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Westmoreland State Park, VA, USA: Unidentified possible vertebrae, rib(?), and shark tooth


Bowmania

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Hi all,

 

I had a fairly productive first outing to Westmoreland State Park but I have no idea what any of the fossils I found are. I am happy to provide close-ups of any of the individual fossils, and in addition to the photos here, I posted some to imgur to get around the size restriction here.

 

https://imgur.com/gallery/2uIedQS

 

Thanks for your help!
 

 

43AB3F6D-6CA5-41EE-A97A-839461184697.jpeg

5D114806-9E11-41F9-A7C8-917992D843D8.jpeg

9544A001-42F7-4409-B8B9-AD7CEE07CFC1.jpeg

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Fossildude19

Welcome to the Forum.  :) 

Over time, Imgur links go bad, and then the post means nothing. :( 

It's best to always post directly here, after resizing. ;) 

Posting the photos directly here. 

F7xMvf9.jpeg  3xYKfxQ.jpegqEQuKKR.jpeg

 

IuiaDId.jpeg  mETCcrj.jpeg

 

PKZejLH.jpeg qTF9mM6.jpeg

 

wm3xUXD.jpeg  Wr4GM9y.jpeg

 

6MOBQ4t.jpeg   cs4ajwe.jpeg

 

The round disks are vertebral epiphysis, probably whale like the vertebrae. 

Maybe some whale rib pieces, and perhaps  a scapula. 

Mostly whale bone, I think. 

 

Wait for a few other opinions. 

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Tidgy's Dad

Hello and a very warm welcome to TFF from Morocco. :)

Nice finds. 

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Thank you for the warm welcomes! Hopefully I’ll have more to show here in time. I’ll remember that issue with imgur links in the future, and appreciate your reposting them. The size adjustment with giving me some issues posting from mobile.

 

Does anyone know of good references for marine mammal fossils in these periods? The little bit I know about what’s typically found in the area made me suspect whale/dolphin/porpoise, but it would be interesting to see where along the body some of these might fit. Even among the vertebrae there’s significant variation between the hexagonal piece, the “longer” one with the dual parallel raised ridges, the heavily weathered large one, and the dark one that is pictured both in its clay matrix and fully removed from it. 

 

The orangey one might be a shell impression of some kind but I can’t tell one way or the other.

 

Any thoughts on the type of shark?

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Welcome to the forum from Maryland! The hexagonal piece is actually a piece of turtle shell. Unfortunately, vertebrae are rarely identifiable beyond cetacean. You have a nice mix of positions, that cervical one is very nice. The tooth is Carcharhinus sp. A really good source is The Geology and Vertebrate Paleontology of Calvert Cliffs, MD, USA. The cliffs hold similar species, as the are (Mostly) contemporaneous.

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Is the one formerly in matrix is the cervical one? It stuck out like a sore thumb because of that shape and contrast with the wet clay. I think I’ll have to buy that book for my return trips. I would not have guessed turtle shell for the hexagonal piece! For this area, do we know if they were more likely marine or land-based? I assume anything collocated with whale vertebrae would be marine, but I know the deposit layers and geologic events can play tricks.

 

i could not be more grateful for the insights here!

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12 minutes ago, Bowmania said:

the one formerly in matrix is the cervical one

The 3rd and 4th picture, more specifically it appears to be an atlas.

 

13 minutes ago, Bowmania said:

I think I’ll have to buy that book for my return trips.

The PDF (linked) is free, not sure how many physical copies are in circulation.

 

13 minutes ago, Bowmania said:

this area, do we know if they were more likely marine or land-based

It is from a marine turtle. In that area, almost all the fossil producing formations are marine. It’s mostly the Miocene-aged Chesapeake group. There is one Pleistocene terrestrial one which sometimes produces footprints, but it exposes at the other end of Stratford Hall. 

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Ah, wonderful! I’m only on mobile access today, but that PDF and some other key terms you mentioned clued me into some additional ID resources. Sorry for stumbling through this!

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16 minutes ago, Bowmania said:

Sorry for stumbling through this!

No worries, we are all here to learn! Nice finds by the way:D

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Hate to say, but if it was in the clay, you were probably in the area that is off limits... the public beach does not extend to the cliffs. I only say because these last public collecting spots are precious, and not following the posted signs could adversely affect all of us. If I’m wrong, just ignore... great finds at one of my favorite spots!

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No worries — it was washed up on the beach as a sort of clay ball that had fallen off the cliff and washed up with the rest of the rocks and sticks. The vertebra side was facing up, so the ball of matrix behind contrasted strongly against it. I’m not sure how no one else had seen it, but I guess people are looking for teeth more than anything else. I stayed off the cliffs because I saw those signs and even saw a few chunks fall down into the water. No thanks! 

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