I never dreamed it would be that easy.
Rick Brenneman, church member and scientist, collects fossils. He has an entire room full at his house. I told him I wanted to go with him sometime, and he invited me to go yesterday.
He and Felix picked me up early, and we drove to Griswold, Iowa to the East Nishnabotna River. Rick had warned me to wear clothes and shoes that could get wet and muddy, as we'd be walking through the river. And to bring along a backpack to store things I found and to carry them out.
As we began I would turn rocks over and look carefully at various things. More than once I'd carry something over to Rick and ask, "Is this something." He would very patiently say "No."
Then when we started finding things, it was so obvious that I felt stupid for having asked. When a leg bone or a vertebrae is sticking up out of a sandbar, you don't need to ask, "Is this something?" There was one sandbar where we wouldn't walk five feet without one of us finding something.
I came away with various leg and rib bones and some vertebrae. My favourite bone was a verterbrae from an ancient bison hump. The strangest find was a bone that Rick thought was a knuckle bone and surmised that it might be of a giant sloth, though he wasn't sure.
He said I had the find if the day, when I located this jawbone of a large horse that Rick guessed was Ice Age era. He thought all the bones were at least 10,000 years old and some maybe as old as 20,000.
I never knew this would be so easy or so fun.