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Found 384 results

  1. Great Day at Matoaka

    Recently, I haven't been having tremendous luck along the Calvert Cliffs, but I headed down to Matoaka Beach again yesterday and was rewarded with one of my best fossil hunts to date! I arrived around 10am, a couple of hours before low tide, and the Chesapeake Bay was as still as I've ever seen it in the year since I started fossil hunting. A little wave action can often be helpful to kick up fossils, so from the top of the cliffs I wasn't expecting much. But as it turned out, the water was extremely clear, which helped me find more submerged fossils than I usually find, and there were extensive exposed shell and gravel beds along the beach. Here's my first shark tooth find of the day--nothing out of the ordinary, but a good condition Carcharhinus sp. Less than an hour in, I found this nice whale tooth (my best so far) tumbling at water's edge. When you find a trip maker early on, it's a good day. And then I found a Meg (or probably a Chub)! It's missing most of the root and part of the right side, but this is my best one to date. The Meg was soon followed by this huge Hemi. It has a bit of root erosion but still-sharp serrations and measures over 1.4" -- roughly the same size as the biggest Hemi I've found to date. I love when there's a big ol' shark tooth just waiting for you on top of the sand. More to follow...
  2. Calvert Cliffs Vert-Terrestrial Mammal?

    Hi all, Something different for today. I discovered this vertebra in the surf at Matoaka Cabins roughly 2 years ago. For those of you that don’t know, the rocks here are Miocene in age and preserve a nearshore marine environment. Cetacean remains are common, but other mammals (esp terrestrial) are not. Originally I thought it was a turtle vert, but now I’ve realized that it’s mammalian and possibly terrestrial in origin. It passed the burn test, by the way. My thought is that it is from a small mammal’s tail, as it closely resembles other mammalian caudal vertebrae. I’ve included a diagram of the vertebrae of Phenacodus, which show marked similarity. It’s not from Phenacodus, though as the deposits are far too young. Does anyone have any ideas on a better or more specific id? I’m not well versed in Cenozoic mammals. Thanks in advance.
  3. Merry Christmas to everybody! I am just catching up posting some cool finds from a few short trips I've made recently in Maryland--going back through time--Miocene, Eocene, Paleocene. (In the interest of time, I'm only posting the highlights, not everything I found, and not all of what my kids found.) Miocene-- After some heavy rains I snuck out early on a Friday for a quick solo trip to the Calvert Cliffs. Conditions were actually not great, as the water was still a little muddy and the waves were pretty rough due to blustery winds. After a couple of hours I was not finding much and getting ready to head out (dejected) to warm up with a hot cup of coffee. But just then the fossil gods took pity on me and uncovered this awesome mako. At just over 2", it's in perfect shape and my personal best! I took a quick video collecting it to share with my kids here: https://youtu.be/SItWtdYw7SQ
  4. Two Hollow Bones

    I found a couple of interesting fossil bones yesterday along the Calvert Cliffs (Miocene exposure) in Maryland. Any ideas to what these belonged? #1 - My guess is this one is a bird bone. It's smooth (inside and out) and hollow all the way through to the closed end. If this is from a bird, do you know what type of bone it is (anatomically)? And any thoughts on what type of bird it might be from? I realize that isolated and broken bones can't usually be identified too specifically, but this seems fairly large, so I'm wondering if there might be good candidates for type of bird. #2 - This spike-shaped/pointy bone is also at least partially hollow inside, though the walls of the bone are thicker/more robust than the one above. I'm not sure if the central cavity goes all the way through. I've only been able to confirm that it's a few centimeters deep, just past the longitudinal holes/borings on the outside of the bone; however, I think the cavity may extend further but is filled in with matrix (I don't have the tools handy at the moment to clean more of this out). Speaking of those holes on the outside, they're irregular/asymmetrical, and I'm guessing they're post-mortem invertebrate borings. As can be seen in the two photos on the bottom left there are two grooves on opposite sides that run the length of the bone--one of these is more distinct than the other, though the one on the other side might just be more worn. I haven't a clue what this one is, and would love to hear your thoughts!
  5. Three finds from Calvert Cliffs

    Below are three recent finds from Maryland's Calvert Cliffs (Miocene) that have me stumped. I'm not sure if they're all fossils, but hopefully you can help me figure that out. Thanks in advance for your thoughts! #1 - This looks like possibly coral to me, but is very different (and much smaller) than the Astrhelia palmata coral fossils that are pretty common from this spot. #2 - I have no idea on this one, but the lines on the sides made me think it could be a fossil. #3 - I wondered if this might also be some sort of coral ... or maybe just a volcanic rock? Whatever it is, I haven't seen anything similar from this area before.
  6. Mystery Bone Fragments?

    So, I know bone fragments are notoriously hard / impossible to fully identify. Unfortunately, they are my favorite things to pick up I am happy with most of my collection remaining unknown, but there are a couple pieces I feel may have more identifying characteristics? I'm very new to identifying fossils so please let me know if its something obvious or if they aren't even bone fragments to begin with! I will describe each piece and then post photos below. 1. Found at Douglas Point, Nanjemoy WMA in Maryland. Less than an inch long, black, grooved, shiny, looks a lot like many of my other little "unidentifiable" pieces except for a small section of serrations on one edge. Are they teeth? They all seem to be one form, if that makes sense, not individual teeth like shark teeth. 2. Found at Douglas Point, Nanjemoy WMA in Maryland. This one is the most "bone-looking" of the three, but I've read that the only large vertebrates in this area and time period were turtles and crocodiles. Its a strange shape, the bottom is rather concave like some kind of joint, or maybe a scute? I have no idea, I even wondered if it was a modern bone but it has the solid / rock-like feel of a fossil. 3. Found at Flags Pond, Maryland, part of the Calvert Cliffs formation. This is the most confusing to me. I can't even decide if its supposed to be a bone fragment or not, let alone a fossil. Its not black like most of my other bone fragments and is very porous but in a different way than the other pieces. It has the heavy rock-like weight and sound to it though. My first thought was weird rock, then weird coral? Then I thought, I don't know, maybe a bone? I've seen pictures of fossil bones online with similar color / texture but the shape is... strange. I'm very unfamiliar with aquatic mammal anatomy- which is what I'm assuming this would be if it is indeed a bone and not some strange rock or coral. I'm not looking for species identification or anything specific, but any thoughts or info on these guys would be nice to hear, especially so I can compare to what I find in the future. Love the shark teeth but its really cool to find things that aren't sharks too. Even just confirmation or not that they are fossils to begin with haha. Also let me know if I should add photos from different angles / more detailed shots, I didn't want to put too many images in one post. Thank you in advance and maybe I will post some of my less confusing collection soon
  7. Miocene Shark Teeth - ID

    Hello! I'm new to this forum and fossil hunting overall. I'd love some help identifying my best shark teeth finds so far (still holding out for some big ones). Especially the (partial?) on the top row, as it's very serrated and my biggest to-date. These are all from Calvert Cliffs, Matoaka / Long Beach area, and a couple from Flag Ponds, so all Miocene. (Please let me know if it would be helpful to upload any other photos or info.) Many thanks!
  8. Calvert Cliffs Fossil Bones

    I found the two objects below yesterday along the Calvert Cliffs in Maryland (Miocene exposure). Any insights on what they might be? Thanks! #1 - I’m not totally sure this is a fossil at all, but could it be a dolphin/whale inner ear bone? (Would be my first.) #2 - I know isolated and incomplete bones are hard to ID, but I’m wondering if there’s enough here to identify the type of bone and maybe even type of animal.
  9. One of my boys collected this strange joint bone fragment while we were at Calvert Cliffs yesterday. It has a shape we can't figure out--and it's completely hollow! It's too big to be bird (right)? So is there a natural process that could have hollowed it out like this? And what is it? Can anybody help?
  10. My kids and I have had a very successful year, so far, collecting a ton of Miocene fossils from the Calvert Cliffs. Along with some larger shark teeth, cetacean bones, etc., we accumulated a couple of containers full of smaller and broken teeth, ray plate pieces, unidentifiable bone fragments, and the like. After some discussion, my boys and I agreed it would be great if we could donate many of these "excess" finds to the Calvert Marine Museum to support their youth educational programs. This is actually where my kids and I first learned about fossil collecting from the Calvert Cliffs ourselves some years ago, and where the kids were able to search for (and take home) their first fossils from a simulated beach in the museum's "Discovery Room." We knew somebody must have donated those fossils, so maybe the museum would like to have ours. It could be a great opportunity to give back to the museum--and clear some counter space at home. So I sent a blind email to the museum's main address with our offer and shortly thereafter heard back from Dr. Stephen Godfrey, Curator of Paleontology. Although the Discovery Room was temporarily closed due to COVID, he said the museum was still giving out fossils in other educational programs and would love to accept a fossil donation from the boys. We were welcome to mail it in (boring), or bring it in in person (fun). Well, my boys had a scheduled day off from school last Friday, so we decided to take advantage and drive down to the museum with our donations. (Sadly, my daughter DID have school and couldn't join us.) Altogether, we brought down probably 500+ teeth, plates, bone pieces, coral fragments--including a bunch of teeth over 1/2"--the kind of stuff that a new kid would be thrilled to take home. When we got to the museum, Stephen came over from his offices and met us in a conference room to accept the goods. We sat down to do some paperwork (yes-paperwork!) and talk about what we had been collecting and, especially, the boys' best finds. Stephen seemed really impressed with the boys' willingness to give up some great stuff. I was proud of them for doing it. Well, after the transfer was done, Stephen offered to show us around the museum a bit. Of course, we jumped at the chance for a personal tour from the head curator. So off we went through the Paleontology wing into the fossil prep lab. There we met one of the volunteer preparators cleaning up a porpoise skull and we got a chance to see all of the prep tools and learn some prep techniques. Stephen showed us a bunch of fossils in the preparation process, including a jacketed baleen whale skull they had collected just a few weeks ago. He also showed us a mostly complete turtle carapace, some great vertebrae, and a lot of other cool skeletal material. We got to ask a lot of questions and learned a ton. Next, Stephen invited us to join him in the adjacent building to check out the fossil repository, not open to the public--or the way the boys and I thought of it--the inner sanctum! In this space there were movable shelves filled with boxes of cataloged fossils for long-term storage. But laid out in front were a few tables loaded with fossils that had recently come in and had yet to be processed. Stephen talked us through a bunch of these, including some pathological bones, a partly crystal-covered meg tooth, casts of a bear-dog jaw, a white shark tooth made into an Indian point, and--the highlight for me--a miocene rhino horn found at the cliffs. It was incredible what we saw in there! After getting our visual and tactile fill, we thanked Stephen for spending so much time with us --over an hour--and let him get back to his work. I know some on the forum know Stephen well, so this won't be news to them, but he is an incredibly knowledgeable and friendly person. It was great to meet him and learn so much from him. Back at the museum, we checked out all the fossil exhibits we had seen many times before. But what made this time different is that we ourselves had collected some of the kinds of stuff we were looking at in the displays. It was really cool to hear the boys say--"Hey, I have one of those," or "Dad, that's like the one you found." Having collected ourselves, the exhibit was so much more relatable--and also inspiring in all the things still out there to find. And, just to close the loop, on the way out, the boys stopped at the kids' fossil education table and there on the sign it said, plain as day, "1 fossil bag per child." So it was great for the boys to see that their donations would go to keep that table going and end up in some little kids' fossil baggie to take home themselves--and maybe start the cycle all over again. I hope you enjoy the pix! (P.S. The pix are posted with Stephen's permission, so no worries about that.)
  11. ID help on Shark Tooth

    I thought at first it might have been a small lower hemi but the more I looked at pictures, it also looked like it could be a symphyseal tooth. It is hard to see in the pictures but there are faint serrations on the tooth closer to the root. This was found near the Scientist Cliffs area of Calvert Cliffs. Thank you in advance!
  12. My daughter had off from "school" Wednesday, so we took advantage of the opportunity and perfect weather to hit the cliffs for a few hours. After several days of rough water and winds, the Bay was calm with a favorable tide and pretty empty of boat traffic as you'd expect on a weekday. Arriving around 11:00 a.m., still a few hours before low tide, we thought we had the place to ourselves. But we soon came across the fresh boot prints of another collector who had already been through looking for the low-hanging fruit at the high tide line. A little disappointed, but undeterred, we went about our searching business knowing we would just have to work a little bit harder. The receding tide was dropping off some decent hemis, here and there, with the occasional tiger thrown in, but nothing huge. Rolling over clay chunks finally paid off, though, with a beautiful mako (or c. hastalis?) which was pristine and looked like it just came out of the cliffs. As we continued on, we picked away here and there in the wash zone, but found nothing else remarkable. Kind of at the end of the beach, I told my daughter we needed to wade over to one last little area that is usually hard to get to, but where I've found a few great teeth before...
  13. Stormy Shark Tooth Hunt

    I've had this weekend marked on my calendar for a few weeks to take advantage of favorable projected tides by going shark tooth hunting at Matoaka! The remnants of Hurricane Sally scrambled that forecast, bringing high winds and surf to Maryland, but I decided to head down this morning anyway. When I arrived, the sky was fairly clear, but there was a strong, steady wind generating a constant stream of waves, and the tide was well above normal, leaving only a narrow strip of beach. The beach opened up a little bit after I walked and waded north but the storm had dumped a layer of fresh sand and there were almost no exposed shell beds. I searched for an hour before I found my first fossil of any note (a cetacean epiphysis). Then, shortly after that, I found my first shark tooth. It was worth the wait--a nice Carcharodon hastalis up near the high tide line! About a half hour later, I found a pristine Galeocerdo aduncus tooth at the water line. The serrations are still super sharp on this one.
  14. Miocene Shark Tooth ID? - I'm stumped!

    Hey Guys! I've been going through some of our Calvert Cliffs summer finds and came across this one that I can't ID. It looks like it has a couple of teensy cusplets, which is probably a useful clue for somebody who actually knows their stuff. Any ideas?
  15. I have here a 3" piece of bone, found in Calvert Cliffs, Maryland. I'm not well-versed enough with these to narrow it down further from marine mammal, and am hoping that these photographs contain some identifying features that may be useful to one more familiar with these. Can it be narrowed down any further?
  16. We were able to get out to visit the Calvert Cliffs area over the weekend and enjoy the nice weather and lower tides. We were able to take the kayaks out, water was a bit choppy on the way out but as time passed the wind calmed down quite a bit for the return trip. After beaching my kayak, within a few feet of it, I found a very small chub (first for me) and in great condition! Within a few more minutes I spotted the small shark vert rolling in the surf and knew it was a good day already. After some more searching, my wife found the biggest of the mako's pictured. We were also able to find three mostly complete Ecphora as well and some other smaller teeth. We didn't think we would beat the chub and mako this trip, but towards the end of our trip walking back to our kayaks I spotted a tiny black speck while surface scanning, I picked it up and had seen similar teeth posted here and in other groups and new exactly what it was. Was super ecstatic to have found my first symphyseal, cow shark upper. One to check off the bucket list for sure. Below are some pics from the day. In the process of getting a macro lens, sorry about the low quality on some of the up close pics. Also found the black flat bone fragment I wasn't sure what it was, so any insight would be appreciated!
  17. Dear Fossil Forum Members, My friend recently found this bone-looking piece on the beach near the St Marys formation at Calvert Cliffs. We have heard that many of the bones washing up are fragments of whale or dolphin bones. Since this piece is so big, we are thinking its some sort of whale bone. Could anyone please help verify this? Sorry there are no proper forms of measurement, for reference the piece is roughy 4.5in (11.5cm) wide and 6.5in (17cm) long. Here are some photos:
  18. What kinds of makos are these?

    The three shark teeth below are all from the Calvert Cliffs (Miocene) in Maryland. I have the two on the left (A. and B.) tentatively identified as Isurus desori, but I'm still learning my mako IDs, including the differences between true makos and Carcharodon hastalis. Hopefully these are identifiable despite their root conditions. I don't know if the tooth on the right (C.) is identifiable or not. Thanks in advance for any help!
  19. I found my first megatooth today! This was found in Calvert Cliffs Maryland, on my second kayaking trip down the Calvert formation. My and my friend visited beaches as we kayaked from Chesapeake Beach to Breezy Point and back. I found this tooth about half way down. Unfortunately this will be my last trip down Calvert Cliffs for a long time, so I am very happy I found this! I believe this is Carcharocles Subauriculatus, could anyone verify this?
  20. I have been looking into Maryland fossil sites, and am trying to plan a day trip, but I realize it is Labor day weekend, which can complicate things. How busy do the usual fossil beaches get in Maryland? I currently have Purse, Matoaka, and Calvert Cliffs on my list Should I just wait til next weekend? When is the best time to hit the beaches? I am especially looking for a Ecphora gardnerae, if there are any sites which would be better to focus my search at? Any advice would be appreciated! Thank you!
  21. Got back out with my kids a couple of times last week to the Calvert Cliffs for some crabbing and fossil hunting. The tides were really low so there was a lot more beach exposed than I've seen in awhile. We were primed for some nice finds and weren't disappointed! There was so much shell line and tidal bottom exposed, though, it was almost hard to pick where we wanted to search. Everywhere looked good! Anyway, we combed the prime areas as best we could and ended up with some really great teeth, verts, and a bunch of nice rib fragments for some reason. Teeth highlights were a really sweet giant white (C. Plicatilis) tooth -- I think -- a couple of cow shark teeth, and, of course, some great hemipristis for the Hemihunter! We picked up a couple of cool fish verts, too, but I could use help with ID on these--neither are tuna, I don't think. Also, what I thought at first was just another piece of ray plate (ho hum) turned out to be a chunk of ray barb, which I have never found before. I was glad my spidey sense told me to take a closer look at that one. We also pulled a few cetacean verts out of the tidal rubble, one still with some process attached, which was neat. Rolling over some clay chunks in search of hiding teeth paid off when we uncovered half of what must have been a beefy 3" meg--before it got weathered to heck. Still, it was half a meg! Finally, we collected another little mystery (to me) tooth with a small cusp and a really fat, triangular root. Any ideas on what that one is would be appreciated. Oh, we also came across a 6" blue crab that had just shed minutes before. It was so soft it couldn't even hold up a claw out of the water and felt like jello. Well, we brought that guy home, floured and fried him up whole, and sprinkled on some Old Bay. Delicious! I pulled together our best finds below. Enjoy the pics!
  22. I had Friday off and decided to head out to Matoaka Beach to do some shark tooth hunting along the Calvert Cliffs. I arrived bright and early and soon came across a decent-sized Hemi. Unfortunately, it was incomplete: missing one side of the root, some serrations, and part of the blade. That turned out to be the theme of the morning as I continued to find several other partial Hemis on the beach. When I finally found a complete tooth, it was in the 0.5- to 0.75-inch range, which is typically the size I find here. While I’ve found several tantalizing bits of larger Hemis at Matoaka, the largest complete tooth was under an inch. Still, finding even smaller and broken teeth is fun, and I had the beach mostly to myself with favorable tides. So, I kept going. And then, in a few inches of water, I saw what looked like a tooth. I definitely haven’t mastered the art of spotting submerged shark teeth. I’m used to my underwater “finds” being shells, rocks, leaves, twigs, and chunks of clay. But I reached down anyway. And I pulled up what is by far the largest Hemi I’ve found to date, measuring 1.28 inches along the slant and 1.22 inches wide—a complete and beautiful tooth! After a long day of fossil hunting, I had a few other nice finds too, but the Hemi was my trip maker. On my way out, I found one last broken tooth, which would have been a real monster, possibly in the 1.5-inch range. Maybe next time, I’ll find one of those intact too!
  23. Small posterior megs?

    I found these two shark teeth recently on separate hunts along the Calvert Cliffs in Maryland (Miocene exposures). I believe they're both small posterior megalodon teeth, which would make them my first found megs (aside from a previous small sliver of a tooth). They're both just over 2/3 of an inch slant height and clearly have some wear, though hopefully there are enough identifiable features here. The tooth on the right appears to have a thin bourlette; it's harder to see on the left, but I think there's one there as well. Both teeth have faint serrations, which you can see in the upper left photos of the more detailed views. Do these look like megs to you? More views of the tooth on the left: More views of the tooth on the right:
  24. Got out this week with my kids for several hours on Calvert Cliffs to see what we could find, dodging all the storms. Unfavorable windy conditions and a lot of sand brought in by the tropical storm made for tough searching on the beach, but we had good success working some of the larger fall piles. We're finding that these fall blocks hold a lot of bones that most other casual collectors overlook, even on heavily worked beaches. And we are getting better at spotting them and getting them out (mostly) intact. The big pieces closest to the water and wave action are always eroding out something interesting, especially way down low, and they are farther from the cliffs, so relatively safer to spend some time on. Here are the nicer finds, including a piece of porpoise (?) rib I was able to reassemble from pieces and an unidentified bone that I still need to fix up. The highlight for me was a really nice lower anterior mako (I. retroflexus ). I'm not sure, but I think it is pretty big for one of these anteriors. I spotted the root just exposed in a small rain runoff channel cut through the beach by the storm. I told myself something good HAD to be in one of those cuts. Looking and looking finally paid off! No megs, but still some good stuff. Enjoy the pics!
  25. I found this shark tooth a few weeks ago along the Calvert Cliffs (Miocene exposure) in Maryland and categorized it as Carcharodon hastalis. Looking at it again, I think it's perhaps Isurus desori. However, while I know C. hastalis can sometimes have cusplets, I'm not sure if that's true for I. desori. What do you think? Was my C. hastalis ID correct or would you label this one I. desori or something else? Whatever you think the correct ID is, if you could help point me to what you see as the defining characteristics, that would be great as well. Thank you!