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Found 245 results

  1. Rock or fossil?

    Hello, one of my brothers brought this to me after digging it up in our garden. He believes that it's a dinosaur egg but I'm not sure. We live in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia if that helps.
  2. I donated 20,000+ Eocene marine Virginia coprolites to the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science in 2015. There have been several formal presentations given on these coprolites to date and a major paper is in final review. To see numerous coprolite pictures and read about/see previous presentations check out the below TFF link: http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/50059-what-ate-what/& A copy of the latest poster presentation given on these Virginia coprolites at the GSA Annual Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, USA on September 22, 2019 is below (If you click on the below picture which will open it in a new window and click on the + symbol twice, you can read the text): Marco Sr.
  3. Strange Preservation

    Here's a strange one. I found plentiful piles of what I thought were casts and internal molds in the iron-rich St. Mary's clay of Virginia last year. Loose clam fossils riddled blocks of talus. I was able to wiggle some out of their ancient resting places without s much as scratching the matrix. Generally that's because the shell disintegrated, leaving a void between the mold and the cast. If you look closely, however, what looks here like an internal mold isn't. The sculpture on the surface is clearly the outside of the shell. If it were the inside, you would see round protrusions where the ligament attached to a depression in the shell, not concentric ridges. Shown here is the most distinct of my specimens, but not the only one. Any thoughts? Mercenaria campechiensis, Miocene, VIrginia
  4. Rapp creek hunting

    Made two trips to the creek while worrying about Dorian; one trip to the beach, but not much there (picked clean by Labor Day visitors? Only one olive shell and a few bleached, worn small teeth.) I pooled the stuff collected in trips from the same general area in the creek. One of the trips I used a slightly coarser screen, followed by a window screen in response to @MarcoSr excellent recent post "What are you missing????". Since my teeth are micro-sized to begin with, I was sure that there would be lots of new stuff to sort through. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in my initial characterization of the "fines". I cannot see well looking about in the creek, but am very near-sighted and think I can see most of what is there at home (but will retry with a different substrate spot; the spot I was digging was fine gravel and shell bits). I do see more smaller drum teeth. Some bone bits and a few angel shark teeth (may have damaged the roots on them as well with the double screening, always wondered if screening was why my cowshark teeth were often rootless?) No nurse shark or cookie-cutter shark teeth yet, but still intrigued. The two trips were mostly sand tiger teeth, mostly rootless or small root spikes. Some were glossy and nice but I'm guessing the gravel takes its toll. A couple of verts, a small piece of a bonito nose(?), a bunch of angel shark teeth (a few with broken triangular bases; I stood them up for the scan). A bunch of drum teeth (and small round rocks, not shown). One ugly worn cowshark tooth. One for sure small mako, and a few that I cannot see any serrations on (micro mako teeth?) More serrated triangular teeth than usual for me, mostly gray sharks, but one worn-on-the-tip hemipristis. Two tooth pieces, one relatively flat with what looks like hemi-serated edge of enamel, and one heavier, triangular edge with finer serrations that I think, hopefully, is a smallish megalodon. If so, this is the first meg that I have seen from the creek since a kid found a big one thirty years ago there (teeth were much more plentiful, but meg teeth were always rare there).
  5. Hello from Virginia

    I have always loved history and old things from the past. I have been a Civil War relic hunter on and off for 40 years or so. I don't get to do that much anymore because pretty much all the land I used to hunt has been bought up by the Government or the Civil War preservation people and you can no longer hunt there. A couple of my old hunting buddies got me into Native American point hunting along the banks of the James and Pamunkey rivers and for awhile that was fun but all they wanted to do was hunt the same spot over and over looking for that perfect point. We would hit a bank and everybody would take off walking the shore line and most of the time when they got back I was still right in the same spot scratching along the bank with a bag full of rocks, not many points but a lot of rocks that looked like arrowheads, to me anyway. Every now and then they would come back with that perfect point and the bragging would begin and they would always give me a hard time about my bag full of rocks. After awhile I had collected a pretty good sized rock pile and decided to make me a rock garden in front of my shop. While moving all those rocks to their final home I began to notice some strange markings on some of them and after looking closer I noticed how much some of the sharper pointed rocks looked like teeth from some kind of animal or fish. I had found shark teeth before walking the banks of creeks and streams but most were tiny little things, some of these I was finding were much larger and looked like regular rock rather than the normal looking shark teeth we more commonly found. When I would try to explain my thoughts they would laugh and just tell me to, 'drink another beer, and you will think more clearly in the morning'. LOL I then decided I'd find me a new hobby but ever time I walked by that rock garden I would always see something different than I had saw the last time I looked. One day on an outing with my oldest son I dug up this rock that really looked weird it was covered with mud but I could tell there was something different about it so I threw it in my bucket. Yeah, I'll admit I am hooked as I no longer carry that little bag tied to my belt loop I now carry along a couple 5 gallon buckets. Besides, that little bag would get so heavy it was hard for me to keep my pants up. Anyway, when I got home and dumped out my buckets on the ground so I could wash off some of the mud and as soon as I sprayed that one funny looking rock with the hose this shape of what looked like a snake popped out like a neon sign. Once clean I could tell that the rock was a sedimentary type rock by the layers that it showed. There were some dark layers and in-between were some white layers. Anyway, the top of the rock that had the white rocks on it looked like it had been carved away to make the shape of a snake. Boy!! I really got laughed at when I let the boys know what I thought I had found. They decided there was no amount of beer that would ever make me normal. In my limited knowledge about fossils I knew that when a fossil forms only the bone or more solid parts of animal would fossilize and become rock so I knew, or I thought I knew that the whole snake would not be presented the way this one was. So I decided that some poor Indian one day stumbled onto this rock and a light bulb went off in his head and he said to himself, "you know Tonto, you haven't given the little lady back at the Tee Pee a present in a long time. Maybe I'll sketch up a picture of a snake on this rock and give it to her for her birthday. Then she can replace that awful looking picture of her mother she has hanging on the Tee Pee wall. Old Tonto was always thinking of ways to keep the peace back at camp. Sadly, he probably should have been paying more attention to his surroundings cause along came a big ol bear and he jumped out of the woods just as Tonto was putting the finishing touches on his masterpiece and ate him in one big bite. Thankfully, the bear spit out that rock right there on the edge of the bank before he headed off back to high country. I'm going to post a pic of this rock for you guys to take a look at and hopefully someone can tell me if my thoughts are anywhere near something that could be possible.
  6. rapp creek hunting

    Combined the results of two trips to the freshwater creek (five hours total of hunting). Good variety, but no size and lots of broken stuff. One place I was digging in fine gravel and found several vertebrae, few intact, skate teeth, lots of drum "teeth", many broken, and three angel shark teeth, one broken. Also found small rootless tiger shark tooth and a badly broken small mako. The other spot, more sand and shells (probably should start collecting them, just fragile) yielded mostly sand tiger teeth. More overlap than I note here, but gives the picture. Found three sand tiger symphysials, highly unusual (wish they were cowshark! ) Did find two broken cowshark teeth, one each spot).
  7. Non-shark Tooth ID please

    I found this yesterday at Westmoreland State Park in Virginia, which I think is Miocene stuff. Can anyone ID?
  8. I started collecting a new Eocene research site in Virginia this year. I have written landowner permission to collect this site. I’m posting a few quick pictures of what I found in a single recent trip to this site. When I’m at the site, I dig formation out and sift it in a ½ inch mesh sift in stream water. A window screen catches what falls through the ½ inch mesh sift. I take home the material caught by the window screen, break it down further through washing/drying cycles, and finally search the residue for fossils. I spend about three hours per trip sifting at the site and another 3 hours or so breaking down the material that I brought home. I want to show what I find at the site in the ½ inch sift versus what I find in the material that I bring home. For those of you who sift at a site but don’t catch what falls through your sift, I want to show you what you could be missing. Every site is different. However, unless you bring some of the smaller material home to check it out, you will never know what you are missing. The below picture shows what I found in my sift at this site in my ½ inch mesh sift during this trip. I could use a ¼ inch mesh sift at the site to find more at the site but that dramatically increases my time looking in my sift at the site and the smaller mesh size tends to damage more (cusplets, root lobes, etc.) of the specimens that fall through the mesh. Not a bad trip with some turtle bone and shell, a few sand tiger teeth, a few large bony fish vertebrae and some large fish coprolites. For the record I usually find a few more shark teeth in my sift than I did this trip. However, all of the pictures below show what I found at home in the material that was caught by the window screen, a very large number of high quality fossils. For size reference the white paper plates are 9 inches in diameter and there are two gem jar sizes, 1.75 inches and 1.125 inches in diameter. Nice quality shark, ray, bony fish, sea snake etc. specimens: Damaged or lower quality specimens: Mostly odd bony fish bones: Bony fish vertebrae: Shark and ray vertebrae: Bony fish jaws and partial jaws: Ray teeth and ray dermal denticles: Cookie cutter tooth and a few nurse shark teeth: Fish coprolites: Lignitized nuts/seeds: Shell casts: If I only sifted at this site and didn’t take home material caught by the window screen look at all of the fossils that I would be missing each trip. What are you missing???? Marco Sr.
  9. Unidentified Virginia vertebrate fossils

    These are some fossils that I couldn't quite identify while out looking around an area of land in the Nottoway river drainage today. The first appears to be some sort of bone, my guess is a vertebra potentially belonging to a crocodile, though I am very new to this and am quite possibly incorrect in this guess  Next up is a decent sized fragment of a shark tooth that I initially thought to be a young megalodon, but then wasn't quite so sure after noting the presence of what appears to be a slightly weathered cusp on the side of the tooth that is still present, alongside the fact that the tooth appears to have a slight curvature to it Any insight is well appreciated, thanks! 
  10. Hello everyone, I'm new to the forums, but have been a pretty dedicated fossil hunter for many years. My main goal has always been to find high quality megalodon teeth. For me, it doesn't get any better than discovering the weapons of these ancient leviathans. My searching has generally been on the Potomac, but I've decided to expand my search to the rivers of southern Virginia. And rather than go it alone, I wanted to see if there were any other Meg fanatics in Virginia that would want to collaborate with me. I'm looking to create a circle of friends, maybe 4 or 5 people, that are all willing to share coordinates of hot spots and places to avoid. I figure if we work together we all come out ahead. I generally go searching once a week, but no less than once every two weeks. So that's about the cadence you can expect to get info from me. If you're interested, send me a message. Thanks, Jake
  11. 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.
  12. Decapod claw or pseudofossil?

    99% sure this is just a rock, but the shape just keeps me wondering... Found along the beach of Stratford Hall in Montross, Virginia on 7/6/19. Any thoughts?
  13. rapp beach hunting

    Quick trip by the beach. Has been dry, was hoping the water would be clear. The water was clear but didn't find anything outside the surf. A few small pieces of shrimp coprolite burrows, a 'wormed' enamel 'medium'-sized mako, and a few others. Hot and dry. Thunderstorms predicted over the next few days, maybe will stir up the beach?
  14. I got to make my first trip to Westmoreland State Park (WSP) today. I hit the beach around 1330 today (low tide was ~1430). As expected...it being a Saturday... the place was packed. Most of the traffic was on the first 1/3 of the beach, so I opted to walk about halfway down the beach and setup shop. I can't say that I had lofty expectations, as this was only my second fossil hunting trip. I was surprised to find my first tooth within about 10 minutes. I had multiple sifting sorts (or whatever you want to call it) that had 2+ teeth in them. One had three teeth. It was interesting to see how the teeth were clumped in a spot. I'd find 5+ teeth in a 4' radius in x < 5 minutes and then not find any for 15+ minutes while hitting an area a few times that size. For only two hours work...I was happy with the results. The bottom row includes some junk, to include a couple that I'm guessing are not teeth. Please disregard the amateur hour sorting. The largest one of the bunch. As far as condition...this little guy is the best one of the lot. The badly broken one here...is this a Mako? You can't really make it out, but the serrations on this one look really nice.
  15. Hello everyone! I have been a fossil hunter for two years now and wanted to share just some of my favorite finds so far! All were found in Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. Thanks for looking!
  16. First attempt!

    Went to Virginia a few months ago and came home with a few Chesapectin nefrens encased in solid rock. This one was only exposed as a ring of shell material in a ball of clay, calcite, iron ,broken shell and who knows what else. Normally I prep things with soft brushes, dental picks, a water pick, and very gentle fingers. That wasn't cutting it this time and I had to get aggressive. I spent 3+ hours with a rotary tool and zero practice. It's no museum piece, but it's not horrible. I could simply collect the same species, from the same member of the same formation, at a much closer spot, where the matrix is much looser, but I gotta learn sometime. Suggestions for next time?
  17. Ecphora Snail

    From the album Virginia Miocene

    Ecphora sp. Miocene Choptank Formation Virginia
  18. Scallop

    From the album Virginia Miocene

    Chesapectin nefrens Westmoland County, VA Choptank Formation Middle Miocene C. nefrens is fairly common in the Choptank Formation, but the level of sculptural detail preserved in this particular specimen just blew me away when I gently brushed off the loose sediment.
  19. Scallop

    From the album Virginia Miocene

    Chesapectin nefrens Westmoland County, VA Choptank Formation Middle Miocene C. nefrens is fairly common in the Choptank Formation, but the level of sculptural detail preserved in this particular specimen just blew me away when I gently brushed off the loose sediment.
  20. First attempt!

    Went to Virginia a few months ago and came home with a few Chesapectin nefrens encased in solid rock. This one was only exposed as a ring of shell material in a ball of clay, calcite, iron ,broken shell and who knows what else. Normally I prep things with soft brushes, dental picks, a water pick, and very gentle fingers. That wasn't cutting it this time and I had to get aggressive. I spent 3+ hours with a rotary tool and zero practice. It's no museum piece, but it's not horrible. I could simply collect the same species, from the same member of the same formation, at a much closer spot, where the matrix is much looser, but I gotta learn sometime. Suggestions for next time?
  21. On a class field trip for 3rd Block (3rd Period), we went to Freedom Park to measure slope, air temperature, soil temperature, etc. of the Northern & Southern sides/slopes of hills. In between the hill slants, there was a creek bed. Inside the creek bed, there are fossils that I just had to pick up some. I got this oyster and this other shell. It seems everywhere I go (someplace new in nature, or a field trip) I always find either a fossil shell or seashell or land shell. It's really weird, but cool, because mollusks are my favorite type of fossil. And fossils are my favorite study. I am somewhat surprised, still, when I find the shells and fossils, even though it happens every time. The white one I've never seen before, but it's hard to identify because it's broken. I wish I knew what it was...I've tried to figure it out. Actually....I have a guess. It's some kind of clam. It's a tongue shell! It's gotta be! These fossils I found in that creek. I thought it was an interesting story, so I wanted to share it.
  22. Hello everyone! I have not posted in a while because I have not been on any trips recently. However, I just recently had the opportunity to go on a Fossil collecting tour in a Miocene exposure in VA. I was able to meet the helpful and friendly @SailingAlongToo (thanks to him I was able to learn about this fantastic opportunity). My mom, dad, and best friend spent Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19 collecting fossils along a river. On Saturday, my mom found a killer posterior meg using a kitty litter scooper in a gravel bar after not finding anything for 1.5 hours. I found two crocodile teeth and some hastalis teeth around 1.5 inches. My best friend found some hastalis teeth, and my dad found a large “cookie” Fossil of a vertebra I believe. On Sunday mom found some nice hemis and an item that could not be readily identified. I found half of a juvenile meg and a posterior meg tooth. My dad found a larger gator tooth, and my best friend also found some hemis. Here are some pictures, thanks for reading!
  23. Chippokes State Park VA

    Not a very exciting trip, but we went out to Chippokes Plantation State Park in Surry, VA for Father’s Day to have a walk on the beach and relax, and I found a nice coral, a red mako tooth, some other small teeth, and a bonito nose.
  24. rapp creek hunting

    A little under the weather (and having truck trouble) but took a break for a few hours hoping to find more shrimp coprolites after recent thunderstorms. Humid, but not particularly hot, lots of frogs. Despite lots of digging in last week's spot, not much mixed in the gravel, mostly small broken stuff (one vert, one angel shark tooth, some drum teeth). I always wonder if I am 'mining' an area of the stream bed that was picked over 30 years ago. Finally found a mottled tiger shark tooth, relatively rare on that site. I have some small pieces drying but no strong suspicions of shrimp coprolites. Before leaving I hit an older spot which has been good for cowshark teeth. First screening found a broken ecphora, a pretty rootless cowshark tooth and a broken cowshark tooth. On the way out checked two other spots, maybe next week?
  25. rapp creek hunting

    A perfect weather day anyway! "My" spots had been over-run, so started digging with a garden trowel at the base of an undercut bank, hoping roots might hold a cowshark (near where I found my only cowshark symphyseal years ago) or bigger (mako) tooth. More gravel than shells so guessing near middle of the stream bed in the past (nothing big, so not too distant past!) Did find three ecphora (not prized 30 years ago); the biggest did not survive a chunk of bone in the bucket alongside (may try to piece back together; a sickening loss, though missing its tail). Four verts (often seem to find in gravel), some round Tilly bones, 30+ small teeth, nothing exceptional, a stippeled piece of vertebra(?), skate teeth, small broken stinger . Lots of concretions, possibly some shrimp coprolites in a piece (will wait for total drying); the first ones I found were in the creek, since then all have been on a river beach. Bird eggs gone from nest (hopefully as fledglings), a black rat snake, many different frogs, a salamander (eft? ran on shore), and some interesting birds, that I didn't recognize. Wish I found more, but happy with a short hunt (two hour), not a difficult trip.