Home Page of Edward Otte,       Amateur Paleontologist.
Welcome to my Home Page! This Web Page is dedicated to one of my great loves, paleontology. I live in the Northeast and frequent many fossil  collecting sites within a few hours of the New York Metropolitan area. Surprisingly,  there are many world class localities in New Jersey. It was here that    American Paleontology was born with the discovery of the first partial  skeleton of a duckbilled dinosaur called Hadrosaurus folkii. Although New Jersey is one of the smallest states in the union, it is one of the biggest in the history, and significance in the field of Paleontology.   In spite of its small size, it has a vast array of diverse and complex  geological landform features. Many of these regions are very fossiliferous.   But it is the Coastal Plains Region that stands out among all of the New Jersey  landform regions because of its long geological history and rich fossil record. This region offers many premier fossil-collecting localities.   Perhaps the best of the best is that of  Big Brook a small tributary of the Swimming River.

Big Brook, Marlboro and Colts Neck Townships
Mosasaurus ;Clidastes; conodon (after Russell) Hadrosaurus minor (artistic reconstruction)
The Big Brook, Marlboro, NJ
The Big Brook locality is a typical Monmouth County stream that cuts deeply  into the rolling topography of Central New Jersey. These cuts expose several  formations of the late Cretaceous age. The main fossil bearing formation is that  of the Mount Laurel/Wenonah undifferentiated (for more on the geology of Big Brook got to the Geology Web Page.) It is a near shore marine deposit  traditionally dated to about 70 million years ago. Although it is a full saline  marine deposit it does also include elements of the terrestrial nature,  including dinosaur remains. One of the most significant finds here was an  isolated dinosaur find of an ankylosaur dinosaur called Nodosaur. It is  significant because it was the first one ever found in the entire Eastern United  States establishing this dinosaur's presence in this part of the world during  the late Cretaceous..
Go to the Big  Brook Web Page.

Sayreville Amber Pits
(Cretaceous Park)
A close ancestor of the mosquito, photo Mel Pollinger White Oaks; Sand Pit, Sayreville, NJ. Male nonbiting midge.
In the 1990's the Amber pits in Sayreville turned out to be one  of the biggest surprises to paleoentomologist . It was found  that some of the world's oldest insects in amber were being found in fairly  large quantities (over 500 pounds were recovered by the American Museum of Natural History alone.); Many new to science species were recovered, mostly by amateur  paleontologists. The formation exposed here is called the Raritan and is  estimated to be around 95 million years old. The pit shown above was mined for  sand and clay commercially and the original grade was about 75 to 100 feet above  the present level. A thin but productive lignite layer running roughly down the  center of this pit was found to be rich in many significant specimens. Sadly,  little remains..
Go to the New Jersey Amber Page

Other North Jersey PaleoWorld Links:
Big Brook Identification Web Page,
(find identifications to all your Big Brook finds here.)
New Jersey Amber Identification Web Page
(find identifications to your Sayreville insects here.)

Check out the NEW  meeting place and discussion area  for current and topical paleontology of the New Jersey.
North  Jersey PaleoWorld Bulletin Board

Museum and other Web Page Links:
Steve   Kurth's Fossils of New Jersey
New  Jersey State Museum
Hadrosaurus  folkii-World's first dinosaur skeleton
The Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia
Hadrosaur  monograph skeletal mount plates.
The American  Museum of Natural History

Unless otherwise noted all specimens collected and photographed by Edward Otte and/or Derek Yoost.
All artwork by Penny and Edward Otte.
Email  Us
This many creatures
have left their tracks
on this site
since Jan. 10 2002