My Economy

When finding fossils pays the bills

Sabri Ben-Achour and Bennett Purser Jul 14, 2020
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A secret fossil hunting location near Summerville, South Carolina. Sabri Ben-Achour/Marketplace
My Economy

When finding fossils pays the bills

Sabri Ben-Achour and Bennett Purser Jul 14, 2020
Heard on:
A secret fossil hunting location near Summerville, South Carolina. Sabri Ben-Achour/Marketplace
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Great white and hammerhead shark teeth. Whale and dolphin bones. These are just some of the fossils you can find in the rivers of South Carolina — if you know where to find them.

Schuyler Andrulat knows where to look. She is the co-owner of Palmetto Fossil Excursions, a business she started after a lifetime of fossil hunting in Summerville, South Carolina.

“My mom actually had me strapped onto her chest in a sling, walking down the beach looking for shark’s teeth when I was a kid,” she said.

Ancient finds from a tour with Palmetto Fossil Excursions. (Sabri Ben-Achour/Marketplace)

Last year, looking for a way to make some money, she started selling fossils and giving tours to people who wanted to dig their own. The business focuses on tourists and rarely locals.

“We typically don’t do tours for people that are from here unless we’ve done some extensive background research into who they are as a person,” Andrulat said.

With competition among local fossil hunters in the Summerville area, Andrulat keeps her favorite fossil sites a secret to prevent other locals from “pillaging” the area.

Schuyler Andrulat holds a megalodon fossil (Courtesy Andrulat).

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