Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Divers in Florida sinkholes have made astonishing discoveries of evidence of prehistoric life. Bones of mastodons, camels, giant ground sloths, saber tooth tigers, and other creatures of the Ice Age litter the bottom of North Florida sinks. Some older sink holes that have been filled in are discovered during construction activities and yield important fossils. The most famous such site in Florida is the eighteen million year old Thomas Farm Bone Bed in Gilchrist County. Fossils attest to the ancient age of the sinks and wildlife that roamed prehistoric Florida, but new bones are still being added as new sinkholes appear. A sinkhole can form abruptly when the roof of an underground cavern collapses. Any animal on the surface at the time may find itself trapped in a 100 foot-deep steep-sided hole from which escape is impossible. The bones of victims are often preserved from normal decay by the high mineral content of the water at the bottom. Sink holes remain as natural pitfall traps, capturing the unwary and preserving a continuing record of life in the region.
'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.