The University of Texas at Austin Texas Natural Science Center Non-vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory

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Where do you find fossils?

*You must have the land owner's permission before digging up or removing anything.

Fossils are often found where rock surfaces are being freshly eroded. Creek beds, road cuts, quarries, are all potential fossil sites...if the exposed rocks are sedimentary.

Always be aware of your surroundings. Some creeks are prone to flash floods. Busy highways with narrow shoulders are not ideal locations for collecting.

How can you help to preserve the fossils of Texas?

Observe some simple rules if you want to collect your own fossils:

Fossils are the property of the land owner. Always get the land owner's permission before collecting.

If you find unusual fossils, ask an expert to identify them; they may be scientifically important.

Collect with care. Fossils can be very fragile, and rock exposures may be unstable.

Always label your specimens with their provenance.


creek beds often expose layers of rock

bridge and roadcut construction often expose rock layers


Frequently used abbreviations: NPL  Non-vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory | TNSC Texas Natural Science Center | UTDGS Department of Geological Sciences | BEG  Bureau of Economic Geology | VPL Vertebrate Paleontology Laboratory | JSG  Jackson School of Geosciences | SUPPORT | VOLUNTEER | GLOSSARY

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