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Found 8 results

  1. Hi, just going through some rocks I brought back from Norfolk, UK, thinking quite a few may be fossils (I didn't have long so just grabbed anything I thought looked suspiciously organic by intuition) and as it turns out I think I was quite correct in a number of cases - I think I have quite a few pieces of whale and and a few little bits of mammoth tooth. Trying to confirm this to myself led to a lot of reading and learning online about the local geological formations involved and also whale anatomy, both new topics for me which I always enjoy delving into - part of the enjoyment of fossil hunting for me - I'm less of someone looking for beautiful specimens for display (though I'm not going to turn those down!) and more someone who loves the detective work of trying to identify obscure parts and recreate some aspect of the vanished world before us from its traces. And searching through whale anatomy and what these weird chunks could be I came across a picture of a whale periotic and realised that the weird little pot structure I had was almost definitely one of these, which if I am correct is good because I believe they are one part of a fragmented whale anatomy that is quite diagnostic. Also I then realised that a strangely hooked piece I found right next to it could well be the tympanic! The preservation here is unusual because many theorise that these kind of whale fossils were first laid down in sandstone in the Miocene when Norfolk was covered with a shallow warm sea, and then later in the Pliocene and early Pleistocene when temperatures dropped sea levels dropped too and the area became land (part of the reason the geology of this area is interesting is the constant transgression and regression of the sea over a few million years), these Miocene rocks were eroded away and the harder fossils reworked into new estuarine or nearshore sediments of this era, often but not always with a layer of hard iron-rich concretion coating them which helped protect them (I guess one question would be, is there anyway of easily removing this hard concretion layer?) So if I am right, these are bones from Miocene whales (many showing signs of shark damage), reburied in the Pliocene / Early Pleistocene and then finally eroded out again in the modern day - quite a journey! Anyway, enough background, for starters I'd love to see what people think about this periotic / tympanic. Am I right? Here's a summary of my findings (note I used a pic of dolphin periotic someone posted here for comparison so I hope that isn't too cheeky)
  2. I finally made it out in July to a location near Charleston I am always mentioning, but had never personally visited. After 3 dry years of no ear bone periotics they started showing up in triplicate this summer. Probably was able to discern their shape better after seeing so many examples. Not much else showed up for me that day save a few tiny teeth. But it led to my first, albeit small donation. Common or Scientific Name: Odontoceti indet. (delphinid periotic ear bone) Geologic Formation: Undetermined - ( Fossil dredge from this site typically contains Oligocene Ashley Formation, Lower Miocene Marks Head Formation, Lower Pliocene Goose Creek Limestone, and Pleistocene Wando Formation ) Geologic Age: Undetermined - Oligocene (?) But potentially Pliocene - Pleistocene Region the fossil was found: Charleston, South Carolina Museum or University that received the fossil: Mace Brown Museum of Natural History at the College of Charleston Reason for donation: Well preserved and perfect for the fossil survey. Found and donated (July 23, 2019) to Dr. Bobby Boessenecker Dr. Bobby Boessenecker - " Ashby (Gale) and I (but mostly Ashby, since he's out more often) have been putting together a collection of riverbank ear bones from West Ashley, Johns Island, and Mount Pleasant, and this is quite a well preserved one that would go nicely into the eventual paper. "
  3. I have spent many hours on this forum, but this is the first time I am posting because this inner ear bone has me completely stumped. It is the first inner ear bone I have found, and it appears to be the periotic of a small/medium cetacean. I see strong similarities with some dolphins and pygmy sperm whale specimens also pulled from the Peace River in Arcadia, FL, but none that really match up. I am new to identifying anything beyond teeth, but I was excited to find this and would love to have a better idea of what animal it is from.
  4. My friend found a couple of interesting bone pieces while digging at Ernst Quarries last weekend. In the same hole, she found what may be two small cetacean periotic bones, as well as a small dolphin tooth. All three are included included in associated images. She wasn't digging a particularly large hole, so I can't help but wonder if they are all from the same animal. While there may be no way to tell, the possibility is intriguing to this newbie's mind. Of course, I may even be wrong about my ID of the bones. Any input regarding the donor species, etc., is greatly appreciated. Cheers.
  5. Dolphin/Whale Periotic Bone

    From the album Calvert Cliffs

    Choptank Formation Virginia Miocene Photographed exactly as found, with brilliant, polished surface when dry! Collected on private property with permission.
  6. Well I was looking at Marcos cool post about coprolites and was scrounging thru some of my Manatee Cnty boxed material and didnt find any coprolites so here's several potential whale/dolphin type frags that I'm not entirely sure about and was wondering if any of you all can confirm. I'm thinking A is a root of a maybe a dolphin tooth, B is a bulla of some sort , C is a fragment of some type of fish jaw--seems like I've seen this somewhere before? D and E appear to be anterior processes/ of dolphin periotics. I added a closeup of the end view of A and a closeup of C. I also found this little guy which is fairly well preserved and has some very distinct symmetry...seems to be a tilly of some sort. Thanks for any help. Regards, Chris
  7. Porpoise or dolphin

    Does my ID look correct? This came from Miocene spoil piles at the Museum in Aurora, NC. -greel
  8. ...at least for me for this season. I'll be out of the country over the next two weekends and then off to Greece on vacation for most of June so I'll likely not get another chance at hunting the Peace River this season unless something really unusual happens with the weather. I expect rainy season to have started by the time I'm back from Greece and the Peace will likely be several feet higher that it is at the moment. Currently, the Peace is as low as I've seen it this season. During a heavy drought several years back I've seen the Peace about a foot lower than it is now which made for a long trip from Brownville to Arcadia with a lot of time out of the canoe pushing it over shallow sandy areas. Yesterday, we had to get out a number of times and that combined with the headwind we fought all the way back to Arcadia meant we had to allocate more travel time which left less time for digging and sifting. On the (Canoe Outpost) bus ride up from Arcadia to Brownville we spotted a couple sitting the seat in front of us who looked to be new to fossil hunting on the Peace. They had loaner sifting screens and a shovel from Canoe Outpost and I figured we might help introduce them to a fun (and addicting) passtime. We hadn't planned on spending much time at the large (well-known and hard-hit) gravel bed just downstream from Brownville but changed our plans to help Mike and Samantha (if I haven't misremembered their names by now--names, not my strong suit). After a brief stop before the main gravel bed we stopped at another area with very chunky gravel that is even closer to the boat ramp at Brownville. This area is well within walking distance from Brownville Park and I suspect it gets hit hard by walk-ins. Lots of gravel to be found at that spot but it wasn't even giving up small shark teeth so we soon moved down to the primary gravel bed near Brownville. I gave some tips and pointers on how to hunt the area and let them use our larger sifting screen with 1/4" mesh while we poked around with the 1/"2 mesh sifter trying to find an area that was producing fossils. The gravel bed at this location is virtually from bank to bank and runs for somewhere between 100-150 feet so it is not a tiny area. Even though it is large it is by no means cryptic and it attracts lots of attention. Evidence of holes and piles litter the bottom here (till they are erased like a big Etch-a-sketch each summer during flood stage). The big trick to hunting this site is to find some place where you are not digging through someone's spoils. Prospecting lots of sites in this location till you hit an area that is producing some nice finds is the best way (IMHO) of working this location. We poked around without much luck till we found an area that my probe told me had some gravel under a topping of sand. Within a few minutes digging there I pulled out a rather large chunk of giant tortoise (Hesperotestudo) carapace that should have been identified and kept by any previous hunters. This made me feel more certain about spending more effort in this spot. Before long we were pulling out some larger shark teeth (and fraglodons) as well as a few other things like gator teeth and mammoth and mastodon tooth fragments. Every so often I'd bring over some donated finds to our new "students" so they could start to understand the diversity of finds that can be pulled from the Peace. I continued to dig in the spot we finally landed on as it was giving up a variety of small prizes which were useful in demonstrating the types of things to look for in the Peace. Shark teeth are relatively easy to find and identify but more obscure fossils require obtaining a search image to be able to spot effectively. Shortly after I had shown the river's two newest fossil hunters a small piece of mammoth tooth we pulled something interesting out of our sifting screen. Tammy got to it first (she works the sifter while I man the shovel). Initially, she thought it was an odd piece of turtle shell (a good assumption as the Peace has lots of varied pieces of turtle and tortoise carapace). She had picked it up and was holding it sideways. I took it from her to look closer and upon rotating it saw the occlusal surface. "Horse tooth," I said instantly seeing the crenulated enamel ridges on the top of the tooth. But something was odd about it--it just didn't look right. Lower horse teeth are more narrow and elongated (better to fit into the narrow lower jawbone) while upper horse molars are more squarish. This piece wasn't quite square nor was it as elongated as a lower tooth should be. It was the right size for an Equus molar but the square peg just wasn't fitting into the round hole. Finally, the penny dropped and I excitedly understood why this horse molar looked so odd--it wasn't equine at all! It was mammoth--BABY mammoth! I went over to show this new find to our fossil partners do jour and while I was explaining to them how you could tell it was mammoth (by the very characteristic bands and loops of enamel sandwiched together with layers of cementum) Tammy came over and said, "Guess what I found?" I hadn't a clue--the Peace can give up a wide variety of items. She held out in her hand another chunk of baby mammoth tooth--one entire loop of enamel. It only took a few seconds to verify that this piece fit neatly into the chunk we had just found--the tooth was growing! You can be sure we dug around in that spot for another hour or more but never found another scrap of this tiny tooth. Likely it had previously fragmented on its path from where it was eroded out of the river bank to the spot we recovered it. The two pieces had probably recently separated but didn't make it far from each other--they may have even separated just with the agitation of shaking the sand out of the sifting screen. I'm glad we were able to reunite this pieces. Still, by no means a complete baby mammoth molar but a good size chunk and my trip-maker for the day. I had originally planned on skipping past this location and prospecting some other gravel spots we have hunted in the past but haven't tried for several years. I'm glad the decision to instruct some newbie fossil hunters paid off so quickly with fossil Karma. Before too long our new acquaintances headed off down river and we soon gave up our search for any more of this molar and continued down as well. On the way down we spotted a large gator in the same spot as we saw one when we were there last time. It looked to be about the same size (9-10 foot) and I suspect it was the same individual in its current favorite sunning spot. We prospected a bit here and there but had spend so much time near Brownville that we wanted to make it down to our favorite spot near Oak Hill. We stopped again at this location to hunt for a bit because it has chunky gravel and sometimes gives up nice prizes. Mostly, it's just big chunks of matrix with lots of dugong rib bones and very few shark teeth but this is the same spot that gave up two nice gator osteoderms last time out. The water is quite low without much current at the moment. If fact, the wind that was blowing steadily from the south was actually pushing my sifting screen upstream. You can see from the photos below that the water is also quite cloudy as there is a major algae bloom going on presently. This is making the normally tea-colored clear river water quite opaque and greenish. Vertical visibility is less than a foot. This lack of clarity is not impacting fossil hunting too much but it makes the paddling downstream more difficult as it is making the sand bars and deeper water channels more difficult to discern. Hidden logs below the surface are also more difficult to see making for more dangerous navigation. We had to think more while traveling but since we know this stretch of the river pretty well we didn't have major difficulties. Here I am enjoying the Peace for my final trip of the season. This second stop of the day didn't give up any large prizes but did produce a nice diversity of items. The second find of the day was this tiny jaw with several molars in place. It looks to be something from the a rodent or lagomorph but I'll need to spend more time getting an ID on this.
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