FOLLY BEACH, S.C. — An old shell found on a South Carolina beach four years ago has been identified as that of an ancient oyster never before found in the area.
The Post and Courier reports that College of Charleston paleontologist Robert Boessenecker deemed the shell found by Ashby Gale to belong to an ancient Ostrea coxi oyster. The newspaper says the ancient shellfish lived 3 to 5 million years ago and findings of their remnants have only been confirmed in Florida until now.
Gale has collected hundreds of the historic items since the initial discovery, which happened after a Folly Beach renourishment project stripped sand from a shoal several miles offshore. Boessenecker says similar fossils now litter the beach and can be collected by those who know what to look for.