From Ben Raines: Ancient sand dollars spill from the banks of the Alabama River, hinting at a watery past

35 million year old sand dollars spill from the river bank along the Alabama River near Perdue Hill and the Claiborne Dam. The area is famous for its fossils, with oysters, cockles and other sea creatures frozen in time along the river. (Ben Raines/Al.com)
Ancient sand dollars spill from the banks of the Alabama River, hinting at a watery past | al.com: The presence of the oysters and sand dollars so far from the present day coastline has helped scientists understand the dramatic changes in sea level, dating back millions of years.

Forty million years ago, most of Florida, and much of Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia and Texas were underwater, submerged under an ancient version of the Gulf of Mexico. With bluffs along the river south of the Claiborne Dam reaching up 200 feet, Rindsberg said fossils from many ancient eras can be found.

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