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the pterosaurs saw what happened that day
a second Sun dropped from the sky
the pressure wave blasted those closest to haze
and wafted their ashes on high
then hundreds more pterosaurs lifeless and torn
took flight in a terrible dance
broken umbrellas tossed far by the storm
untethered kites left to mischance
thousands of pterosaurs fell like dead leaves
caught up in sudden tumultuous seas
waves smashed the pterosaurs huddled on land
waves buried eggs under layers of sand
the dark with mercy tried to hide these ravages in night
receding waters banked the once majestic bodies high
and now at last as all the worlds great forests come alight
they are transformed
as cinders reborn
they take their final flight
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Location: Eden Delta, Earth 2.
Upon the plains of the terraformed planet, a massive animal roamed. Spinosaurus. It ignored the herd of Deinotherium nearby, as their skin would be too thick to penetrate. Instead, it was heading towards the river. As soon as it got there, it noticed a group of Andrewsarchus nearby. It decided that it would kill these, as they would provide competition for food.
The dinosaur ran towards the small group, and quickly charged at the oldest male, throwing it against a rock. This killed it instantly. However, the 2 adult females attacked the male spinosaur's leg, but the giant just kicked them aside as if they were stones. One blow from the claws made short work of them. He then headed towards the young Andrewsarchus, and managed to swallow those whole.
Earth 2 is a terraformed planet I made up. It is basically a terraformed planet where most extinct species of the Phanerozoic live. Different creatures have different niches in different places, so competition between groups is greatly reduced.
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I just filmed and posted a new youtube video. I would love to hear what you guys think about it !
Started out visiting 18 mile creek in Hamburg. Found quite a few braciopods. Shale was quite slippery and could not make it to the lake. Site is promising for dryer weather and waders. Headed over to Penn Dixie. The trilobite bed is covered with overburden as the site is not ready for the season. Picked through lots of weathered shale and found tons of horn coral , some partial phacops, lots of brachiopods, and a couple enrolled phacops. My wife took the day with her find. I think its a greenops, but not 100 % sure. Whole greenops are rare at this site. Will start prepping and photographing specimens during the week.
Milky Way Galaxy
25,000 years ago
A spiral galaxy, one of the billions of islands of stars moving across the dark matter that is known as the universe, it rotates like a huge galactic wheel, pulling countless stars within its titanic gravitational pull. This particular galaxy is known as the Milky Way, 100,000 light-years across and 1,000 light-years thick. Like a grain of sand pulled by an ocean current, an asteroid races through the galaxy. The asteroid measures nearly seven miles in diameter, and has been moving through the galaxy since the dawn of time, passing planets and other asteroids. It is now on a collision course with a medium sized planet. The planet is still millions of miles away, but the asteroid is approaching quickly. The planet is warm and tropical, and also has an abundant source of water, oxygen, and life. The asteroid hurdles towards Earth, nothing can stop it. When it impacts, it will cause world-wide destruction and chaos. The countdown to extinction has begun.
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I was surfing the web recently and came across a site whose members collect rocks that have faces in them. Here is a quick link to it… http://www.cst.cmich.edu/users/dietr1rv/mimetoliths/ It’s interesting to me. I turned to my wife and told her, “Wow, I’m gonna have to keep my eyes open for rocks like these and start collecting them!” Well, to put it bluntly, she puts up with my collecting, if I keep them picked up and don’t wash to much mud down her kitchen sink while scrubbing that latest fossil find or those most recent quartz crystals i found, ..... with her toothbrush… but she laughed and nodded in agreement, knowing full well that soon she would start seeing average looking, run of the mill, unimpressive rocks piling up that only a sun beaten, weary and bleary eyed rock and fossil hound, after hours of searching, can see the elusive and mysterious image of ‘Jimi Hendrix’ in one of them and the shadowy profile of ’Mother Theresa’ in another! “What’s that? Where’s ‘Jimi’ you ask? Hmm, right here…if you turn it just right….uh…Well honey, it looked like ‘Jimi Hendrix’ at the time or I wouldn’t have brought it home! I swear! It must have been the way the sun was shining on it!” Anyway, what I am getting to is this, most folks just don’t understand my desire to collect rocks and fossils. Well actually it’s an obsession! I mean, I even had an online roleplaying character named “Eclo Stonehoarder” I can’t explain it exactly, and maybe you can relate in some way! It’s just the way I am and the way I’ve always been. To attempt a better explanation, I wrote this poem about it.
(This actually happened to me not so long ago!)
While strolling with a friend one day,
I spied a glimmer bright.
It shone like diamond in the sun,
reflecting all that light!
I bent down close and got a look,
a wonder to behold.
I gently picked it up to see,
the story to be told!
I turned it round, and round again,
while feeling every face.
Each one so smooth and polished slick,
it took me to that place!
A place a million years ago,
when Earth was just a child.
A place devoid of human things,
just raw and wet and wild!
The time this jewel has spent on Earth,
my mind can barely think.
Yet to this gem upon my hand,
’twas nothing but a blink!
Amazed and full of wonder at
the beauty of this Earth.
The things it has created
since the moment of it’s birth!
I marvel at the symmetry,
the artistry and grace.
I hold it up to show my friend,
I hold it to his face!
“Just look”, I say, “It’s beautiful”,
and to my utter shock.
He only shrugged and said to me,
“It’s just another rock!”
Well, needless to say, that floored me. I really didn’t know how to respond so I said nothing but I thought to myself, ”Just another rock? Really? Thats what you think? “Just another rock?” Oh how sad it must be to sleepwalk through life and never appreciate the natural beauty of all of Earths wonders and what inhabited this Earth long before us! I’ve since had time to think about it a bit and I wrote a second part to the poem that says what I should have said that day. It goes like this…
Contraire my friend, this here is quartz,
not just another stone.
Theres minerals and sediments,
theres igneous and bone!
Each one unique and on it’s own
it holds a mystery.
It tells a tale of life on Earth,
it’s part of history!
We study them, we covet them,
we trade some just like money.
With Diamonds, Sapphires, Rubies,
and Amber gold as honey!
Theres fossils, corals, limestone cliffs,
A grain of sand that wind can move,
or one, a million pounds!
If you my friend are blind to this,
theres nothing I can say
to make you stop and look at things
in quite a different way.
One day both you and I won’t walk,
upon this Earthen block.
A million years will pass and you’ll be,
“Just another rock!”
Poetry composed by KehBe
Here are the top common species and counts at WB, as per Emerson's book.
- Coral - Turbinolia pharetra 1000 (common, ranges from 5mm and up)
- Bivalve - Anomia lisbonensis 1000 (fairly large)
- Bivalve - Barbatia (Barbatia) uxorispalmeri 1000
- Bivalve - Notocorbula texana 1000
- Gastropod - Latirus moorei 1000
- Gastropod - Polinices aratus 600 (very common snail, as a Naticid, drills holes in prey)
- Bivalve - Vokesula smithvillensis petropolitana 500
- Gastropod - Buccitriton texanum 500 (very common snail, and a predatory hole driller)
- Gastropod - Hesperiturris nodocarinatus 500
- Bivalve - Pachecoa (Pachecoa) sabinica 308
- Gastropod - Buccitriton sagenum 300 (predatory snail drills holes)
- Gastropod - Turritella nasuta 300 (oddly, a filter feeder)
- Bryozoa - Lunelites bouei 253
- Bryozoa - Schizorthosecos interstitia 253
- Gastropod - Mesalia claibornensis 250
- Gastropod - Protosurcula gabbii 250
- Scaphopoda - Dentalium (Antalis) minutistriatum 244
- Gastropod - Michela trabeatoides 240
- Gastropod - Pseudoliva vetusta CONRAD FORMA 232
- Bivalve - Vokesula smithvillensis smithvillensis 200
- Gastropod - Bonellitia parilis 200
And with additional information added:
Emerson's book provides info on the number of specimens in his collection. The rarest species, of which there are many, are represented by only one specimen. The more common specimens range from a few to an unspecified, large number.
Most of the time, he provides an exact count. Example: 232. Often, he provides a minimum value, such as 250, meaning that there were at least 250 specimens in the collection. Other times, he omits a number, but states the species is very common. These latter specimens are noted above as the number 1000.
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Alright, in 2003 it was the second year of my dad and my trip to big brook. this time, we brought my older sister and her friend. we dug in the pit for hours (they sat on logs, how helpful ) we found a decent amount. suddenly, my dad finds a fish tooth (now remembering it was probably a good puny goblin). he gave it to the girls to look at. u wont believe it. THEY DROPPED IT! my dad was so ##### and dug desperatly in the spot of the brook were the tooth was dropped. in the first sift, we didnt find the tooth, but he says things not allowed to be said on this forum without my account being banned! in his hand, he held a tooth 1.5 in down and 1in across, fully complete with two HUGE cusps and all enamel and root. So he thanked my sister and stupid friend. i guess bad luck makes good fortune. i will get pics later, but it looks like an otodus or a goblin that is hugenous.
It's been 3 months since the secret PABLI was assembled. They are currently still recruiting members.
Charles Darwin scratched his head. "A message for you, father." says Darwin's daughter. "Oh, another one of those scrabbled hate messages, I suppose." "Oh no father, not at all. This time it's completely different. Please, take a look." his daughter said as she handed him a message with a golden stamp in the back. Darwin tilted his head with a frown, and flipped the message open. folded neatly inside, was a message written in cursive from something called "PABLI".
Dear Sir Darwin,
It's a great pleasure to meet you. I am Jameson C. Rowley, the president of the secret PABLI group, consisting of top evolutionists, paleontologists, anthropologists and biologists. I have read your newly published book, titled "On The Origin Of Species". Marvelous content. Despite the number of people who abuse your view of creation, we think it's the work of a god. We would be jubilant to have you be a member of our society. Please reply this message as soon as you can, for we have a very serious matter to discuss. It would be great if you can come the day after tomorrow in London, Pennington Square, Block #24. Thank you for your time, and I sincerely hope you can come.
Jameson C. Rowley
President of PABLI
Darwin looked at the letter for another minute or so, then set it down and rubbed his eyes. "My dear, can you please fetch me a piece of paper, an envelope and a pen?" "Yes, father." within a minute, Darwin started writing back.
"Dear Sir Rowley,
It's great to hear a few praises for my hard work. I am more than happy to join the secret PABLI society. As for the visit, I will be there. May I ask, what's the big hurry? (the letter continues)"
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Charles Darwin with his elegant theory,
Met the burden of proof with those sneery,
One-hundred-fifty years later,
There is no idea greater,
In advance he would have felt cheery !!
Trilobites appeared with complexity,
Still viewed to this day with perplexity,
They are fun at this forum,
And deserve our decorum,
Tens of thousands of species collectively !!
Tiktaalik arose from the sea,
Stood so tall spectacularly,
Fins like our hands,
To conquer the lands,
A fantastical family tree !!
While Ida was swinging in trees,
Never thought of being marquee,
Now hotly debated,
The evidence weighted,
Awaiting her next show for TeeVee !!
Fossil shark teeth are quite the rage,
From Paleozoic to Pleistocene Age,
The forms are so graceful,
This forum is faithful,
All others are always upstaged !!
T.rex had a monstrous bite,
Gave all the Trikes a big fright,
Although taking a horn,
Would be quite a thorn,
Like any smart bird he took flight !!
Fossil limericks are always such fun,
No way I would only make one,
A vast inventory,
Treasures mined in a quarry,
The magnificent tales are all spun !!
That's right, I'm back. I'm sorry I didn't update as much as I should have. I was very busy with exams and essays (but it paid off, I made the Dean's List woo!) and then on break I just wanted to chillax and never write again.
So... where did we leave off?
I went on a field trip with my class to Portland Point. It was very rewarding. I found tons of brachiopods and some crinoid and trilobite material. My finds include a small, orange colored crinoid, and a near complete trilobite that's partially rolled. I wish I could include pictures but the fossils are currently at home.
The internship continued as usual no new developments really, and I got an A in my fossil prep class. I wish I could go back and continue working on the fish but the prep lab is closed because it will be renovated starting February.
So where does that leave me? I received an offer from the Volunteer Coordinator to serve as an intern to the Museum Operations and Programs Coordinator. In this job I would serve as a tour guide as well as assist the Coordinator in organizing programs and events. I accepted because I feel that I would gain more experience than just doing busy work in collections which is important because I am considering working at a museum in the future. And, I can still appreciate the museum's specimens as a docent. I will still update the blog with fun facts I learn from tour guide training and with my experiences serving as an intern. I have found out how to get college credit for the internship so although it's too late to get credit for last semester, this semester I can focus more on my internship by not taking as many classes.
I'm already thinking about summer and whereI should work. I found a dream job out west for which I am adequately qualified but it's way too far away for my first summer in college. There's always next year! Instead, I am hoping to work at my local conservation center and museum but I would need to find and apply for a grant to get paid. I can't survive sophomore year unless I get a summer job! If all else fails, I can be a camp counselor again. Fun, but not relevant to my scientific interests.
This semester I am taking Evolution and Diversity, Ecology and the Environment, Evolution of the Earth and Life, and Statistics.
I'm sorry I left unannounced! I'll try not to let it happen again. I start next week
As many say, good things come to those who wait. Well, fruition at last!
While working for an elderly couple last Saturday, cleaning up various parts of the lawn for cash, I learned that this couple once traveled the world, collecting fossils and stones along the way. The next day at church, I was greeted with a very pleasant surprise, a slab of rock literally overflowing with crinoid stems!
While many may say that it isn't that big of a deal, as an amatuer fossil hunter, and one with no luck to his name, it was a great thrill to see so many wonderfully preserved fossils (see pictures in album, beware, pictures are blurry as I was forced to use the computer webcam.)
And yet another surprise, the more I worked, the more fossils I will be able to have, including shark teeth. Which is always a great motivator!
And on another note, while working on a science fair project for my chemistry class, I created a project on the most efficent way of preparing fossils using household items. The judges seemed very impressed by the rarity of such a project and how well it was done, and by the more amazing ways of cleaning fossils. I hope to see great results tomorrow.
Overall, it's been a very good week.
well i just got back from the museum and got lotsa stuff all invertabrates except some shark teeth. it was a great time, though i didnt have time to see all the galleries..well here are some pictures,
first the museum
now the fossils
bryozoans and corals
crinoid stem peice
and then some shark teeth-i think its 3 tigers and 1 bull
I was at work in Newport RI this morning..surfing ..not working.....found this site..since I grew up in Newindsor NY, Mysef and close friends hunted and explored on foot a 50 mile radius from ages 10 to 17. I was always the amature geologist & fossile hunter. I made one discovery 25 30 years ago, I never knew who to tell...maby you.
While hunting off RT218 in Cornwall walking all day..which I hunted since 10....most of my hunting turned in exploring the mountain sides and tops between Cornwall & West Point, finding insignificint primative sites a stray arrow head..yadayada..
So after morning hunting I took about a 5 or 6 hour stroll/climb to the very top on one those mount tops (not Butterhill). At the top there was a large "bear stone table top" flat area...couple hundred yards square....with vegetation clumps & grassy patches across & interspursed. There was a set of tracks depressed in the stone for at least 50 to maby 150 feet or more before dissapearing under the earthin cover...they ran in a line under the grassy patches and re emerged on each side of the large patch work of grassy spots. I saw and walked with 20 -30 consistant "walking" tracks.
Long time ago..no camera, I went back with a camera few years back but only had couple hours to look and didn't find the spot...Probebly need a weekend to find it again..maby google earth??? Maby not..
The impressions were about a foot long, 2- 4 inches deep, about three inches wide at "heel" widened to 7-9 or 10 inchea at "toe end", some puddled with water, the track strides were three or five feet distance right track to right track, about four feet separated right track form left track, as I recall. Sadly I dont remember the tracks as the traditional V shape, but more oblong depressions & wider at front. Duck like...
Not sure if this is of interest to anyone, but I love the Hudson Valley, so here's some eyewitness lore that maby no one knows about.
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After picking up a rather interesting amber-in-matrix specimen, I decided to look into the geological history surrounding the deposition of Dominican Amber.
Mentally I had always pictured Dominican amber forming as sap oozed out of trees and deposited on the forest floor; resulting in burial in forest detritus.
The more interesting reality is that the ooze from the Hymenaea tree would get washed out to coastal sedimentary basins; such as coastal lagoons. Here the sap would settle and get fossilized into amber in siltstone. This is why large masses of amber, as can be seen in the picture, are present all as one layer while the rest of the rock is all siltstone; large storm events would wash the ooze out.
Usually the miners of this material remove the amber for easy transportation, which makes matrix pieces hard to come by. Rarely are pieces big enough to see the depositional layering effect.
June 5, 2010
Barry held his camera barely two feet away from the back of an Agkistrodon piscivorus. Although a small snake, it was still very dangerous and he positioned his camera based on years of experience with these reptiles. Known more commonly as a Cottonmouth or Water Moccasin, the twelve inch juvenile snake had coloration similar to the closely related Copperhead. However, its patterns were muted by late afternoon shadows in a remote location that was not favorable to an easy medical evacuation. So, we slowly moved away and eased our paddles back in the water to complete an adventure which began long before daylight.
Almost twelve hours earlier my friend and I had packed our gear, food, and water into my eighteen foot canoe. Soon after, our paddles fell into a synchronous rhythm that allowed us to quietly experience an aquatic wilderness. We were searching in Texas - hunting in alluvial debris and Pleistocene terraces for the slightest hint of extinct creatures.
Our unrushed pace allowed us the time to get a feel for the local geology. Occasionally, groundwater from the surrounding area made its way to the base of the Pleistocene gravels and created springs which emerged just above older impermeable shale. The cool water supported rich vegetation that resisted the summer sun. It was also a visual key to the strata we were trying to find.
A little later, we found an area where the gravel spilled onto a ledge just above the water. Almost immediately I spotted a gravel encrusted bone fragment. I looked over to see Barry higher up on the river terrace. Still scanning the area, I hollered, “Hey, I found some mineralized bone over here. Uhhh…wait, here’s another one.” I noticed the second piece was gnarly and pitted while Barry made his way down to inspect my finds.
“What do you think of the encrusted bone?” I asked. He replied, “Not sure; but there’s no doubt it’s old. Which bone do you think it is?”
I tried to imagine the fossil without the encrusting gravel, “Looks like it could be the ‘joint’ end of a scapula…I’m not sure about the second one, though.”
Before and after cleaning – proximal scapula & unknown fragment
I headed back to the canoe to pack away my finds while Barry searched further down the ledge. It wasn’t long before he yelled he had found more bone, and after I paddled the boat over to him, he grinned and asked me to find the camouflaged fossil. The fragment was difficult to spot amid the varied textures of rock and silt. We were off to a good start.
Barry's mineralized bone fragment
In Texas, June temperatures can quickly reach the upper 90’s. We maintained a regular fluid intake and an occasional soak in the water. Proper hydration and cooling were essential for us to enjoy an amazing adventure versus a headache pounding endurance test. Since we still had more than a dozen miles to travel, the hot conditions could not be ignored.
A few miles later a short rocky ledge barely emerged from the water. It looked like a good spot to check and take a break. What I really did not expect was to step a few feet from the boat and see a broken stone dart point. I looked at it with a little skepticism; the area seemed like a place fisherman would use to access the water and I wondered if someone had passed the time trying to replicate an ancient weapon. But the patina on a few nearby flakes confirmed the find was old.
Barry searched the rocky debris fan on the downstream end of the ledge. I let him know to keep an eye out for more than bone and kept scanning the ground. Before me was an area the size of two cars where the water had peeled away part of an upper bank which had slipped into the water. I stopped. There, in the gravel and weeds, were more flakes…and another dart point! As I reached for my camera, I saw another broken point by my knee…a cool moment. Then things started to get comical - in an amazing sort of way - because as I took the photo of the first point, I spotted a third one just beyond it…an incredible moment!
Still kneeling in the same spot, I yelled to Barry, “Hey, you’re not going to believe this, but I’ve found…hang on….” I shook my head in disbelief at the fourth late Archaic projectile point tucked in the gravel. “You have to come over here, now,” I smiled. I tried to explain to him what had just happened – pointing out each of the finds. He was as awestruck as I, but we both almost lost composure when, within seconds of ‘show and tell’, another light colored point met my eye a few inches from where I laid the paddle. I edged backward to get a good camera angle. Then, I just looked up at Barry in stunned silence and back down again beside my other knee at a small gray-purple dart point. That is when we both erupted with the excitement of two kids.
“I’m now walking away. There have to be more here; so you find them,” I jokingly announced as I headed upstream to survey the ledge. Savoring an unbelievable fifteen minutes of discovery included the analytical questions forced by the finds. Often people have asked, “Where did these artifacts come from?” Sometimes the answer is simple because the ‘site’ still exists. Other times, I will touch two fingers together in front of me, representing a point in space, because similar coordinates may be all that remain of ancient eroded camps. My quick recon of the area seemed to confirm a similar origin for these artifacts. Our timing had offered us the chance to experience something that would have been erased by the next flood.
My six dart points fill Barry’s hand
Barry’s voice carried down the bank, “I found one!” I saw him gently scratching the sand and gravel in the weeds. I took in the view of the area because I wanted to remember this place and time. Barry called out again, “Hey, you should see this large white base I found!” By the time I made it back to him, he had found another dart! While he pointed out his finds, I felt like we were functioning in a mild state of shock – still trying to wrap our minds around what was happening. After a few more broken finds and photos, we cooled off in the water. In all we found 19 pieces; some were complete and some were fragments.
Dream-like remnants of the artifact discoveries stayed with us for miles. I told Barry I was not sure I would have believed the event if I had not been part of it. Roughly thirteen hundred years earlier, someone made the weapons we found. Handling them was like touching an old pocket knife owned by your great grandfather or holding an old wooden spoon used by your great grandmother - except, they were much older and no one remembered the owners anymore. We could not know what the circumstances were during the last moments someone held these artifacts, but we were the next men to hold them and imagine those days.
We found a few pieces of fossil bone over the next couple of hours and it really began to get hot. To get relief from the temperature, we paddled closer to the shady banks. On few occasions we startled beavers from their dens. Not many things can get your attention quicker than a forty pound animal hurtling into the water on the edge of your vision. My only regret was that the camera had not recorded our comical reactions.
Then, as we rounded a large bend, a huge gravel bar came into view. In the distance, I could see something big lying on the rocks. “Barry, what’s that?”
“I don’t know….” He shaded his eyes and leaned forward, then exploded, “IT’S A HUGE GAR!” He spun to face me, “Can I have the SKULL?!” He spun back, “It’s HUGE! You’ve got to let me have it, please!”
He sounded like a ten year old begging for his favorite birthday present. It was hilarious. But my smile was temporarily gagged when I caught a whiff of the almost dry carcass. “If you can separate the skull from the rest, you can have it…but it stays on your end of the canoe,” I winced.
The smell matched the size of the alligator gar – it was a monster. I was fascinated to see such a large specimen up close. Barry finally separated his prize from its ragged remains. Then, he placed it in the canoe under his seat and we continued to search the bar.
The multi-colored gravel camouflaged many pieces of petrified wood and the new ‘gar skull owner’ took advantage of the canoe’s carrying capacity. We left shore a little heavier and smellier. Unfortunately for me, the prevailing wind came from the bow of the boat. I joked with him about the odor coming from his direction, but he firmly insisted he was unaware of any stench.
On another bar, the gravel teased us with more bits of bone; then Barry spotted a large brown lump. He called me over to take some photos. Whose bone he had found was not immediately obvious; but it had some size. Only after he freed it from the sand were the features of a large vertebra confirmed. Likely from a mammoth, it had suffered the erosive effects of time and water. Yet, Barry grinned. He had accomplished one of the goals we had for the trip – find mammoth bone.
The heat was relentless, but we kept cooling off and drinking. Even the butterflies were frequently tapping moisture and minerals in the damp sand. Eventually, we reached an area where the channel narrowed and we took advantage of the shade. I was looking for beaver dens when Barry cried, “Snake! Back there by the large stump!”
We buried the paddles in a series of strong back strokes to reverse our direction. I finally spotted the handsome reptile crawling into a small pile of logs. I could tell he wanted to catch it, when he almost whispered, “Elaphe obsoleta lindheimeri.” After three seconds of heat affected thinking, I realized he had not issued curses to move faster, but had just named the scientific classification for a Texas Rat Snake – the name that had passed through my mind 5 seconds earlier…. Barry scrambled up the bank and had the snake in hand within two minutes. He slowly manipulated it while I took photos. I have always enjoyed my encounters with these non-poisonous reptiles. They can be very aggressive and strike repeatedly, or try to intimidate any threats with their loud hiss and vibrating tail. He left on the log where we found it.
About a half hour downstream we were exposed again to the late afternoon sun. It reflected from the water and the barren high bluffs beside us. We paddled and scanned both water and banks. Through the salty sweat in my eyes, I saw something out of place halfway up one of the bluffs.
“OK, that can’t be what I think it is, can it Barry?” A bowling ball sized dome contrasted sharply with the surrounding tan soil. We slowed the canoe to a stop. I remembered the “dome” of a four foot mammoth humerus I had found almost a year earlier…. My heart rate increased.
Barry insisted, “John, that shape is too perfect; it has to be a bone.” The closer we got the boat, the more my pulse quickened. From fifteen feet below it, I still had to get closer to allow myself to acknowledge the obvious…it was a bone!
We positioned the canoe as close as possible to the vertical bank. The water was not moving fast there, but it was deep. In a tricky move that involved me stepping on the tip of the stern and stabbing my rock hammer into the soil of the steep ledge above, I pulled myself up to a spot where I could rest. Our access point was a little downstream of the “dome”, so I had to dig footholds to make my way to the find. It was impressive when I could finally rest beside it. “Hey Barry, it’s bone!” I grinned.
After a difficult time staging a few digging tools, we started to excavate. I carefully determined the perimeter of the fossil and had some vivid flashbacks to last year’s humerus find. However, the deeper we dug, the more it became apparent that the rest of the bone was not attached. We tested the ‘ball’ for movement and it popped free of the matrix below. In the soil below, we did not find any more evidence of bone.
Initially it seemed there was a large scavenging scar across the surface, but after cleaning, the mark appeared to be an eroded part of the internal vascular structure. Other old gouges and marks may have been due to ancient scavenging. Shape and size suggested I had found my first mammoth ‘femur ball’ or the head of the femur. Regardless of the number of mammoth fossils I have found, they never cease to spark my imagination.
Mammoth femur head – approx. 7 inches in diameter
Scars and vascular structures
The shadows had begun to lengthen by the time we loaded the femur ball and started back downstream. Temperatures had dropped a few degrees which energized us for the next few miles. In a large eddy, we saw another snake crossing the water and sped up to see it. Both of us recognized the juvenile Water Moccasin as it paused and floated on the water. Barry pulled out his camera and I positioned the canoe to assist him. All was going well until the young snake thought the boat would make a good rest stop. The most important result of the next few moments was that no one entered the water, and nothing entered the canoe. I repositioned us to allow the little pit viper to reach the bank. It seemed to respond to the security of solid ground and assumed the confident demeanor of the species.
We reached the take-out after twelve hours on the water. Tired, but feeling the satisfaction of an incredible adventure, we completed a relatively short shuttle run back upstream. The trip had so many layers – so many memories. We hunted and found what we sought. And somewhere between our imaginations, the water, willows, cottonwood, and stone, we caught a reflective glimpse of the ancient hunters.
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Since I just got a blog and need to put "Second Chance" in better description, why not blog it? Well, we left Taylor at about 11:30, and headed to the used to be hated South San Gabriel site. Now that we know how to get down there easily, it was a great trip. My first cool find was a candosa texana. Then we found some oysters and some other stuff. After that we traveled to another part of the South San Gabriel.We didn't find any fossils, but we did find dinosaur footprints (probably pleurocelus/paluxysaurus) and a modern jawbone. The next site was private property, so we couldn't hunt on it. The last site was a decent site, we found a few oysters and inverts. Then we went to my grandparents to show them and my cousins our very nice load.
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Well now I can say that I have been into fossils since the 2010 aurora fossil festival and do not see myself getting out of anytime soon. I am still hunting the infamouns Green Mill Run and a few sites along the Tar and Neuse rivers. Having so much sucess at GMR I do not want to leave, I was once told if a spot is producing dont leave that spot stay in it until it quits, well almost 4 weeks into GMR and its still giving me a few nice size teeth ever so often I am not planning on leaving.
Yesterday was the best day that I have had, I took both my father in law and brother in law that sift the spoil piles in Aurora alot to GMR for a different kind of hunting the 1st few hours in I dont think that were liking it to much b/c all they were seeing was 1/2 teeth and bones, but then I had an idea. I said lets dig over there, I will dig and you can sift well my 50 year old father in law liked that idea, I think he just wanted to see me work my A$$ off,lol. Well all of a sudden alot of big bone started comeing out of the hole, and I told him usally from my past experiences when you start seeing alot of big bone like that teeth are sure to follow. Well sure enough all of a sudden a perfect 3" meg comes up in the shovel, his exact words and I quote were " snarge let me do some digging, I have never found one that big" Well in my head I was thinking you didnt find it, I did the digging all you did was sift. But I didnt say anything, and he stuck it in his pocket, another 15 min in and out comes another this time the best GW that I have ever seen, a perfecy 2 3/4". I grabbed that sucker and stuck it in my pocket real quick.
He took over and dug for a little while pulling nice 1 1/2" to 1 5/8" GW and megs out of that hole, when he said that he back was starting to hurt, it was time for him to leave and go to the house along with my brother in law. They left with around 300 teeth ranging from 1" to my nice 3" meg. Well still in discuss that he took my tooth I stayed a little while longer, not finding much and extremly tired of digging since 7 am and its was now 6:30 pm I decided to head back to the truck, I picked up the phone and called the wife to tell here about the day that we had and about my big tooth that I "gave" away, she said "I know my dad has already called and told me that you gave a big tooth" "he said that he was very happy and that he enjoyed his time with you, and wished that my brother would spend time like that with him" Well when she said that I felt bad about thinking bad about the old man, and decided to call him myself, when I did I got so many thank yous and he wanted to know when we were going to go again.
This made me feel very good inside as the man that I thought hated my guts for the past 9 years actually enjoyed his time with me and wanted to spend more time. So I guess we should all think before we act.
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At over 60 feet in length and weighing over 50 tons, C. megalodon was without a doubt one of the largest and most terrifying predators to ever exist.
It was literally,
The Apex Predator, The Top of the Food Chain.
Megalodon sharks lived from about 25 million years ago to around 1.5 million years ago. Megalodons had enormous teeth that grew up to seven inches in length. These razor sharp teeth were used to attack and devour ancient whales. In general, all shark teeth are highly evolved, being perfectly adapted for the shark's prey. Because Megalodon preyed upon whales, their teeth were massive and sharply serrated like a steak knife - an adaption which allowed them to easily cut through the meat and bones of giant whales.
A team of scientists led by Stephen Wroe conducted an experiment in 2008 to determine the bite force of the C. megalodon and concluded that very large specimens were capable of exerting a bite force of up to 40,131 pounds per square inch (over 5 times greater than that of T. Rex), arguably making the giant shark one of the most formidable and powerful predators to have ever inhabited the oceans.
Megalodon teeth were also extremely robust and solid allowing them to bite into whale bone without breaking. During their lives, Megalodons had teeth that were a bright ivory white color just like our teeth. Fossil Meg teeth however come in a variety of beautiful colors. Over millions of years of fossilization, the white enamel becomes mineralized, taking on the characteristic colors of the minerals surrounding it. By far the most common color is a dark grey color typical of teeth found in South Carolina rivers and some other Southern areas of the United States. Rarer colors include Reds, Blues, Greens, Yellows, Oranges, Black and combinations of these colors. Ivory colored Megalodon teeth typically come from phospate deposits, while other colors are usually found in Rivers. The more unusually colored teeth are much rarer and command significantly higher prices than the more common colors. Also, because high quality teeth over six inches in length are both rare and in high demand, these monster teeth command much higher prices than their smaller cousins. In fact Meg teeth over 5 inches in length tend to increase exponentially in price with increasing size.
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Now is the time when I lament how nothing stays the same, and progress marches inexorably on. What other outcome can there possibly be when you think you've found a little slice of paradise? So it goes.
The beautiful little creek by my house, so full of fish and fossils and history, is soon to become the site of the new Schlitterbahn waterpark. And with, more people, traffic, pollution, millions of gallons of chlorinated water etc. So long old friend. Today I eased on upstream to my favorite fossil hole and found new silt fencing and clumps of trees fenced off, I guess they're going to expand the development now and they're marking for the new road. Oh well, it was the new development that gave access in the first place. Driving in I noticed some new no trespassing signs, and someone has restrung some fence across the creek. I think to myself "was that really necessary?". I had my answer a few hours later when driving out to go back home, there in the creek opposite the new sign & fence were 5 or 6 of our friends from south of the border, one with a cast net, one with a cooler, another with a face mask and homemade spear. It is not bad enough that most of this state is privately owned, we get people doing their best to justify fencing off every piece of open ground out there.
Ah well, there will always be another slice of paradise out there somewhere for me find. So it goes.
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Sometimes the region I live in has the feeling of being a bit of a backwater. We're far removed from the metro and interstate action. So, just in case you have no idea what or where Michigan's NW LP is (Northwest Lower Peninsula), here's a view of the entire region:
Essentially, the whole place is a giant glaciated gravel pit.
Up in the northern 1/3rd of this "mitt" there are low ledges of bedrock exposed on the shores of Lake Michigan, as well on the Islands from South Fox on up, and there are several quarries operating in the area, but otherwise everything is covered in sand and rounded rocks. The formations in the northern 3rd are: the Gravel Point, Charlevoix, and Petosky Limestones; Norwood, Antrim, Jordan River Shales, and remnants of the Whiskey Creek Formation, all Devonian, in the Little Traverse Bay region. The Upper Silurian (Bass Island) crops out at the northern tip of the peninsula, and on the islands immediately to the west. Further north, on the Upper Peninsula, is the rest of the Silurian and the Ordovician.
After growing up in Missouri, where you can't walk a creek bed without finding fossils, Michigan seemed a bit of a fossil let-down. My folk's moved up here in the fall of 1985. We had been taking family vacations in the area for 10 years, escaping the July heat and humidity of St. Louis, MO., and my parents wanted a "change of lifestyle." Fortunately for me and my habitual rock hounding, they moved right next to an old and deep gravel pit.
Back then, seeing nothing but gravel and boulders, I didn't think there would be too much to interest me. Brachiopods were obvious, and there was plenty of glacialized coral, Petosky Stones (a Hexagonaria coral), favosites, and chain corals to be found, some of them interestingly preserved, and of course all the igneous rock you wanted -- pink and red granites stippled with green veins, jasper, agates, basalts, feldspar; more than I can identify. Stuff worth hunting for, but 2 or 3 walks a year was plenty.
As any seasoned fossil hunter knows, looks can be deceiving. After several years of being extremely busy and not really having the time to hunt properly, I finally do. Add to that the daily injections of inspiration I get from The Fossil Forum, and the 2 to 3 times per year walks have turned into 2 to 3 times per week.
The Goodies are coming in fast, and with a fair amount of surprising diversity.
It's amazing what you can find if you just spend the time to really look.
And, the more I look, the more questions I have regarding the original source of the fossils I'm finding, the influence and affect of the glaciers on the geology; the timing of their advance, how many advances there have been, their direction of movement, and the relative distances that they have moved rock, or when particular types of rock have been moved. How abundant is a type of rock in one area as compared to another across the North/South and East/West axis? Can "banding" of deposits be discerned to target particular types of fossils? Are any of the original sources for the fossil bearing boulders still present? If not, can one tentatively assign a rock to a formation/geologic era using fossils for correlation?
I intend to use this blog as a platform for exploring these questions and others that arise, what I learn, and as well as for sharing my finds.
Here's a map from Google Earth showing the pit closest to me, which I'll refer to as the Lincoln Rd. Pit; our greenhouses are in the upper left corner. You can see how short the walk is. Perfect for quick after work boulder smashing. The field to the west is our neighbor's. An ex-MSU extension agent. I think he plows it up just because he's bored, but the field is loaded with stone.
Wider view of the same area. Lincoln Rd. Pit is circled in yellow. To the west of the main pit, is a larger inactive pit, circled in black. Hunting there is a little sparser, but I'll hit it a few times a year. Greenhouses are circled in green. Due north of the greenhouses are two abandoned pits circled in black. One is on my dad's property, the other is private, but un-posted. The third, larger black circle to the north is the Benzie Co. Road Commission's gravel pit, dug into the north flank of Eden Hill, with no deep pit dug. Including the yearly plowed field, that's six spots to hunt in a 2 mile radius.
A view of the big ridge, Eden Hill, running NW - SE. Crystal Lake and the Betsie River Watershed is to the south, Platte Lakes & river watershed to the north. The big road that loops through the lower left is US31. Gravel pits/greenhouse in the center, circled in black.
And a full view of the general region, aka: Grand Traverse Region, named for the big double bay between the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas. Leelanau Peninsula on the west. Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore runs from the middle of Benzie Co., north into the middle of Leelanau Co.
That's all for now.
Thanks for taking the time to check out my blog,