We live most of our life on the mainland. Modern Florida has 8,500 miles of tidal shoreline. Our ancient story is interwoven with all that fabulous water.
The magic of that long ago time is found in the beautifully sculpted seashells. What a marvel of color and shape lived beneath those coastal inland seas!
The map shows the central crest of Florida as an island separated from the rest of North America by the Suwannee Strait. Above the tides, the age of mammals flowered with an amazing variety. Some of those animals came to the insular world of Florida.
About 25 million years ago, Florida was bumped north by the Caribbean plate to our south. That little bump caused Florida to bulge along the middle crest and to its west. Today we call the western bulge the Brooksville Crest. At the same time the southern Appalachian Mountains seemed to have grown too. That rise sent sand swirling down the rivers. The Suwannee Strait was filled with the sands flowing from the north.
Carcharodon megalodon sharks grew to fifty feet in length in those ancient oceans. They were the relative of the modern White shark. A student of paleontology, Brian Ridgway, believed he found evidence for the drama to the left in the what was known as the Toy Town landfill in North St. Petersburg. He found a partial skeleton of a whale with the teeth of this giant shark embedded in its ribs.
In truth, we may never know what Florida really looked like when the ancient seas covered much of it. Using the evidence available, I have drawn the map to the right. Right is an image of central Florida. The islands sticking out on the left will form Tampa Bay. We are looking for a site, a little south, in what is now northeast Sarasota.