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Found 224 results

  1. Chunk of mammoth tooth

    From the album Weekend at Peace River, Florida and surrounding areas

    Beautiful chunk of mammoth tooth from Florida's Peace River, Pleistocene epoch. Approx 4" x 3" x 1.25" This piece came out of the river like this. It has not been polished or tampered with in any way. Amazing!
  2. A beautiful Friday on the Peace River yielded a baby mammoth tooth! The photo is the top chewing surface, still sandy from the river. I also found my best river meg to date, 2" on the diagonal, and 2 tapir caps which, as a newbie fossiler, exactly doubles my collection of tapir caps. Thanks to the guidance of Shellseeker and another esteemed fossil friend who granted guidance and access to a more remote location.
  3. Mammoth molar morphology

    From the album proboscidea collection

    From oldest to youngest, front to back. Southern mammoth molar 3-2 million years old. Steppe mammoth molar 2 million -500,000 years old. Woolly mammoth molar 800,000-50,000 years old.
  4. Mammoth Id Help

    Hi. I need ID help for some mammoth stuff i got. I would like to know what mammoth species these things belonged to. 1. Mammoth tooth - Is between 0.1 and 1.8 million years old. - Was found in a gravel pit in Budapest, Hungary. 2. Two small pieces from a tusk - Is between 10.000 and 500.000 years old. - Was found in Russia.
  5. Mammoth Tooth?

    Found this interesting tooth today in about 2 feet of water along Des Moines River in Southeast Iowa. To be 100% honest I have no idea if it belongs to a mammoth because I have never found one and havnt studied them much. I compared it to pictures on the internet and it kind of looks like a mammoth tooth but it also doesn't.
  6. collection photo

    From the album proboscidea collection

    just an overview of my proboscidea fossils
  7. Here's the latest on molecular biology / biotechnology advances and our furry friend, the Woolly Mammoth. Unlike most dinosaur fossils, Woolly Mammoth remains are often found in frozen, less-deteriorated states in Siberia; and often contain viable proteins such as collagen, from which genetic sequences can be produced. In ice condition: Amazingly preserved woolly mammoth found frozen in Siberia after 39,000 YEARS goes on display in Tokyo http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2358695/Woolly-mammoth-frozen-Siberia-39-000-YEARS-goes-display-Tokyo-woolly.html Woolly mammoth discovery raises exciting possibilities http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/woolly-mammoth-discovery-raises-exciting-possibilities-1.1386398 The quest is to clone a mammoth. The question is: should we do it? http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/jul/14/wooly-mammoth-extinct-cloning-dna De-extinction: Mammoth prospect, or just woolly? http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-23602142 DNA study suggests hunting did not kill off mammoth http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24034954 Russian and Korean Researchers Will Inject Mammoth DNA Into Elephant Eggs, Resurrecting 10,000-Year-Old Beast http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2012-03/russian-and-korean-researchers-will-inject-mammoth-dna-elephant-eggs-resurrecting-10000-year-old-beast Resurrection Researchers Recreate Woolly Mammoth Protein in Living Cell http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-05/researchers-resurrect-mammoth-blood
  8. Here are 3 euro river finds. the top one is a lower steppe mammoth tooth (Rare) the middle is a lower straight tusked elephant tooth (Rarest) and a blue woolly upper. Got the 3 for a steal from my German connection. I like to brag about my amazing deals lol.
  9. Proboscidea Collection

    Hey guys, new to the forum but here is my collection focused on proboscidea but I collect other things mainly Oligocene mammal teeth and jaws, I don't have anything titanothere yet though.... also some dinosaur bones like my ceratopian jaw hinge, I've identified all of my fossils are except for the white gomp tooth on the stand, I think it might be Chinese platybelodon. anyways here it is. thanks -Rylawz
  10. Guessing Mamthoth Bones But

    im sure this is a tooth but i found alot of the skeleton stiull uncovering it alot is shattered but i wanted to point out the hatch marks on the bone, im not commpletlt sure its mammoth bu the tooth looks like it and it was clost to these parts... just wondering what th cut marks on the bone came from thanks i circled the spots sorry the camera sucks. but i a sure yopu they are not from the break of the bone these marks are aged... tyvm bh
  11. Woolly mammoth fossils unearthed at Transbay construction site by Andy Wright, Bay Citizen, September 12, 2012 http://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/pulse-of-the-bay/woolly-mammoth-bones-unearthed-transbay/ Mammoth tooth found at Transbay dig by Michael Cabanatuan, San Francisco Chronicle, September 13, 2012 http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Mammoth-tooth-found-at-Transbay-dig-3861381.php Woolly mammoth tooth found by SF construction crew, ABC7Chicago.com, September 13, 2012 http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/bizarre&id=8808955 Best wishes, Paul H.
  12. Peace River Find-Is This Mammoth Or Mastadon?

    I found these in the Peace River-Florida. I was told that these may be mammoth or mastadon enamel fragments. Can anyone confirm? Thanks
  13. Peace River Find-What Is This?

    I found this in the Peace River-Florida. The pictures are the not the greatest. The sides are etched which makes me think that they are either mammoth or mastadon. The lower picture is a similar piece. Please let me know your thoughts by looking at the top picture. Any help would be appreicated! Thanks
  14. Hello All! I need your help, but first I'd best introduce myself. I'm the new Program Coordinator -- and on-site paleontologist -- for the Waco Mammoth Site. For those of unfamiliar with the site, it's a late-Pleistocene recurrent mass-mortality site for Columbian mammoths and a scattering of other Rancholabrean megafauna. From 68 KA onwards at least two groups of mammoths and their camp-followers got caught in flash floods along a tributary of the Bosque River in what would become the western outskirts of Waco, TX. The site is currently a city-run in-situ display of six of those mammoths, in an enclosed climate-controlled shelter. The facility is loaded with educational potential, but at the moment all we've got is a (very nice) guided tour. I want to do better. One of the educational activities I'm looking to add in the near future is a screen-washing. I'll have the students screen and pick fossiliferous sediment and ID what they've found. They'll be able to keep most of what they find (with exceptions for scientifically important specimens) and all of their findings will get entered into a database that will be run through the PAST statistical package. I'll write up the results and try to get them published -- with the kids listed individually in the acknowledgements. The kids get real fossils, they get to participate in a real scientific study, and I get to do some research. I think it's an idea with potential, with one wrinkle; I'm having a hard time getting the sediment! I've tried buying phosphate gravel from the mines in Florida and North Carolina, but my efforts seem to be stalling. I know that some such gravel is available for resale, but it's a tad pricey. There's no way I could afford to buy the 100 or so kilos I want on the shoe-string budget I've got for the time being. If anyone has a line on a better source of bulk sediment, I'd love to hear from you! In fact, if you've got any ideas for spreading interest in paleontology, we need to talk. Paleontology is the gateway drug of science -- if we want to teach critical thinking in this country, fossils are the best place to start. Please help me work to make that happen. Regards, Don Esker
  15. Well Preserved Mammoth Found In Siberia

    Young Mammoth Likely Butchered by Humans (The carcass of the juvenile "Yuka" may have been cut up, eaten and then buried by ancient people.) by Jennifer Viegas, Discovery News, April 04, 2012, http://news.discovery.com/animals/woolly-mammoth-yuka-120404.html http://www.livescience.com/19475-juvenile-mammoth-butchered-humans.html Woolly mammoth carcass may have been cut into by humans by Ben Aviss, BBC News, http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/17525070 Yours, Paul H.
  16. Which End Is Up?

    I was out prospecting for new digging locations yesterday. Not supposed to do too much digging- just enough to test for the presence of fossils. I was please to find this one.. Usually I can easily tell the difference between the chewing surface and the root but on Mammoth, it is not so easy. I have showed this to a couple of fossil hunters, and I said that the bumps (left on photo #1, bottom of photo#3) are the occlusal surface and the broken edge is toward the roots. Both of them commented "Well, if you say so... So where are the roots , where is the chewing surface.. and are there easy "tells" to determine which is which when you only have one edge that seems to be UN-erupted ? Special-credit. Can you tell if this is forward or trailing edge of the tooth and possible position in the jaw? Thanks SS
  17. Mammoth Tooth?

    This was found in Grandville, Michigan. It was off the shore of the Grand River.
  18. Green Mill Run Trip (3)

    I went hunting for a couple hours today near the part of GMR where it meets the TAR river. It was super cold and my feet were numb after an hour. i had to use the floating screen and shovel instead of the raquet ball raquet. I did find a cool piece of tooth that i think is mastodon or mammoth. Found some nice great whites too. a few large Megs. some fish plates, one from a parrot fish. ear bone from a whale etc... the usual stuff. Good times!
  19. Mammoth And/or Mastodon Tooth?

    On a visit to my fiance's Grandfather's house, I spotted these fossils being used as paperweights. He didn't know what they were, but I'm hoping you might be able to help. My Dad thinks they might be Mammoth or Mastodon teeth. The images are taken from my phone, so they are not the best quality, but I can take more if necessary. Fossil 1: Fossil 2:
  20. Mammuthus primigenius lower jaw

    From the album Mammal Fossils

    Mammuthus primigenius (Blumenbach, 1799) A fragment of the left lower jaw of a woolly mammoth. Location: North Sea, Netherlands Age: Late Pleistocene

    © &copy Olof Moleman

  21. These are a few of the pdf files (and a few Microsoft Word documents) that I've accumulated in my web browsing. MOST of these are hyperlinked to their source. If you want one that is not hyperlinked or if the link isn't working, e-mail me at joegallo1954@gmail.com and I'll be happy to send it to you. Please note that this list will be updated continuously as I find more available resources. All of these files are freely available on the Internet so there should be no copyright issues. Articles with author names in RED are new additions since April 18, 2018. Order Proboscidea Family Elephantidae - Elephants and Mammoths Subfamily Stegotetrabelodontinae - Stegotetrabelodon and Stegodibelodon Ferretti, M.P., et al. (2003). Stegotetrabelodon (Proboscidea, Elephantidae) from the Late Miocene of Southern Italy.Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, 23(3). Ferretti, M.P., D. Torre and L. Rook (2001). The Stegotetrabelodon remains from Cessaniti (Calabria, Southern Italy) and their bearing on Late Miocene biogeography of the genus. The World of Elephants - International Congress, Rome 2001. Subfamily Elephantinae Tribe Loxodontini - Loxodonta Eggert, L.S., C.A. Rasner and D.S. Woodruff (2002). The evolution and phylogeography of the African elephant inferred from mitochondrial DNA sequence and nuclear microsatellite markers. Proc.R.Soc.Lond. B, 269. Godard, G. (2009). The fossil proboscideans of Utica (Tunisia), a key to the 'giant' controversy, from Saint Augustine (424) to Peiresc (1632). Geological Society, London, Special Publications, Vol.310. Tribe Elephantini - Paleoloxodon, Elephas and Mammuthus Elephantini - Africa/Middle East Albayrak, E. and A.M. Lister (2012). Dental remains of fossil elephants from Turkey. Quaternary International, 276-277. da Silva Marinheiro, J.A. (2015). Proboscideans and other vertebrates from Anchrif, Morocco. Masters Dissertation - Universidade Nova De Lisboa. Osborn, H.F. (1934). Primitive Archidiskodon and Palaeoloxodon of South Africa. American Museum Novitates, Number 741. Rabinovich, R. and A.M. Lister (2016). The earliest elephants out of Africa: Taxonomy and taphonomy of proboscidean remains from Bethlehem. Quaternary International, xxx. (Article in press) Rook, L., M.P. Ferretti and Y. Libsekal (2001). Analysis of the Early Pleistocene Elephants from Buia (Eritrea). The World of Elephants International Congress - Rome. Elephantini - Asia/Malaysia/Pacific Islands Chen, X. and H.-w. Tong (2016). On the hindfoot bones of Mammuthus trogontherii from Shanshenmiaozui in Nihewan Basin, China. Quaternary International, xxx. (Article in press) Guang-biao, W., et al. (2006). Pliocene and Early Pleistocene Primitive Mammoths of Northern China: Their revised taxonomy, biostratigraphy and evolution. Journal of Geosciences, Osaka City University, Vol.49, Article 5. Hooijer, D.A. (1955). Fossil Proboscidea from the Malay Archipelago and the Punjab. Zoologische Verhandelingen, 28(1). Kundal, Y.P. and S.N. Kundal (2011). Elephas cf. E. maximus indicus (Elephantidae, Mammalia) from the Post Siwalik Deposits of Jammu Province, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 49(3). Kuzmin, Y.V., L.A. Orlova and I.D. Zolnikov (2003). Dynamic of the mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) population in Northern Asia: radiocarbon evidence. In: Advances in Mammoth Research (Proceedings of the Second International Mammoth Conference, Rotterdam). Reumer, J.W.F., J. De Vos and D. Mol (eds.), DEINSEA 9. Larramendi, A. (2014). Skeleton of a Late Pleistocene steppe mammoth (Mammuthus trogontherii) from Zhalainuoer, Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, China. Palaontol.Z., Published on-line. Lim, T.T. (2013). Quaternary Elephas Fossils from Peninsular Malaysia: Historical Overview and New Material. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2013, Supplement Number 29. Nanda, A.C. and G. Corvinus (2000). Skull characteristics of two proboscideans from the Upper Siwalik Subgroup of Nepal. N.Jb.Geol.Palaont.Abh., 217(1). Orlova, L.A., et al. (2003). The Mammoth Population (Mammuthus primigenius Blum.) in Northern Asia: Dynamics and Habitat Conditions in the Late Glacial. Russian Geology and Geophysics, Vol.44, Number 8. Orlova, L.A., et al. (2001). Chronology and environment of woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius Blumenbach) extinction in northern Asia. The World of Elephants - International Conference, Rome 2001) Saegusa, H. (2001). Comparisons of stegodon and elephantid abundances in the Late Pleistocene of southern China. The World of Elephants International Congress - Rome. Stuart, A.J., et al. (2002). The latest woolly mammoths (Mammuthus primigenius Blumenbach) in Europe and Asia: a review of the current evidence. Quaternary Science Reviews, 21. Takahashi, K., et al. (2007). AMS 14C chronology of the world's southernmost woolly mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius Blum). Quaternary Science Reviews, 26. Tripathi, C. and P.K. Basu (1983). A Fossil Elephant from the Middle Pleistocene Alluvial Deposit of Narmada Valley, M.P. Journal of the Palaeontological Society of India, Vol.28. Tshen, L.T. (2013). Quaternary Elephas Fossils from Peninsular Malaysia: Historical Overview and New Material. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement Number 29. Wei, G.-B. and A.M. Lister (2005). Significance of the Dating of the Majuangou Site for Understanding Eurasian Mammoth Evolution. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 43(3). Wei, G.-B., et al (2010). New materials of the steppe mammoth, Mammuthus trogontherii, with discussion on the origin and evolutionary patterns of mammoths. Science China (Earth Sciences), Vol.53, Number 7. Wei, G.-B., et al (2003). The earliest specimens of the steppe mammoth, Mammuthus trogontherii, from the Early Pleistocene Nihewan Formation, North China. Earth Science, 57. Zheng, M. (2007). Fossils of Paleoloxodon naumani from Jixian, Tianjin, China. Vertebrata PalAsiatica, 45(1). Elephantini - Europe (including Greenland and Siberia) Agostini, S., et al. (2012). Mammuthus meridionalis (Nesti, 1825) from Campo di Pile (L'Aquila, Abruzzo, Central Italy). Quaternary International, 276-277. Alvarez-Lao, D.J., et al. (2009). The Padul mammoth finds - On the southernmost record of Mammuthus primigenius in Europe and its southern spread during the Late Pleistocene. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 278. Athanassiou, A. (2012). A skeleton of Mammuthus trogontherii (Proboscidea, Elephantidae) from NW Peloponnese, Greece. Quaternary International, 255. Athanassiou, A. (2010). An elephant skeleton from NW Peloponnese, Greece. In: The World of Mammoths, Vth International Conference on Mammoths and their relatives (Le Puy-en-Velay). Athanassiou, A., et al. (2015). Cranial evidence for the presence of a second endemic elephant species on Cyprus. Quaternary International, 379. Aureli, D., et al. (2012). Straight-tusked elephants in the Middle Pleistocene of northern Latium: Preliminary report on the Ficoncella site (Tarquinia, central Italy). Quaternary International, 255. Bagyusheva, V.S. and V.V. Titov (2012). The evolution of Eastern European meridionaloid elephants' dental characteristics. Quaternary International, 255. Baryshnikov, G. (2003). Mammuthus primigenius from the Crimea and the Causasus. In: Advances in Mammoth Research. Reumer, J.W.F., J. De Vos and D. Mol (eds.), DEINSEA 9. Baygusheva, V.S., V.V. Titov and G.I. Timonina (2012). Two skeletons of Mammuthus trogontherii from the Sea of Azov region. Quaternary International, 276-277. Boeskorov, G.G., et al. (2014). Preliminary analyses of the frozen mummies of mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius), bison (Bison priscus) and horse (Equus sp.) from the Yana-Indigirka Lowland, Yakutia, Russia. Integrative Zoology, 9. Boismier, W.A., C. Gamble and F. Coward (eds.)(2012). Neanderthals Among Mammoths. Excavations at Lynford Quarry, Norfolk. English Heritage, Swindon. (entire 553 page book) Capozza, M. (2001). Microwear analysis of Mammuthus meridionalis (Nesti, 1825) molar from Campo de Conte (Frosinone, Italy). The World of Elephants International Congress - Rome. Debruyne, R., V. Barriel and P. Tassy (2003). Mitochondrial cytochrome b of the Lyakhov mammoth (Proboscidea, Mammalia): new data and phylogenetic analyses of Elephantidae. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 26. Dimitrijevic, V., et al. (2015). The latest steppe mammoths (Mammuthus trogontherii (Pohlig)) and associated fauna on the Late Middle Pleistocene steppe at Nosak, Kostolac Basin, Northeastern Serbia. Quaternary International, xxx. 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  22. Ancient Hunters

    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.
  23. Sidetracked

    April 3, 2010 Adrenalin pumped through me like it usually does on the way to a new location. While on the road, I enjoyed ‘working out’ the geology I traveled over. The sunny spring morning framed the entire outdoors in vivid color, and from the corner of my eye, I noticed some fresh excavation in the distance. Like many other places, I made a mental note of it and continued to my destination. Dozens of miles and minutes later, my friend, Bob, and I had pulled our gear together and loaded things into the boat. We waded through the spring bloom and poison ivy and began a journey we would not soon forget. Golden groundsel & Texas bluebonnets I wanted to learn more about one of my favorite geologic outcrops on this trip, the Lower Cretaceous Washita Group. Its formations have fascinated me with the remains of creatures of incredible variety and beauty. From the monster-sized Eopachydiscus ammonites to the simple, elegant form of Kingena wacoensis brachiopods, the North Texas strata have enchanted fossil hunters for years. According to some of the latest research, the lowest in the group, the Kiamichi Formation, is supposed to be around 103.5 million years old. It is followed by the more well known Duck Creek Formation at near 102 million years old. The Fort Worth, Denton, Weno, and Pawpaw Formations are found in the middle of the group. Above these, the Main Street Limestone (about 97 million years old) is overlain by the Grayson Marl. The Washita Group is finally capped at close to 96 million years old by the Buda Formation. Our trip started near the ‘bottom’; just where was our next challenge. One of our first clues came in the water when the partial whorl of a Mortoniceras ammonite laid in contrast to the bottom gravel. My interest was further piqued by a second ammonite wedged beneath a few rocks on the next gravel bar. Other fossils in combination with these ammonites and a bank bluff of alternately receding layers of marl and hard stone suggested we were in the Fort Worth Formation. Partial Mortoniceras ammonite fragment Mortoniceras sp. ammonite Of course, we kept in mind that the gravel bars contained the reworked fossils of any formations found upstream. But before long, Bob found a large Mortoniceras ammonite eroding from the silt covered formation. Mortoniceras sp. ammonite As we moved along the stream, it became apparent that no one had collected there in a long time. Large Macraster echinoids and additional ammonites were scattered periodically in the gravels. It was amazing to see so many. Bob found two other large ammonites hiding in the gravel. We picked up a few more fossils along the way, but most looked their best where they laid...capturing a moment of potential Cretaceous perfection. Larger Mortoniceras sp. ammonites found by Bob Macraster obesus fossil sea urchins Keeping us company in water were other creatures, too. A shy red-eared turtle and a well-fed diamond backed water snake added to the adventure. But it was a close encounter with several spawning longnose gar that kept the adrenalin flowing. Diamond backed Water Snake Red-eared Turtle Spawning Longnose Gar Bob’s haul and my finds About mid-afternoon, we had a nice load of fossils in the boat, so we headed for the take-out. On the way, I contemplated a few options to round out the day. Then I remembered the fresh excavation on the morning drive. So we loaded up and headed that way. Upon arrival, I realized the site was not as large as it appeared earlier in the day. A utility easement near the road had been reshaped by a bulldozer. In the course of their work, they had cleared a large ditch and exposed the local geology. We thought we would give it a quick look to see what formations were present. Bob walked slightly ahead of me as we descended into the shallow water. Sticky yellow clay and a few Ilymatogyra arietina oysters stuck to my shoes. Then, I froze. “No way...you’ve got to be kidding,” I uttered. Bob turned and responded, “What?” I looked up at him from where I had dropped to my heels, “I’m about 90% sure this is ivory…mammoth ivory! It’s part of a tusk!” My heart pounded as I looked just below the water at its fragmented surface. Silt covered most of the concentric layers, but I recognized the fragmentation pattern from previous tusk finds. We pulled out our cameras and began the preliminary documentation. Initial exposure It was late afternoon, and I did not know the size of the find. But another problem was more obvious; the shallow water clouded with the touch of a finger. The clay appeared to be reworked Grayson marl (Del Rio Clay), so it would not be hard to excavate. However, the Pleistocene gravels scattered within it would make any digging awkward. After sizing up our options, we decided to get creative with the water to maintain visibility. Bob generously labored to keep clear water flowing across the area I slowly excavated with my knife and rock hammer. Working in the silty water was slow and frustrating. There were moments I just used my hands to ease away the gravel and clay. I thought I could expose the end of the tusk in a short time; but as the sun descended lower on the horizon, the realization that I might not, began to sink in. Late in the day, we took our final series of photos. The long shadows and tired muscles signaled the moment to make some tough decisions. There were about three feet of tusk exposed and it was all underwater. It was extremely fragile. To try to remove it would have destroyed it. So, I made the decision to carefully cover it up. Although it was a difficult choice, given the circumstances, I thought it was the right one. To excavate it properly would require drier times or a small coffer dam, plaster, reinforcement, and more tools. Even if it was removed under the best conditions, the final preparation would be a huge challenge. It was time to call in ‘the troops'. Cloudy water was a constant problem Roots penetrated one end of the tusk Angling downward into the clay and gravel Bob and I discussed tentative plans to find someone to lead a future excavation. Then, I graciously thanked him for his efforts and, with a handshake on a day well spent, we parted company. During the long drive home, I called a couple of friends for assistance with the new ‘tusk project’ and gathered more leads to follow up. What a memorable day! I called my wife and told her we got a little sidetracked on the way home...when she heard ‘why’ she said, “You’ve got to be kidding!” June 2010 Postscript: At the end of April, after speaking and corresponding with several universities and groups, I was finally able to find an organization to take on the ‘tusk project’. They have contacts within the paleontology department of a local university and they hope to use the dig as a training opportunity. The question on everyone’s mind: Are there bones associated with the tusk? Organizing a university dig takes a little time. Nevertheless, this story will have another chapter in the future.
  24. A Humerus Trip

    August 15, 2009 It all started on a small, secluded Texas waterway in the Jungle of Gigantism (you know better than to ask), we watched a log submerge with purpose... but, it was no log. Big reptiles were only a hint of the giant to come. Shortly afterward, we pulled into the bank and my friend Dan offered, "you want upstream or downstream?" Words he later said would influence a fossil career. It was 7:45 in the morning. I headed downstream to low gravel ledge. Within a short time, I found an unusual shaped bone, a little over a foot long, wedged into the bank. It turned out to be a limb bone of a giant sloth! It even had gravelly sandstone attached to it. I laid my paddle beside it and continued to search the ledge. Finding nothing else, I thought that I should check out where the ledge dropped into the water...and there it was. A dinner plate-sized dome edged from the steep face, halfway down to the water. To the casual observer, it would seem to be another rock, but the shape resonated in my consciousness - bone...big bone. Sloth bone I returned to the first bone and took a few in situ photos. Dan was working his way back toward the boat about 100 yards away. He hollered out that he was going to check out the opposite bank. I signaled a 'thumbs up', and decided to call my wife. I excitedly told her that we were well underway on our expedition, and that I had just found a good sized limb bone. I also told her that I might have found something BIG, and that I'd get in touch with her later. While Dan continued to wander the opposite gravel bar, I dropped over the ledge to take a few photos of the "dome" in the face of the bank. "Hey Dan, you need to come over here. I want your opinion on something." I grinned inside; there were logistics to work out....my mind was racing! We had over 2 dozen miles to travel...in Dan's nearly maxed out two man kayak. This was going to get interesting.... Proximal "dome" exposed on bank face I spent the next several minutes going over the entire area again. The reason was twofold: I needed to work off some adrenalin, and it's easy to miss something when you're that hyped up. Dan finally arrived, and I guided him to the first bone. He reacted, "Whoa! That's significant! It looks like sloth to me." "I found something else," I replied. We scrambled over the bank and dropped into the mud below the small ledge. "What do you think this is?" I grinned. His eyes went wide and he started rubbing some of the dirt off the dome to get a better look at the details. We both shook our heads in awe. I scooped up some water and splashed it over the dome. Dan rubbed it like there was a genie inside. We both took a closer look, then shook our heads in amazement...BONE! I was a little closer to one of my dreams of finding another fossil giant. We started digging...and the apparent became more obvious as the end of a massive bone slowly emerged from the soil. Suddenly, I turned to Dan, "Did you hear that?" "No; what?" "I hear a boat coming." Now, we are a bit protective of productive fossil sites, but the fishermen (that we eventually engaged in conversation) appeared to be friendly enough. It seems that a dentist, a chiropractor, and their friend wanted to do some fishing. They were also looking for some pieces of petrified wood, so we quickly obliged them with the location of a few large pieces we found upstream. A little later, they returned. We had just extracted the first few pieces of the bone. The largest was close to a saturated 60 lbs. In the time they had been upstream, Dan and I analyzed the transport logistics and boat capacity...we knew we had a dilemma. There was no way we could haul all of this bone more than 20 miles. So, we struck a deal on more fossil wood while I took down some phone numbers and a calculated risk. I placed the large proximal end securely into a corner of the floor of their boat. They thanked us for the wood, and we agreed to meet at a location downstream later in the day. Even with the phone numbers and brief rapport, I winced as they slowly rounded the bend. With a deep breath, I forced the what ifs from my mind; we still had a large piece of bone in the bank. After two and a half hours of bruising, bloody digging into clay and gravel with improvised rock hammers and knives, Dan and I lifted out the final piece of the monster bone. This joint confirmed which part of the skeleton I had found. The "dome" turned out to be the proximal end of a nearly complete Columbian Mammoth humerus (top of the front leg)! It had angled directly back into the bank. Although fractured into several pieces, it was later re-assembled to be just over 48 inches long and around 120 lbs! It's massive and huge! Author badgering the bone Dan working to free the distal end ...Back in the water, we had to rearrange some things on the kayak to achieve proper trim. Tentatively, and with a little fine tuning, we continued our journey downstream. Several hours later, we passed our waterborne associates, and told them we would see them later. Along the way further downstream, we stopped periodically to check likely looking spots for more fossil bone. Occasionally, we would find a large chunk of petrified wood, and stand it up near the water. We hoped to show more goodwill toward our upstream transport team. Author with the distal end Reaching another prime location, we pulled in and started searching. There were many large pieces of fossil wood here, so we stacked them up. With a flash of insight, I reminded Dan that we weren't far from a nearby road. If I could persuade the fishermen to take me and the rest of the bone a short distance further downstream, then they would be free of any later rendezvous. We could pay them with all the petrified wood, and I would also be free of worry. Then, I could hike the pieces of bone to a hidden spot near the road, and go back to the water where he could pick me up. Dan agreed, and within a short time our plan went into action. I profusely thanked the guys for their assistance and we parted company. Near the road, I scouted the area for a hiding place and promptly secured the fossil treasure. A quick survey from all angles left me confident it would be there later. Soon, Dan came into view upstream, and we were off to see what other bounty awaited us. Several other finds were made that rounded out a spectacular adventure. As we loaded the boat onto my vehicle, darkness soon caught us. By the time we reached my hidden cache and got it loaded, it was 10:30 PM. It had been quite a day! Primary pieces Over 48 inches long Columbian Mammoth humerus Awesome discovery!