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Found 242 results

  1. Can't remember what this is from

    Hey all, this is something I found again when going through my collection. I found this about 10 years ago on the James River in Virginia, not too far away from Hopewell. For the life of me I can't remember what my friend told me it was, and he has since moved across the country and I am unfortunately unable to contact him. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
  2. It has been a long time since I've logged onto the forum. I've been so busy with AP exams and finals that I really just got out of the habit of checking it. My hiatus is over, however, and I look forward to diving back into the rich information this site offers. I had the pleasure of going on a guided trip to some of Virginia's Miocene cliff exposures. Until this point, I had only ever hunted in parks with public access and well-known sites, but this trip presented me with the opportunity to finally hunt in more remote areas that don't get picked over by the crowds. The site where the trip took us is technically private property, but for this special event, the leaders of the trip gain special permission from the owners to bring people onto the grounds. My dad bought us two spots on the trip as a very early birthday present, and I was thrilled to hear I'd get a chance at some better finds than usual. We drove down early Saturday morning and arrived in a parking lot to meet up with everyone. In total, there were about 50 people who paid to come along. The weather was amazing; warm and sunny. Some people opted to simply walk past the usually off limits ropes, but most chose to take a ride in one of the boats that the leaders were running to get to the desired areas of the cliffs faster. One of the boats was run by the fantastic @SailingAlongToo who I finally had the chance to meet. He's a great guy, and I can't thank him enough for helping transport me and my dad along the cliffs. I hope to run into him again at some point. I was eager to get on the very first boat to depart, and I did just that. After a short ride, we hit the beach and started to hunt. The first hour of so was not the best for me. I found a couple decent teeth, but hadn't even hit a dozen yet. I was going at a slow pace as usual, and eventually a young girl caught up to me. She asked how I was doing and we talked for a minute. She showed me a beautiful transitional meg she had found. Finding a meg tooth was certainly a goal for this trip for me, as it was for everyone else as well. As we were still talking, she picked something up and said, "Huh, isn't that interesting?" and showed me a large flat rock covered in moss and barnacles. Only it wasn't just a rock. As she showed the front side to me, she saw the clean back side and screamed, "THAT'S A TOOTH!" and showed me the back. Sure enough, it was a MASSIVE, nearly 4" meg tooth. Happy for her, but also disappointed that I didn't find it myself, I congratulated her as she proceeded to run back to her family to show them. I couldn't beat myself up too much, though, because it wasn't my fault for not seeing something that no one would've though was a tooth. Besides, that was just proof that the big ones were out there. That tooth ended up being the largest tooth found on the entire trip, of all 50 people over the span of two days. And it was her first time ever fossil hunting! Talk about beginner's luck. Congratulations again, nonetheless. My finds starting getting better as the day went on. I think I finally found my specialty in fossil hunting: large, broken Hemipristis teeth. I was finding plenty of Hemis, but I just couldn't get my hands on a whole one. It was a shame too, because had they been complete, some of the teeth would have been absolutely beautiful, and Hemis are my favorite. As I was hunting in the water, I saw what I thought was possibly a meg tooth root sticking out of the sand, and pulled it out. It was big alright, and VERY heavy, but it wasn't a tooth. It was a rib fragment from a prehistoric dugong! I didn't know that's what it was at the time, but I certainly suspected it was a rib based solely on the shape. Later on, I eventually found a small cove as the water was rising. I had it all to myself for a while. There was tons of gravel and sand in the cove that was dry and far away from the waves, and in digging through that I found one of my biggest teeth ever. It was a beautiful mako, Isurus desori. I took that as a sign that this spot was a nice place to settle down for a while. Just then, SA2 came to the cove in his boat to pick a couple people up who wanted to move elsewhere. He happily threw me his sifter so I could thoroughly search the wake. After sifting for about 20 minutes, I found the best tooth I've ever found in that sifter. It was a PERFECT and HUGE hastalis! I was so thrilled. That one cove gave me my two best teeth of the trip, and possibly ever. Although I didn't find a meg, I did find a few "fraglodons", which I've never found before. That wrapped up the first day. My dad and I grabbed dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and went to our motel to get some rest in order to have the energy to hunt again the next day. The second day was much less nice in terms of weather, and we got a little less time to hunt. Regardless, my dad and I tried to get on some of the first boats again. This time, I asked SA2 if he'd bring me in the opposite direction as most people were going, and he kindly agreed. I was one of the only hunters on that side, and for a while I was completely alone because he had dropped me off at the very edge of the property. I finally got to hunt on cobble, which I've never done before. I often see videos of people finding huge teeth in cobble, which is why I was sure I'd find something decent. I didn't find anything too big, but I got some unique finds for sure. I found my first crab claws, and a croc tooth! I ended up just gradually walking all the way back to the starting point, hunting along the way. My finds were not quite as nice and the previous day, but I was still satisfied. In the last hour of hunting, a storm started to come in and the boats stopped running. Many people left before the stated time because of the weather, but I stayed out there. I got my last nice find of the day: a cow shark tooth; my first from Virginia. Near the end of our day, I ended up in a scary situation when I got stranded by the crashing waves that had completely engulfed the beach. I ended up wading through the water, letting it fill my boots completely and trying my best not to slip on the clay-like cliff material beneath my feet. I made it out alright, but got totally soaked. With that, my dad and I were some of the last to head out. It was an absolutely phenomenal trip. I got to hunt on usually restricted grounds with lots of great people and came away with some really nice fossils. I found a lot of everything, really. Tigers, Hemis, Makos, Whalers, Lemons, hastalis, fraglodons, Croc, Cow, crab, ray, vert, dugong, gastropod, shell, etc. All of them will make great additions to me ever-growing collection. A big thanks to @SailingAlongToo and all those who led this excellent trip. I know there were a few other forum members there, including @I_gotta_rock, so if you were there be sure to let me know! Hope everyone else who participated had a great trip as well. Hoppe hunting!
  3. Hit Stratford Hall Plantation today for a quick shark tooth hunt. Teeth here dont seem to be the easy surface finds frequently, but the stretch of beach is plentiful with teeth if you go a tad below surface. The rock/shell beds above the water line seemed to be the most fruitful. Also, my wife had great luck literally watching teeth just roll up on shore with the tide. I will say, for those who are more into the arrowheads and beautiful rocks, this is a great place to hunt for them! Also found ray teeth and possibly a 6 or 7 gill?
  4. Help Identifying Imprints

    These two imprints were found at Stratford Hall, Virginia, last July. I had a pickle of a time photographing them so the impression would show up, especially as on one of them, the imprint is pretty faint. I was wondering if anyone could verify if these are fossils, and if so, can anyone identify just what exactly these are imprints of? Thank you for any thoughts you might have! Imprint #1 Front Back Imprint #2 Front Black and White version. Back
  5. Can anyone help I'd this partial gastropod? Found it in the pliocene Yorktown Formation. It appears to have been pretty big in life. Thanks!
  6. Hello All! As you can see by the title of my post and the plethora of pictures to follow, I have been quite busy... busy fossil hunting that is! Since New Years I have been averaging at least one trip per weekend which is a good fix to distract myself from the less-than admirable weather (I just want spring!!!!!). This whole week is off for me since I'm off on Spring Break and that means I can go out hunting during the week to avoid the crowds which is always pleasant to get the beach to yourself. Also with the turn of the season and somewhat "warm" weather we have had I was able to launch my kayak for the first time this season this past weekend and I hope to make good use of my kayak. If any other members would like to hunt sometime feel free to message me (also anyone who wants to take me out on their boat I would take that offer too! ) I'll post a thread of my recent trips along with my more favorite finds and some fossil ID help. I'd also like to add that I have successfully taken over our family dining room and turned it into my own private fossil collection (sorry mom) and I love how it shows the true variety of teeth you can find as well as the differences in locations and the fauna you can find. The paper towels are all from recent trips and the plates are all from previous trips to Stratford Hall which I divided into plates for each different species.
  7. Post Nor'Easter finds

    The Nor'Easter a few weeks ago brought extremely high winds and tides on the James River. The water brought lots of flotsam to the beach as well as some things I hadn't seen before. Sorry that I didn't place a ruler on these photos, but many of them are 4-5 inches at their widest point. Several are solid but some were fragile and separated into perfect, smaller versions of themselves (see photos). They have to be teeth, but I don't even know if they are fossilized? They have a pearly sheen. Our beach lies at the bottom of a 40-60 foot bluff, east of the Scotland Ferry across the river from Jamestown. I was going to ask the folks at Chippokes State Park, which is a few miles downriver from us, but thought I'd start here. Also, can anyone please tell me what the word is for a beach that is made up of pretty much nothing but fossils? I think there is a word for it, or a word for a massive jumble/collection of fossils, but I don't know it. Please excuse my naivete -- fossils aren't something I've really thought about since my son brought home some coprolite 20 years ago. I hope to learn much from this forum. Before posting, I did search through all the James River posts to see if there was anything similar. Thanks so much!
  8. Another Nice Day on the River

    After a couple of weeks of us being under the weather from an Upper Respiratory Infection, Mrs.SA2 and I decided to take the dogs and visit one of our favorite places this past Saturday. Despite the forecast for rain, we both had a great day. But, the true measure of a successful day was achieved when the totally exhausted dogs slept the entire way home. As some of you may remember, I'm still playing catch up with Mrs.SA2 as she found 5 megalodon teeth in January. Saturday, I got my 2nd of 2018, about 10 mins after we started hunting. It's a gorgeous little "hubbell" meg with nice serrations and coloring. That gives us 7 megs so far in 2018. In just the few hours we were there, I found teeth from 11 different species of sharks. Here are a few of my larger ones. Mrs.SA2 had her own bag of goodies. I'll post some photos of them when she gets them cleaned up. Along with teeth, we also found a couple of those dreaded Miocene snails called Ecphora. Even more interesting, we found 2 different species of Ecphora about 10 feet from each other. I'm sure @Fossil-Hound and @sixgill pete can appreciate just how dreaded these Ecphora can be. Mrs.SA2 found 3 of them, but mine was the largest and most complete and is the oddball with only 3 whorls. Adding these 4 to her collection, Mrs.SA2 now has 59 Ecphora specimens from MD, VA and NC. The goal is to get around 100 specimens and then donate the collection for study and curation. All in all, it was a great day and Mrs.SA2 was happy. Happy wife, happy life!!!! Cheers, SA2 and Mrs.SA2
  9. Best Locations?

    So... Okay, I just started getting into hunting for fossils. I've always loved fossils and gems and the lot. I went gem mining for the first time when I was about 10 or 11 in McKinley, VA, and since then - I've loved it! My family went on a trip to Cherokee and the Smoky Mtns when I was younger, and we found all kinds of unearthed fossilized things and gem mines. Saturday, we went to Westmoreland State Park up in Montross for the first time, and even though it was chilly and rainy, we found five or six decent shark teeth. I've done a little research, but I'd prefer what other people - and not articles - have to say. Where's the best places to find fossils in VA?
  10. Bone identification please

    I found this over the summer at stratford hall in VA. Can anyone help me identify this? Thank you!
  11. Miocene horse tooth?

    I found this in a river in Virginia -- miocene Yorktown Formation. Does this look like a miocene horse? Maybe it's a modern horse tooth that got washed into the river? Any help from the experts appreciated! Matt
  12. East Coast fossil road trip

    Hello! Later this year I'm planning on moving from Florida back to New England. I was hoping to make the voyage into an interesting road trip... I've heard of several places in the Eastern half of the US where you can dig your own fossils. I know that there are some places in Georgia and the Carolinas that are good to find Megalodon teeth, and some places in the northern US that are good for finding trilobites... I'm up for anything interesting and was looking for suggestions on exact places, tour companies, people, anything that you can offer that might extend my collection on the trip!
  13. What tooth is this??? 4 Cusp

    I was wondering if anybody would be able to ID this tooth for me. It reminds me of a spider by the way it looks with all the cusps
  14. Fossil ID?/Recent Trip

    Hello! First time posting on the forum so any help is good! I recently went hunting for a few hours and was able to have a decent day by myself at the water. I need help to ID the two teeth I posted up-closes of. The fragment would've been a sweet tooth if whole and I wish the other tooth had the other cusp! I believe both teeth are from the same species of shark, but I have never found a species like this. I have never heard of Carcharocles angustiden being found in the MD/VA area and the area I was at I believe is mostly early Miocene so I was thinking it might be a Carcharocles chubutensis??? I also found some decent Makos and a very nice Barracuda tooth which I thought was pretty cool.
  15. Nautiloid? Mahantango

    My first guess is straight nautiloid. What do you all think?
  16. Fossil Beach VA

    Relocating to FL a couple of years ago from VA incensed me to start hunting shark teeth, and then lo and behold I discovered that I could have been hunting in VA too. I had heard rumors of teeth at Stratford Hall as a kid but never followed up on it. So I finally had a trip back to VA and a chance to rush out to the beach, last minute I didn't have much time to plan but what better place to hunt fossils than "Fossil Beach", right? The visitor center had a nice display to fan the fever... Well it was a bit different that I expected. I was surprised to find the grey clay material and not as much rock as I see in the "in situ" photos other send from the area. Obviously this wasn't the honey hole I was hoping but some determined hunting did keep me from being skunked.
  17. Mastodon Bones Found in SE Virginia Swamp

    Article from last Friday's Daily Press newspaper in southeast Virginia (Hampton Roads), about mastodon bones being found in a local swamp and being curated by the Virginia Living Museum. Interestingly, this discovery was made only 2 miles from where General George Washington and the Continental Army (aided by the French) politely requested Lord General Cornwallis to leave the American Colonies in 1781. http://www.dailypress.com/news/science/dp-nws-mastodon-bones-exhibit-20180123-story.html Cheers, SA2
  18. Unidentified Tooth

    Hello again! This post is going to lack detail for the most part, because I don't have much to give. All we really know about this piece is that my mother found it in the water at Westmoreland State Park, Virginia. At first glance it looked like it could just be the tooth from a cow or horse, but the shapes didn't seem to match, and the piece looks rather too old to be from something recently deceased. The last image is an extreme close up with a digital microscope, and gives a good glimpse of the texture, which is more rock-like now than tooth-like. Anyway, again, I'm not an expert, which is also why I've had to give up trying to identify it myself. If anyone has any input to provide, I'd greatly appreciate it! It will help put to rest constant discussion in the family about whether this piece is cool or totally nothing.
  19. MD/VA Fossil ID Website?

    Hey everyone, After I collect a bunch of fossils from a trip, I sort them by species or genus. What I'm wondering is how you guys do this (if you do sort them). I've been using fossilguy.com so far, as well as this forum for when I can't find a match. Sometimes I'll look up a suspected species in a simple search, but my go-to right now is fossil guy. Although his site is really great overall, he really only covers the more common teeth found at the sites. So I have found his site to be very useful with identification, but I'd love a source that might go into more detail and cover more species. I want to hear what you all use to ID your finds (other than the forum). Keep in mind, the source would need to cover fossils from the exposures where I hunt. These include the Calvert Cliffs in Maryland, the Paleocene exposures near Purse State Park in Nanjemoy, and the Horsehead Cliffs in Montross, Virginia. As great as it is to have you guys identify finds of mine, I obviously can't do that for hundreds and hundreds of fossils, so I'd like another online source. It would be ideal if the source includes pictures and descriptions of how to distinguish finds from each other. Thanks in advance!
  20. A Multiple Meg Day for the Mrs.

    I'm a little late in posting this but, I'm finally getting around to it. Last weekend, Mrs.SA2 and I took the dogs for another walk with our good buddy Mel (of Phatfossils.com), since much of the ice has melted or moved on. It was a great day for some exercise with the forecast showing sunny, high around 55-60F, an offshore breeze and lower than normal water levels. As an added plus, we had very clear water meaning we could walk in water between our knees and waist and still see the bottom pretty well. That is, if you like 32-35F water on your lower body. Some may remember from last post about walking in cold/icy water that Mrs.SA2's feet got cold (numb was the word she used.) Being the wonderful hubby that I am, I went online to my favorite "major supplier of all things ever needed", and ordered her a couple pair of 1mm neoprene socks that have fleece inner layers. She tried them out on last Saturday's trip. More on her opinion and comments later. As we started our walk on the waxing tide, (not preferred, but it is VA in late January & we certainly aren't greedy enough to complain about any day we get on a river fossil hunting this time of year), we were all amazed at how clear, calm and low the water was. If you had the opportunity to pick all of the variables for a day of fossil hunting in VA in January, this day shaped up to be everything we would have requested. Wasn't long before we found a few small to medium size teeth. Not long after that, Mel started finding whale vertebrae in thigh - waist deep water. We kept finding whale verts ALL day long. I think we ended up finding over 35 with about 25 of them being in nice shape and the other 10 being so-so with various amounts cleaved off along the long axis. Mrs.SA2 was walking in knee deep water, trying out her new neoprene socks and was the first to spy a tooth bigger than 1", scoring a nice, reddish hastalis. Not to be outdone, Mel had to go big with another hastalis. It's a little worn but it's a big 'un. All this time, i'm walking along the tide line picking up small - medium teeth listening to the Mrs. and Mel talk about how much they both can "feel" the megs calling them. I'm pretty sure I heard a few comments about how small my teeth were compared to theirs at this point, but I'm not sure. About that time, Mrs.SA2 decides she wants to find the 1st meg of the day and pops this up out of the water. A little on the small side, but its cute and "a megs a meg." And of course, Mel has to answer right back with this b-e-a-u-t-y of a hastalis! I'm pretty sure he could still have shaved his arm hair with those edges. Here are both of his monsters side by side. A little further down the beach (and a few more comments about my small teeth later), Mrs.SA2 spots a double. Notice how close the dog came to stepping on it and burying it in the sand. This now makes her 2nd meg in 1 day, albeit this one is on the smaller side too, but again, "a megs a meg." She looked at me, smiled and said "I'm not done yet." I just put my head down and kept walking, as it appears at this point that I've become the dog walker and the chauffeur for the day. And, I swear, I heard Mel giggling in the background. I knew better than to ask her how she went from collecting in thigh - knee deep water to collecting on the beach, directly in front of me. Nothing good was going to come from any response I made. As we kept going along, true to her previous statement about not being done yet, Mrs.SA2 found another meg, again on the smaller side, but it was her 3rd meg of the day and 5th in 1 week. Now, I'm positive I heard snickers and giggles coming from Mel's direction this time. By then, it was getting embarrassing for me cause Mel had the 2 monster hastalis and had picked up 2 megs and another decent sized hastais to go with them. Talk about a handful! So, Mel too now has a multiple meg day, meaning everyone but me has megs (plural). By now its well past lunch time and I'm getting hungry so i sat down on a log and ate my chicken salad sandwich. Mel, the Mrs. and the dogs kept walking a bit further. After my sandwich, I felt better and was done sulking and I wandered around where I had been sitting. Lucky for me, I found a few decent teeth. I was hoping for a meg, even a small one, but that didn't happen, but at least I got a few nice specimens. (Sorry Ray, @aerogrower the Mrs. had the scale cube with her.) I'll finish up with the rest in the next post.
  21. Slurpee, Slushee or Icee Beach......Take Your Pick VA Miocene on 01/14/2018 Since I didn't get to do much fossil hunting in December due to work, I've been determined to get more time out during January. I convinced Mrs.SA2 to venture out with our buddy Mel (MarcoSr's youngest son) and me this morning. We would have brought @Daleksec along with us, but his dad said he forgot to keep his bedroom clean, AGAIN, so he had chores to finish. The morning started out with us getting up at 0400 hours and making the drive to meet Mel at one of our favorite places. When we hit the beach the air temp was 13F with a 15 mph north wind and a 3-5F wind chill. Luckily, we all have "the gear" to keep us warm and dry in this weather and we know some tricks. We were excited and hopeful when we realized we were the first (and only) people on the beach. Pretty obvious why and not sure what that really says about us. When we got down to the beach, we realized that overnight the strong north wind and the wind chill had combined to freeze the surf and push ice on the beach. (The ice wasn't there the day before.) The surf out about 10 feet from the beach had the consistency of a Slurpee, Slushee or Icee, whichever is/was your beverage choice when younger. Mrs.SA2 and I were Slurpee fans (and she still sneaks one in every few weeks during the summers.) Photos of the beach and surf. The ice pushing in from the surf and the frozen beach left by the last high tide were pretty disappointing, until we started finding teeth. Here were my first couple of frozen teeth. All of the teeth we found had to be dug out of the frozen beach. I even managed a two-for. (Please excuse the lack of scale in many of the photos, I had Mrs.SA2's custom pink scale cube made by @aerogrower, but it kept freezing to the beach, then I had to scrape/dig it off the beach.) Here is a decent hastalis I found and dug out. On the walk back the wind had died down a little and the air temp had come up to 20F with wind chill around 15F. Talk about being spoiled, but alas, the beach was still frozen solid and ice covered. Here's Mrs.SA2 and Mel working their way through some obstacles along the beach. Mel is an awesome fossil hunter and has the eyes of an eagle. Mrs.SA2 and I always enjoy hunting with him because we have great conversations about stratigraphy, possible paleo-environments and the local fossils. This morning we chatted quite a bit about fossil hunting this coming spring and summer. As we were walking along, Mel looked down and spotted this beauty entombed in 3/4" of ice on the beach. It was worthy of breaking out Mrs.SA2's pink scale cube, even if it got stuck too. Took quite a bit of digging to "save" it from its frozen, watery grave. I have a great video of him digging it out but I'm going to let him be the first to show it on his Facebook page and website. Here are a couple of photos instead. That 10 minutes sure warmed us all up and it ended up being the biggest tooth we found on the day. At least we didn't get skunked and we all got some much needed exercise. I did manage this smaller hastalis as my last tooth of the morning. Here is what Mrs.SA2 and my finds looked like cleaned up. The vertebrae was a nice addition and you can see my "frag-a-lodon" by the scale cube. Over the 4 1/2 hour walk along the river in the cold, wind and ice, we managed to stay warm and dry and most of all, Mrs.SA2 continues to redevelop her confidence while out fossil hunting, following her fall back at the end of September. She was quite the trooper today and never complained. I'm sure the story she tells tomorrow at work will start with, "it'll be fun, he said......." and go downhill from there. Cheers, SA2 and Mrs.SA2
  22. Copper Shark from Stratford?

    This tooth was found at my trip to Stratford Hall in Montross, VA on December 2nd. I found it laying out in the open among some pebbles. It’s in great condition, but I had some trouble identifying it as it looks quite different from most of the teeth I have found. The roots look as if someone peelled open a banana, and the crown extends very high up the root. There seem to be some very worn serrations on the tooth as well. After some research, I believe it to most likely be from Carcharhinus brachyurus, or Copper/Bronze Whaler shark, although I’m still not sure. I’d really appreciate some input from more experienced collectors who have a better eye. Thanks, and Hoppe fossil hunting!
  23. Stratford Hall 12/02/17

    For my second ever fossil hunting trip, I figured I'd test out a different site, this time on the Potomac rather than the Bay. I read about many good sites (Purse, Westmoreland, etc.) but the one that seemed most attractive was Stratford Hall Plantation, just down the road from Westmoreland State Park in Montross, VA. Although it was nearly double the length of the drive to Brownie's, I'd say it was well worth it. Instead of venturing off on my own this time, I went with my dad, who wanted to share in the experience of my new hobby. We got on the road early in the morning to get there right as the beach opened. The site itself is fascinating and has a lot of history. It is the birthplace and childhood home of General Robert E. Lee. They offer extensive tours of the house and the grounds, and as much as I'd love to learn about it (and I do plan on doing so some time), this time around I was here for something much, much, older than the Lee family. The drive from the entrance of the plantation to the beach is very bumpy and confusing, but we eventually made it there alive. When we arrived to the beach, we were the only ones there as we had gotten there quite early. It's not a very large beach, and the restricted cliff areas are very clearly marked. We began sifting and combing through the shells and pebbles. After finding a few good sized teeth within my first couple minutes, I knew that this was a good site. My dad and I worked on opposite ends of the beach to cover as much ground as possible, and we both got some great finds. Throughout the day, the beach was near empty, with only a few others showing up the whole time. For the last couple hours we had the whole place to ourselves, and we were able to get some good sifts in before the beach closed at 4:00 p.m. We encountered some interesting wildlife as well, from a dead eel in the water that scared the living daylights out of me while I was wading, to a washed up dead bird (quite large, and looked a bit like a heron with stubby webbed feet). We weren't able to catch a low tide, so we didn't have a whole lot of beach to work with but for two people it was sufficient. It was also quite cold out, and the water was absolutely frigid, but that didn't stop us from having a productive day sifting for treasures! We managed to find quite a few teeth, mostly of decent size too! My finds are to the left, and my dad's are to the right. I should mention that my favorite tooth has to be that of Hemipristis serra, so that was one of my main goals. So you can imagine I was a bit disappointed to walk away without one...or so I thought! I didn't recognize them at first, but when I was identifying my finds later on, I found that the top left row of teeth are lower Hemis (including my biggest one, which is extremely worn down and ugly, but a Hemi nonetheless)! Although I'd much rather have an upper Hemi, these finds were great as well. We both found a good amount of tigers, both contortus and aduncus, some in fantastic condition. I have to say the black tiger on the far left may be my favorite tooth so far; it's nearly perfectly preserved! I also found a bunch of small Dusky and Gray shark teeth, as well as some Lemons. The larger one in the bottom left looked different than the rest, with its strange roots and all, so I had trouble identifying it. Help would be much appreciated. The shell I believe is the Virginia state fossil, Chesapecten jeffersonius. We found hundreds of fragments like this one throughout the day, but unfortunately this was the most complete specimen we found. Then, some more ray teeth, the leftmost being the biggest I've found yet. My dad had some great finds as well, including several baby upper Hemis, making me quite jealous. His best tooth is the top left, beautiful Sand Tiger with some nice cusps that he found on dry sand near the high tide line. He also found a tiny bony fish vert, in the bottom right. Overall, this was a great trip and I'm glad I was able to enjoy it alongside my dad. I think this may be a go-to site, as it seems quite reliable and would likely produce much better in nicer conditions. We got a good six hours of hunting in, taking a break midday during high tide. Stratford is a fantastic site for collecting, although keep in mind that they do charge you for entrance onto the grounds for the day, and the beach does close quite early year round. Looking forward to my next hunt, and I hope you enjoy the report. Hoppe fossil hunting!
  24. Below are shark, ray, and bony fish coprolites from three trips from matrix that I collected from an early Eocene marine site in Virginia awhile back. I would find around 1,000+ coprolites from eight 5 gallon buckets of formation (40 gallons) per trip; so they were pretty common at the site. A good number are very small only a few millimeters to 10 millimeters. Lots of them have fish bone inclusions. I’m finishing searching the matrix (two trips worth left) that I collected from this site. I’ve donated thousands of these coprolites to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science. Marco Sr.
  25. Miocene Whale Recovered From & for Display at Westmoreland State Park in VA This past Saturday, Mrs.SA2, @Daleksec (Trevor), his dad Orlin, @MarcoSr, his 2 sons Marco Jr. and Mel, a couple of other folks and I had the pleasure and privilege to finally finish recovering a whale skull from the cliffs at Westmoreland State Park here in VA. Marco Sr's sons had been working to excavate and recover this skull since June, but due to the unstable cliffs, high water levels, wind / waves, and trespassers / poachers damaging the plaster jackets, they had not been able to finish the task until this past weekend. Given the size and weight of the jacketed skull, a boat was the easiest way to get it off the beach and transported to the boat ramp where the Park's employees used a large tractor to lift it off the boat and set it on a trailer. Once prepped, the skull will be put on display at the Park's Visitors Center along with a photo album and video display chronicling the endeavor in hopes of providing knowledge and context about the geology and fossils of the area. Since Mrs.SA2 is still recovering from her fall back in late September, she was tasked with the photography / videography of the recovery. Combined with photos taken by Marco Jr. and Mel from the beginning of the excavation and several others of the group taking photos / videos on Saturday, the Park visitors will be able to see the step by step excavation and preparation process from start to finish. It is hoped that the skull and other skeletal pieces along with the photo album and video will be ready for display to the public by this spring. Everyone working to recover the whale were volunteers except for the Park employees. For the record, back at the end of June these plaster jackets on the skull and post-cranial bones are the same ones Mrs.SA2 and Trevor caught trespassers / poachers beating on with a large stick in hopes of stealing fossils. By the time they were discovered (caught red handed in the act), the trespassers / poachers had already busted the jackets open and removed multiple vertebrae, flipper bones and ribs from their matrix in the now busted open jackets. Thankfully, Mrs.SA2 & Trevor were able to stop the crime, take possession of the removed bones and then turn them over to the Park for safe keeping. Unfortunately, the Park Rangers were unable to catch the criminals despite the great descriptions provided. Here are a few of the photos taken during the recovery on Saturday. The first task of the day was clearing off the debris and sediment that had recently fallen on the working ledge. Mel is on the left in the red hat. I'm on the right and Marco Sr. is in the middle. (Don't worry folks, there are better photos of Marco Sr. a little later.) You can see the delamination and cracking of the cliff on each side of the working ledge. Here is Trevor taking a break from shoveling. Here is Mrs.SA2 posing in front of the skull. Once the debris and sediment was cleared away, the damaged / wet plaster jackets had to be removed and then the sections re-jacketed for stability during recovery. Aluminum foil was used to provide initial cover for the bones. Mel is putting on the foil while rest of us discuss how much this thing is going to weigh. Marco Jr. is in the bright blue sweatshirt, Marco Sr. is in the blue stocking cap, Orlin is in the gray hoodie closest to the cliff and I've got on the baseball cap turned backwards. Burlap is applied after the foil so the plaster will have a substrate for binding. Here, Marco Jr. is wrapping the skull in burlap while Mel mixes up the fist bucket of plaster. Next comes the plaster jacket. The Potomac River provided free water which was mixed with bags of plaster in a bucket, then hand applied to cover the burlap. Water temperature was 49F on Saturday. Mel is on the left and Marco Jr. is on the right. Didn't take long for their hands to turn blue. An interesting side note for those who don't know, Marco Sr., Marco Jr. and Mel have a website called phatfossils.com. They also have a Facebook page with the same name AND they have M&M Ranch in Nebraska where you can find Oligocene terrestrial animal fossils. You can Google that one if you want. Mrs.SA2, Trevor and I always enjoy fossil hunting and fossil discussions with them because we learn so much! Recovering the skull, we just provided the boat and some manual labor, they did the hard part. A couple of photos showing better views of the cliff. Marco Sr. is on the left in the blue stocking cap. Our buddy Zsolt is in the black coat on the ledge. Zsolt helped with taking photos and videos and is saving himself for the important task of lifting the jacketed skull off the beach. More on that later. Here is the skull with its new plaster jacket and wooden support. We found a 2" X 8" board on the beach and cut it to length in order to provide a rigid support once the jacket is flipped over. It took about 90 mins for the plaster to harden / set. Once the jacket was solid, Marco Jr. and Mel dug out underneath of jacket to separate it from the surrounding matrix. Orlin (on right with gray hoodie and shovel) helped shave off the edge of the ledge so we could roll it over and move it off the ledge and down to the beach. Note the sediment ramp built below the jacket. Once the jacket was free from the surrounding matrix, it was rolled over onto the 2X8 board and slid down the sediment ramp to the beach. It was remarkably easy since Marco Jr and Mel had built such a good jacket and gravity worked with us. (Photo below shows a much better shot of Marco Sr., blue stocking cap, 2nd from left) Next, extra matrix was removed from what was the bottom in order to get rid of weight and lighten the load. Below, Orlin (on left) is calculating the weight. Just for reference, a cubic yard of wet sediment from this location weights roughly 2,200 -2,500 lbs. The 8 of us were going to be picking up at least 1/2 cubic yard of dirt, plus the plaster jacket, 2X8 board and skull. Trevor is on the right helping Mel trim off extra matrix. Mel's tongue only came out a few times. After the load was lightened as much as possible, we used those always handy, ratchet straps to keep the jacket closed and secure during transport. The straps also kept the jacket attached to the wooden boards we used for lifting. Wouldn't want it to slide off and us drop it. You can see one of the boards sticking out the left side near Orlin's knee. We used 3 boards perpendicular to the jacket, plus a person at each end, in order to lift it. (YES, it was heavy.) All the boards were found along the beach. More to come in next post.
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