of us have, at one time or another, dug a hole to plant a tree or shrub and come across an interesting-looking stone. We may have just tossed it aside and kept digging, or perhaps something about that stone made us take a second look. Who knows, it may have actually turned out to be a fossil.
In this issue, you can read about two discoveries of fossilized mastodon bones that happened in the Finger Lakes region during the 1990s. The first occurance was near Avon in 1991. Some excavating was being done near the 18th hole of the Farview Golf Course when a strange discovery was made. The size of the fossilized bones that were unearthed quickly caught the attention of local archaeologists.
The second find was in East Bloomfield in 1994. Again, excavating was being done in a wet area of private property. The couple who owned the property contacted paleontologist Dr. George McIntosh of the Rochester Museum and Science Center. “Mastodons are so big you can’t misidentify them,” said McIntosh.
These two finds of fossilized mastodon bones are fairly rare. There have been only 37 discoveries since 1922. This leads me to think that there is so much more yet to discover. Friends of mine own some property on the east side of Canandaigua Lake, and on the side of a ravine is an area where you can find fossils of many different kinds in small pieces of rock. I’m sure that it’s not uncommon to find other areas like this throughout the region.
Let me take this a step beyond finding fossils. The Finger Lakes region has potential for treasures of all kinds. That’s why I tell people, when they ask if I’m running out of subject matter for this magazine, that there are limitless stories all around us. People who live next door to you may have the most amazing stories to tell. The attic in the house across the street may have a unique antique that could command a great price at an auction. Maybe there are documents of historical significance stored in a basement nearby that could alter how we think of famous figures of the past.
No matter where we live, look beyond the obvious everyday sights and see what lies beneath. We may disocver a little Indiana Jones or George McIntosh in each of us.