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ziggycardon posted a topic in Fossil IDHi! I recently acquired a few new additions to my permian collection, but there are a few pieces of which I am not a 100 % whether they are ID'd correctly, simply because I am not yet knowlegdeable about the material. So I thought it might be a good idea to post the ones I am doubtfull about here, as I know there are a lot of people more knowlegdeable than me who probably could ID them. The first item is a small claw listed as "juvenile dimetrodon limbatus" from the Red Beds, Archer County, Texas, USA I was a bit doubtfull when they said "juvenile" dimetrodon claw, but I got it anyway because it's a very nice permian claw which was an okay price regardless the ID. The second item is a caudal vertebra that was listed as "Edaphosaurus" (from the Archer City Formation, Red Beds, Archer County, Texas, USA) which came as a set along with a piece of sail spine which without doubt belongs to Edaphosaurus. The last items were sold as a collection of "Eryops megacephalus" fossils from the Wellington garbar complex, Waurika, Okhlahoma. From left to right are a piece of skull plate, a toe bone, a piece of dermal armor and a tooth.
LACook posted a topic in Fossil Hunting TripsOk, so I've been doing some thinking about the Eryops site I found on my dig this past week with The Whiteside Museum in Seymour, Texas... I know... I'm obsessed... but I just can't help it! I keep thinking, “What is going on here?!?!?!" We have a red sandstone layer on top of the hillsides. Above that we are finding our favorite plant-eating reptile of the Permian the Edaphosaurus, which makes perfect sense because they preferred the banks of stream channels. Below the sandstone we are finding our shark teeth and shark spines. Now below that, have we possibly found a whole layer of Eryops??? Hmmm...... It's possible! We are finding Eryops teeth and bone fragments at about the same level below the sandstone on several of the hillsides. Now we have found a possible Eryops skeleton on a hillside at the same level we are finding the bone fragments and teeth on the other hillsides. So let's think about these primitive Permian amphibians a bit... These guys lived along stream channels. They had bulky bodies, so they were slow moving on land. In the water they had buoyancy to help them out, so they were most likely able to move a little faster there. Their flat skull with eyes and nostrils on top of their heads meant that they probably hunted like our modern crocs do today. They would float just below the surface of the water and wait for fish to swim by so he could snap them up. The Eryops had no chewing motion in their jaw structure so they would swallow prey whole. His palatal teeth helped hold onto his prey while he tossed it around to swallow it. The Eryops was also a p-r-e-t-t-y big guy for his time. He grew to be about 5' long and weighed close to 200 pounds, so that put him near the top of the Permian food chain. Remember... I said NEAR the top of the food chain. The Eryops would have been no match for the flesh eating Dimetrodon. We haven't seen any evidence of this happening at the site though. In fact we've seen almost no Dimetrodon at all, except for one small tooth. So that begs the question... What about in the water? Could the Eryops have been SHARK BAIT!?!?!? Not sure, but it's certainly possible... I've attached a picture of a piece of Eryops rib bone below that looks a bit suspicious. A fossil buddy of mine, TroyB who is a scale, sharklage, and coprolite fanatic thinks the bone could have bite marks on it. If you look closely at the picture there are some streaks that run through the bone that look like this Eryops could have had a run-in with a shark, but the jury is still out. We are not 100% convinced yet. We'll just have to wait and see what other evidence we can turn up. Chris Flis aka. Dinodigger, had a suggestion on what else it could be. I just can't remember what he said. Maybe he'll weigh-in and let us know. Another cool thing you'll notice about this rib bone is there's an Eryops tooth in the matrix around the rib! We have found OODLES of shed Eryops teeth while digging at this site. You'll also notice that this bone is fairly clean, which is exciting. Quite a bit of the bone we have been finding is coated in a bubbly matrix that we will have to carefully take off with the air scribe, which means LOTS more time and work. I've also included some pictures of the site before we found the Eryops skull and then one after we found the skull. We had to jacket the skull and tarp the site due to the coming rains. Yikes! Between the rain and the local Javelina residents it's been a little tricky protecting the site. Apparently the roots I left in the ground from all the cactus I dug up created a bit of a "Hog Heaven". Who would have thought that cactus root is a hog delicacy in the Texas Red Beds?!?! Duh! It's juicy and has no thorns! We learn something everyday folks! Anyway, there is some really interesting stuff going on here! I can't wait to get back and see what else we will find. I'll keep you posted! Best, Leigh
I'm back in the big city of Houston, Texas! Yikes! The traffic here can be suffocating! I am missing the small town of Seymour, Texas already! Just came back from a dig trip up there. I was working with the Whiteside Museum of Natural History, under the director Chris Flis. I am learning so much! Pretty incredible creatures that lived some 287 million years ago! I have made several trips to the red beds over the past six years volunteering with the Houston Museum of Natural Science, but none can compare to the trips I have made since the June 7th, 2014 opening of the Whiteside Museum. I have been going once a month for a week at a time, and it never seems long enough! I am officially a digging addict! In July we found an incredible site that is the size of a football field. We are finding Edaphosaurus, coprolites, and Xenacanthus shark spines galore. This last trip I stumbled across some bone weathering out of the side of a hill and found a new Eyrops site! Tons of teeth and a beautiful rib bone, and as of yesterday part of a skull! The bone is spectacular and I can't wait to see how it preps out. Hopefully the rest of this guy is there. I'll have to wait until next time to see...