If you “dig” fossil-hunting, thousands of beautiful examples can be found at the Devonian Fossil Gorge, north of Iowa City. The acre-and-a-half area was scoured during the floods of ’93, unveiling a rich collection of tiny creatures that lived in Iowa more than 300-million years ago. John Castle is general manager of Coralville Lake, which includes the Gorge. While the fossils in the gorge are common in Iowa, it’s -not- common to find so many of them in a large flat area, all from the same age. Castle says there are several types of creatures that can be found in the area. Trilobites resemble large pill bugs. Crinoids look like a plant with a stem and are kind of fern-like on top, but they’re animals. Also, brachiopods are shell creatures. There’s also lots of fossilized coral. Castle says, sorry, you won’t find any tyrannosaurus bones in Coralville. The Devonian period is about 365-million years ago, while the dinosaurs were around between 160 to 180-million years ago. The gorge is north of Iowa City on Dubuque Street, three miles from the Interstate 80 crossing. For details, go to “www.coralvillelake.org”. While it’s okay to unearth, pick up, look at and photograph the fossils, taking them away is punishable by a fine of up to 500-dollars.
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