28 million-year-old fossils found in Mississippi

WAYNESBORO, MS (WDAM) - Two Mississippi men have discovered 25 - 28 million-year-old fossils in Wayne County.

"We're fossil rich here," said fossil hunter Roger Rains. "We're sitting on a treasure trove of knowledge and education for the rest of the world not just the state or the country."

It all began December 2012 when Weller and Rains went to an undisclosed location to look for arrowheads. Instead they found what has now been identified as a rhino tooth.

"I posted it on Facebook and George Phillips seen it and then he contacted me and told me how important it was," said fossil hunter Andy Weller.

According to Mississippi Museum of Natural Science Paleontology Curator George Phillips, the two men had found fossils from terrestrial mammals that belonged to what is known as the Oligocene Epoch era.

"This is the first time such things have been found in Mississippi," said Phillips. 

Phillips said the two men have found fossils from a dozen and a half early mammals.

"The next time we would go down there we would pull out a pig tooth and then the next time it would be a type of a dear and it just went on and on and on," said Weller. 

Weller and Rains have kept most of the fossils they've found, they've donated several pieces and also have some of them displayed at different museums and universities around the country.

"They have been very helpful with the scientific research providing specimen for study," said Phillips. 

"No machinery, a lot of hard work, back breaking work and it's well worth it," said Rains.

The two men said they will continue finding fossils and hope to bring something positive to the community.

"We just want something good to come to Waynesboro and you know try to get a museum going in the future," said Weller.

Approximately four years ago, Weller also found fossils in Shabuta, which he said belongs to the Eocene era. Some of the shark teeth he discovered are 45 – 50 million-years-old.

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