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Vertebrate Paleontology

Vertebrate Fossil Sites of Florida

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Vertebrate Fossil Sites of Florida


University of Florida Vertebrate Fossil Locality DE015

location of Peace River 3A fossil site

Location: in channel of Peace River about 1 mile northwest of Nocatee, DeSoto County, Florida; 27.2 N, 81.9 W.

Age: late Pleistocene Epoch; Rancholabrean Land Mammal Age. About 11,000 to 20,000 years old (estimated).

Basis of Age: vertebrate biochronology (presence of Bison antiquus, Canis dirus, Tremarctos floridanus, and Glyptotherium floridanum indicates a Rancholabrean age). Attempts to radiocarbon date the fossils failed due to lack of preserved collagen (this is often the case for Florida river fossils).

Geology: fossils derive from an unnamed deposit of alternating layers of gravel and sand. Entire deposit is about 150 feet (50 meters) long, 21 feet (7 meters) wide, and 4 feet (1.3 meters) thick. The top of the deposit is about 10 feet (3.3 meters) below the surface of the river. The Peace River 3A deposit rests on top of the eroded surface of the Peace River Formation, and contains reworked phosphate pebbles and Miocene fossils from the Peace River Formation.

Depositional Environment: river channel/alluvial.

Excavation History and Methods: Discovered by Andreas Kerner in 2000; excavated by Andreas Kerner, L. Jefferson-Kerner and R. Sinibaldi from 2000 to 2007. Representative specimens of all species recovered donated to the Florida Museum of Natural History. Matrix not screenwashed for microfossils. No grid system employed.

Comments: Although fossil vertebrates have been collected from the bed and banks of the Peace River since the late 1800s, most specimens derive from the surface or modern deposits and are a mix of Miocene, Pleistocene, historic, and modern ages. The Peace River 3A is one of the few Peace River sites collected from an in place Pleistocene deposit. Although it does contain a few reworked Miocene fossils, most notably a tooth of the three-toed horse Neohipparion trampasense, these are not likely to be mixed up with the Pleistocene fauna. Significant finds include one of the few very late Pleistocene records in Florida of the giant ground sloth (Eremotherium laurillardi) and the best known fossil example of the collared peccary (Pecari sp.) from the United States (Hulbert et al., 2009). Note that the locatity was orignally thought to lie within the section of the Peace River designated by the Florida Museum as Peace River 5, and was called the Peace River 5A locality in Hulbert et al. (2009). Consulations with the collector later determined that the site was actually within the Peace River 3 zone, so its name was changed to Peace River 3A.


Hulbert, R. C., G. S. Morgan, and A. Kerner. 2009. Collared peccary (Mammalia, Artiodactyla, Tayassuidae, Pecari) from the late Pleistocene of Florida; pp. 543-555 in L. B. Albright III (ed.), Papers on Geology, Vertebrate Paleontology, and Biostratigraphy in Honor of Michael O. Woodburne. Museum of Northern Arizona Bulletin 65. Flagstaff, Arizona.

Faunal List (†=extinct species; *=species no longer living in Florida)

Lepisosteus sp.

Apalone ferox
Pseudemys concinna
Pseudemys nelsoni
Terrapene carolina
Hesperotestudo crassiscutata
Alligator mississippiensis
Crotalus adamanteus

Anatidae, gen. & sp. indet.
Phalacrocorax auritus
Aramus guarauna
Meleagris gallopavo

Holmesina septentrionalis
Glyptotherium floridanum
Eremotherium laurillardi
Paramylodon harlani
Procyon lotor
Tremarctos floridanus
Canis dirus
*Panthera onca
Lynx rufus
Castoroides ohioensis
Neochoerus pinckneyi
Tapirus veroensis
*Equus sp.
Platygonus compressus
*Pecari sp.
Palaeolama mirifica
Hemiauchenia macrocephala
Bison antiquus
Odocoileus virginianus
Mammut americanum
Mammuthus columbi
Trichechus manatus

Author: Richard C. Hulbert Jr.; Original Date: January 28, 2009
Last Edited by: Richard C. Hulbert Jr.; Last up-dated On: October 16, 2013

This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number CSBR 1203222, Jonathan Bloch, Principal Investigator. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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