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Found 21 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. Miocene Mystery Mammal Vertebra

    Miocene, probably mammal bone. Hoping for some clue to the animal. Doesn't look like a piece of cetacean vertebra, but obviously has the hole for the spinal cord. HELP!!!!
  3. 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 I found in the fallen matrix in four days of excavation. It is the only one that I found intact.

    © Heather JM Siple 2018

  4. 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

  5. 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

  6. 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

  7. Mussel With Both Valves

    Excavated from matrix in the Chesapeake Bay, about 10 feet off of the beach at low tide. View is external on both valves, but hard outer coating has been lost to decay. Valves are pearlescent.
  8. 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.
  9. Sea Snail

    This specimen shows the original sheen and probably original coloration of the shell. It popped out of the matrix as you see it and required almost not cleaning. This specimen was stabilized, but stabilization did not change the appearance at all. Excavated from a chunk of matrix fallen from the cliffs into the Chesapeake Bay. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  10. Geoduck Clam

    Sometimes you just get lucky. This geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck) was sitting with its mate in living state, filled with matrix, under a pile of landslide rubble at the water's edge. The exteriors of both shells were almost completely clean of matrix. Most other specimens were badly cracked in the matrix and would never have survived the fall. This shell was donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  11. Busycon spiniger

    From the album Calvert Cliffs

    Can you believe I found this just sitting there, sticking out of a block of landslide material on the beach and wiggled it out with a screw driver? Never found even a suggestion of one before and this is only one of two I found in three days of carving through that block to discover the rest of its treasures. The other, sadly, is not in as good a shape, but still a treasure! Found at Matoaka Beach, St Leonard, Maryland.
  12. Dugong Bone

    From the album Calvert Cliffs

    Look what washed up on the beach! Scratches on it may be tooth marks. Found on Matoaka Beach, Calvert County, Maryland
  13. Panopea goldfussii pair

    From the album Calvert Cliffs

    A recent landslide revealed an ancient bed of these paper-thin shells, all in pairs. They lived buried well into the sand and extended long necks up to the water to feed. Consequently, the shells did not get moved, just filled in and stayed in pairs after the animals died. They can be extracted mostly whole with some great care.
  14. From the album Calvert Cliffs

    Carefully exposed all of these with a dental pick from the lump of matrix in which they were encased. Nothing got moved, just glued insitu. top: Scaphella virginiana center left: Mariacolpus octonaria center right: Ecphora megane bottom left: arcadae indet. sp. bottom right: Glossus sp.
  15. Venus Clam

    Collected from landslide material in the bay. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  16. Clam

    Collected on the beach. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  17. Cup-and_saucer Snail

    Collected in landslide material in the Chesapeake Bay. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  18. Cup-and-Saucer Snail

    Due to the extremely fragile nature of this specimen, and the species in general, I was loathe to clear out any more of the matrix from the interior of the shell, so bits and pieces of other shells are present. The large central piece is the inner "cup," which attaches to the "saucer" at only a very small point in the tip. Collected from landslide material in the bay. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  19. Gastropod

    Collected from matrix from Shattuck Zone 17 that washed into the Chesapeake Bay by landslide. Donated to the Delaware Museum of Natural History.
  20. Mussle Shell Steinkern

    This is a particularly fragile type of shell, made of many fine layers, and is prone to disintegrate as these did. This rare steinkern was found on a block of matrix submerged in the Chesapeake Bay. Dimensions are for the best-exposed steinkern on the block. The entire block is 14 cm wide x 10 cm high x 5 cm deep.
  21. Matoaka Cabins Beach

    Well I managed to lure the wife into another beach excursion. The only stipulation was that I was in charge of cooking barbecue dinner. We packed up the car and drove 90 minutes to our destination with a four month old. My daughter was good for the most part but she had her moments. Here's the trip in a nutshell. Mrs Fossil-Hound with baby and I at the top of the cliffs. The drive was certainly worth it. The beach office had a custom Miocene Shark Tooth display with a lot of large teeth. A box of free shark teeth for travelers! A coveted fern plate from the Pennsylvanian of St. Clair PA. Massive prehistoric whale vertebrae. The office manager said he found this on the shoreline after a storm. Found some beautiful Chesapecten nefrens from the Choptank and St Mary formations. Went to my secret spot and starting seeing Ecphora's poking out of the mud. This one looks complete but was broken on the inside. This large Ecphora was another heart breaker. Found a marble sized Ecphora and began the long trek back towards the cabins when out of the corner of my eye I spotted a few large ribs sticking out of the mud. I worked carefully around the edges and took my time. The result was an Ecphora gardnerae the state fossil of Maryland and one of my favorite fossils. The back side view. This specimen is in dire need of cleaning. That night I began to clean the Ecphora. After a light cleaning, super glue was applied to all of the cracks. Referring to a complete specimen on the right I continued to carefully remove sand and mud from the gastropod. This morning more glue was applied along with some more light cleaning. Still a lot of cleaning to do. Notice the crack on the left side. I applied a lot of super glue to this snail. Made leaps and strides in cleaning it tonight. Here it is after the initial phase of cleaning. More cleaning and possibly another coat of superglue to some small cracks will be underway tomorrow.
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