AP bio students visit site of first-discovered tetrapod
By Brit Milazzo
Public relations, BASD
About 35 students from Advanced Placement biology class at Bellefonte Area High School had the chance this fall to visit the site where the first tetrapod was discovered in North America – Hyner, just about 45 miles north of Bellefonte in Clinton County.
Teacher Chris Freidhoff said the discovery was outlined in the book, “Your Inner Fish,” which was assigned to students to read this summer. The book assignment was required in order for students to join his class, in addition to filling out an AP application and going through an interview process.
“The book does a great job of sprinkling in evolution into areas where you wouldn't initially make the connection between life from millions of years ago and today,” he said. “The documentary about the book actually shows the exact location where we fossil hunted on that day.”
When his class first arrived on location, they met with paleontologist Doug Rowe who works at the Red Hill Fossil Site. Rowe is an expert on living things during the Devonian period reportedly spanning as far back as 419.2 million years ago.
“Students got to touch and hold some of the fossils at the field station and listen to Doug explain what were the major species that lived during that time period,” Freidhoff said. “We then drove back to the Red Hill Fossil Site where Doug gave us a presentation on how to hunt for fossils, then let my students fossil hunt for nearly three hours.”
Students used hammers, picks and chisels to chip away at the bedrock estimated to be formed 360 million years ago.