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Found 67 results

  1. Here is a brief report from one of our latest forays into Calvert County, MD. The well-known stretch of shoreline along the western Chesapeake Bay is loaded with Miocene fossils, with the Calvert, St. Mary's, and Choptank formations progressively exposed along a ~24 mile stretch of beach and cliffs. We found an Airbnb in Lusby, MD which was not too far from Matoaka Lodges, which seemed the best bet since the nearly 2 mile walk to the beaches at Calvert Cliffs State Park is impractical for our family at this time. Covid-19 and Maryland's onerous private land regulations can make it tough if not impossible to access some of the other municipal beaches along the coast. For example, Brownies Beach, Dares Beach, Cove Point, and Flag Pond are all restricted in some way to town or county residents only. Matoaka Lodges however will grant day-pass access for a small fee, and the beach is from my experience very diverse and productive in its fossils. We spent a total of 5 hours there, employing an 1/8" sieve and also simply walking the surf line. The largest tooth pictured here actually washed up at my feet as I was surreptitiously bending over at the same time. Most of the rest were found with the sieve. Most of these are shark or sting ray teeth and a few turtle shells plus some of the smaller items I could not identify. A local told me that porpoise teeth can be found there also. This lot comprises the smallest fossils found; in addition to these (mostly) teeth and shell fragments were found a large and diverse sample of vertebrate fragments, corals, miscellaneous other fossils (snails, mollusks, etc.) which I will post in the follow-up report to this one. Having spent some time at some of the other sites along Calvert Cliffs this summer, I would say based on the diversity, number of fossils, and time spent collecting, that Matoaka is definitely worth the return trip.
  2. 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.
  3. 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!
  4. Bones from Matoaka Beach

    Hi Folks, Finally made it to Matoaka this past weekend after the recent Hurricane. Alot of new cliff falls. Was able to collect a few Ecphora is semi decent condition. Nothing completely intact though. I have found a few bone fragments on my last several trips to Matoaka and am looking for an expert opinion on what they are. Below is a pic from my trip this weekend. I really think this is modern but I'm not entirely sure. I think its a C1 vertebrae from a deer, but if anyone has any other thoughts please let me know. Other posts below are of three other fragments I have found.
  5. I celebrated my birthday recently with three days of shark tooth hunting along Maryland's Calvert Cliffs (Miocene exposures) and had a blast, despite the hot and muggy weather. I still haven’t found that elusive Meg, but I added some great new finds to my growing (since January) collection! Day 1: Matoaka For the first day, I went to Matoaka. Low tide was in the early morning and I wanted to beat both the heat (as much as possible) and crowds, so I got up bright and early, arriving just after sunrise. I’m pretty sure I was the first one on the beach as I didn’t see any footprints in the sand and didn’t see anyone else until I doubled back later in the day. I didn’t find any particularly large teeth but I did find several firsts: my first “cookie” (cetacean epiphysis); first barracuda tooth; first thresher shark (Alopias sp.) tooth, I think; and first Miocene croc tooth (a bit worse for wear). I also found a root worn Carchardon hastalis (above on the far right) and a few dozen other teeth (Hemipristis serra, Physogaleus contortus, Galeocerdo aduncus, Carcharhinus sp., and Negaprion eurybathrodono) in various conditions, shown below.
  6. Are these coprolites?

    Hi all, I recently found the items below at Calvert Cliffs State Park (A-F) and Matoaka Beach (G-I) in Maryland (both Miocene exposures). Image scales are in inches. I'm not sure what these are. Could some or all of them be coprolites? If so, any ideas as to what kinds of animals they came from? Thanks for your help!
  7. Matoaka Beach, MD

    Had a quick hunt this morning at Matoaka. It got crowded quickly. Water was clear. All beaches are crowded now. Nice variety of teeth.
  8. Matoaka Cabins, Maryland

    Searched matoaka beach today. Lots of shells, but I don’t collect them. Not as much luck as Brownies, but not bad. I believe that I got my first fish tooth.
  9. Mammal Bone/ Peccary Canine?

    Hi everyone! I recently went to the Matoaka Cottages in southern MD where I found a mysterious looking object, the Choptank formation is exposed here and from what I can tell it is bone of some sort, as it still seems to have bone marrow inside of it. My second guess of the object was some sort of tooth, I had my bets on a peccary canine but my main guess is still bone. If someone could help me identify this it would be a huge help!
  10. Matoaka Beach, 8/24/19

    Greetings Through this awesome site, I found out about Matoaka Beach Cabins and the opportunity to find fossils there. My family and I stayed here in the Spring to check it out and my son and I camped out over the weekend and spent some solid hours trying to find fossils at this gorgeous spot. We found a bunch of small teeth on the first afternoon by taking shovel fulls of sand and letting the surf wash and sift them, grabbing any teeth that washed out. The morning of the second day presented us with a fairly high tide and we were unable to walk very far up the beach but we found a few of our larger ones fairly close to the cabins. The water was clear enough that we saw a few nice teeth tumbling in the surf in a few inches of water. I was only fast enough to grab one, and I think it might be a small Meg. Can you guys weigh in? It's the upper left one in the group and also the close up shot. It has a small chip but was still pretty awesome to find, meg or not. I read and reread every post on here about the fossils of the Chesapeake and I want to thank you guys for the great community and resource. My son and I had a blast and we can't wait to get back to do it again. Thanks! Chris717
  11. Tiny shark tooth

    This past weekend we stopped in for a few hours at Matoaka cabins on the way home from St. Mary's City (a cool non-fossil historical destination). We found several readily identifiable small teeth and ray plates as well as a few drum teeth and a handful of shells. My guess with this tooth is a posterior cow shark tooth or Carcharhinus? Measuring tape is inches on top and metric on bottom. Thanks, Adam
  12. Matoaka Beach

    Hot one today. More small teeth today.
  13. Matoaka Beach cabins

    Enjoyed a nice walk at matoaka and found my biggest tooth yet.
  14. 2018 Recap: Gotta love the Hastalis!

    Now that the final fossil hunt of 2018 is over, it's safe to make a recap of this incredible year. This year is so special. Fossil Hunting has developed into my favorite thing in the world. From uncertain 5 tooth hunts to euphoria inducing 200 tooth hunts, 2018 had it all. I was introduced to this forum as well! Thank you all you wonderful people for helping me amass knowledge, teaching me of civility and ways to express myself, and letting me have fun and drool over other's awesome fossils! My tooth spotting skills have improved, very much, and so has my knowledge. Only a couple of big teeth so far, but a meg next year right ladies and gentlemen?! This is a recap of my posts this year, Enjoy.
  15. Birthday Fossil Hunt 12/21/18

    So the 21'st was my birthday and we wanted to go out. It was supposed to be the lowest tide of the year due to the position of the moon, and that is what we prepared for. However, by the time we arrived Matoaka had been swollen by rain and was producing nothing, so we went to Brownies instead, expecting a high tide. It was really quite annoying because we had expected to be able to walk along the cliffs as we pleased. We were not able too, unfortunately. Brownies produced a few really nice smaller teeth but that was really it. Unfortunate.
  16. Matoaka Beach 11/07/18

    Hi all, I finally made the trek to Matoaka Beach, a fossil collecting site along the Calvert Cliffs on the Western Shore of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland. The beach is accessible to the public for $5 per person per day. Once we arrived, we reported to the front office where the property owner and his adorable newborn daughter were happy to collect our fee and give us access to the beach along with advice on how to best hunt the grounds. He advised us to head North (left of the entrance), which was what I had also read online. Apparently, the farther North you head, the better the fossils tend to be. So my dad and I made our way down the stairs to the foot of the cliffs, and began searching. The beach is very wide, so it's difficult to decide where to walk. I was finding fragments of Chesapectan shells left and right, but nothing quite worth keeping. But then, after maybe 5 minutes of hunting, I looked down at my feet and saw a large, complete, Ecphora staring back at me. I could hardly believe it. At a site where invertebrates dominate the matrix, a nice Ecphora is just about equivalent to finding a Megalodon tooth. And yes, I am aware that Meg teeth can be and have been found at this site before, but the find that I was after that day was certainly Ecphora. It was a gorgeous specimen, much larger and more complete than any other I'd found before. And there it was, just laying out in the open, a couple hundred yards from the entrance. I excitedly showed my dad the find, and promptly continued hunting, although I knew there was likely no beating what I had just found at the very beginning of the day. As I walked farther North, I marveled at the cliffs, which were absolutely chalk full of invertebrate fossils. It was incredible, and unlike anything I'd ever seen before. I kept finding crushed shells and small pieces of fossilized coral, but nothing spectacular. That is, until I stumbled upon the section of the beach where many huge chunks of the cliffs had fallen. I decided to look for large shells sticking out of the cliff falls, and very quickly discovered the best method for finding fossils at Matoaka. Immediately, I began finding giant Chesapectan every couple of inches in the cliff falls. After unearthing about a dozen, I decided to head North again to see if I could find another similar section. I walked at least a mile farther and found next to nothing, so I turned around and headed back towards the digging site. When I arrived, I saw that my dad has discovered the falls and was digging through them just as I had been. We both set down our gear and decided to spend the rest of our day there carefully excavating shells from the matrix. This was certainly different than the fossil hunting I've done in the past. It felt more like the traditional "dig site" hunting that most people think of when they think of a paleontologist or archaeologist. It was really cool. At one point, I saw a familiar spiral structure just poking out of one of the falls, and quickly recognized it as a small Ecphora. I plopped myself down on the ground next to it and spent the next 20 or so minutes cautiously excavating it. I foolishly forgot to bring a digging kit, so I resourcefully used broken fragments of sturdy shells around me to dig out the specimen. Although I chipped off a few pieces of it, I managed to extract it from the matrix mostly intact. With that, we headed back towards the entrance. We decided to sift for a bit to try for some shark teeth, and eventually I found one and my dad found three. Matoaka is unrivaled for invertebrate fossils along the Cliffs, but it's definitely not a top spot for teeth. Overall, I was incredibly pleased with my first trip to Matoaka Beach. From the friendly owners to the beautiful scenery and wildlife and the fantastic fossil finds, Matoaka Beach is a must for any fossil hunter in the DMV area. We ended up finding a ton of Chesapectan, ranging from "itty bitty" nearly the size of my hand, some stunning Ecphora, fossilized coral and barnacles, some Turritella, and a few shark teeth as well. I already can't wait to go back to Matoaka. Thanks for reading my report. Hoppe Hunting!
  17. Matoaka Beach - 12-02-18

    Took a trip to Matoaka Beach for the first time today. Alot of bivalves, barnacles, couple pieces of coral, and one snail. Here's a pic! No sharks teeth but I will keep trying! IMG_1322.HEIC
  18. Ecphora Study

    Ecphora Study
  19. Tooth ID

    Hello. I found this tooth today at Matoaka and wanted to get a different perspective than mine. This tooth seems way old for the Choptank formation. First, it seems like a Paleocene tooth snuck in to a Miocene formation. To me, it seems more like otodus obliqqus than hastalis. Reason? Cusps. My tooth has more pronounced, albeit worn down cusps than any I've seen on hastalis. All i'm trying to say is that it is very different and uncommon and would like to know what it is. Tooth.
  20. Spinifulgur spiniger

    From the album Calvert Cliffs

    Whelk, Siphonal devexa Aperture view Middle Miocene St. Leonard, Maryland Choptank Formation Drum Cliff Member This is one of four found in the fallen matrix in four days of excavation. It is the only one that was found intact.

    © Heather JM Siple 2018

  21. Siphonalia devexa

    From the album Calvert Cliffs

    Snail, Siphonalia devexa Middle Miocene St Leonard, Maryland Choptank Formation Drum Cliff Member Excavated from landslide material NW of Matoaka beach access in St Leonard, Maryland

    © Heather JM Siple 2018

  22. Perna conradensa

    From the album Calvert Cliffs

    Mussel Shells, Perna condensa Middle Miocene Choptank Formation Excavated from matrix submerged in the Chesapeake Bay, about 10 feet off of the beach at St. Leonard, MD, at low tide. Internal molds from a Miocene mussel bed, left in fine clay and stabilized with Paleobond to prevent disintegration

    © Heather JM Siple 2018

  23. Whelk

    Excavated from landslide material approximately 1/2 mile nw of Matoaka beach access. Found 4 that week. Two survived excavation. This is the only one discovered intact.
  24. Volute Snail

    This specimen was made incredibly soft by the surrounding matrix. The thin veneer of glossy coloration has worn away, but can be seen on this specimen, which came from the same 2 ft x 1ft x 1ft block of matrix that fell out of the cliff into the bay. Half a dozen of these were collected from that and one other small, adjacent block that day, along with more than two dozen other species. Layer originally designated Shattuck Zone 18. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  25. Clam

    Found on beach at low tide. Exact origin unknown. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
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