Jump to content
DeepTime

Vertebra ? North Sulfur River

Recommended Posts

DeepTime

I'm a rookie. This is my second post.  I've been out on two "expeditions" and made some interesting finds.  When I picked up this fossil?, I noticed it was caulked on the back side, I found that perplexing. North East Texas, Fannin County, Eagle Ford Group, Ozan Formation, North Sulfur River Bed.  It appears to be a vertebra.  Please help identify.  Thanks!

VNSR4.JPG

VNSR5.JPG

VNSR3.JPG

VNSR1.JPG

VNSR2.JPG

VNSR01.JPG

VNSR6.JPG

VNSR7.JPG

VNSR8.JPG

VNSR9.JPG

VNSR10.JPG

VNSR11.JPG

VNSR12.JPG

VNSR13.JPG

VNSR14.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Planko

It is definitely a piece of a vertebrae. It will take one of the others to give a shot at any identification. Nice find. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ThePhysicist

I disagree. I think it's more likely to be man-made or geologic. I don't see any surface that looks like bone, and even with half the vertebra, you'd expect to see the indications of processes. The ends also don't look quite right. Again, I don't think it is one, but to be sure try cleaning it up a bit so we can get a better look.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DeepTime

Thanks for the replies, I appreciate you takin' a look at the photos . . .

 

With respect to "try cleaning it up a bit so we can get a better look" I wouldn't know where to begin and the thing is quite fragile, like dust; afraid I don't have the experience to work with it.  For your perusal here are a few more pics of the ends and the sides. 

VNSR15.JPG

VNSR16.JPG

VNSR17.JPG

VNSR18.JPG

VNSR19.JPG

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ThePhysicist

I'd say it's a concretion - not a fossil. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DeepTime

I've done some further research and seem to have found a "match" vertebra belonging to the Plesiosaur   . . . this one here must have been a real monster!  Weather permitting, goin' back out next weekend on "expedition" number thee (3), got it all mapped out, back to the Cretaceous, can hardly wait.

 

 

Vert2.jpeg

Vert3.jpg

Vert4.jpg

Vert5.jpg

Vert02.jpg

Vert01.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
ThePhysicist

Yes, plesiosaur verts are more cylindrical, but also notice that the lateral/side surface curves inwards. The stone itself also does not look like bone. There's no "spongey" structures inside, no haversian systems or anything visible to me that would indicate bone. This is a piece of mosasaur bone from NSR up close:

IMG_3617.thumb.jpg.05fedbbda4afe5463f2c791243c56884.jpg

You can see all the little holes where blood vessels were, and rings around them, which are the osteons. NSR also has a unique "gemmy" bone mineralization that looks like this:

IMG_3615.thumb.jpg.84b16a5eabff447e7b6c8b152ff983fa.jpg

Others may chime in, but I don't see a fossil here. Best of luck on your next hunt! :) 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DeepTime

Fascinating.

Good stuff Physicist.

I took out my trusty 10x loop and indeed I do see, as best I can w/a 10x, a fungus like crystalline structure and the Haversian system as you described. Difficult to see anything “spongey” or the Haversian systems from the pictures I provided.  I’ve taken a few close-ups; can you see the gem like sparkles?  The Haversian is a bit more difficult to discern, but upon close inspection, they are unmistakable.

 

You forgot to mention there is a very thin shell-like veneer – light in color.  In the case of this specimen, it can be found at about 45 degrees in picture VNSR_1 Vanilla, right above the small vertical fracture.  VNSR2 and VNSR3 are a closer view.  The "stone" or "concretion" appears to be "peeling".

 

VNSR_1.JPG.9934123a09e39b67361e62ea96eed9fc.JPGVNSR_1Artic.jpg.c5c825e5f9db2db01273a30d2ea6597c.jpgVNSR_1Vanilla.jpg.65399054845510fce23e5517702c3fb7.jpgVNSR_2.JPG.1fef0a4b41b349506f52c58ce0bab5a0.JPGVNSR_3.JPG.b1ea54ea19067d189ee21d625f2ec0b2.JPG

 

The following is an excerpt from the Fossil Forum

 

I was having trouble telling from the images whether they were convex on both ends or concave on one end and convex on the other. But I agree with Ramo if they are concave on one end and convex on the other, they are definitely mosasaur.

 

Pleisosaur are concave on both ends. Yours are convex on one end and concave on the other= Mosasaur verts.

 

P1.png.eb3531f52fc0eb05b1718460e0de20d6.png

 

The graphic above suggest the specimen I found is the bottom half of E, F, G or H.  The size of the vertebra suggests the reptile was a “monster.”  I intend on going to the local university and having a professional look at it.

 

Been fun exchanging ideas w/you  . . .  and I appreciate the “best of luck” come my next expedition;  I like to think I go places where others haven’t looked. 

 

Vert02.jpg.9fb86788c096832a963fb300e767c332.jpg

 

Edited by DeepTime

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mahnmut
4 hours ago, DeepTime said:

 I intend on going to the local university and having a professional look at it.

 

Asking an expert who can examine it up close is never a bad idea,

I would recommend going there open-minded like you started this thread, rather with the question "can this be a fossil vertebrae" than with "please confirm my giant Mosasaur". From what I can see in the pictures (no chance to see microstructure on a 150 kb jpg of the whole thing) it could still be archaeological rather than palaeontological.

Please let us know what you find out!

Best Regards,

J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pemphix
13 hours ago, ThePhysicist said:

Yes, plesiosaur verts are more cylindrical, but also notice that the lateral/side surface curves inwards. The stone itself also does not look like bone. There's no "spongey" structures inside, no haversian systems or anything visible to me that would indicate bone. This is a piece of mosasaur bone from NSR up close:

IMG_3617.thumb.jpg.05fedbbda4afe5463f2c791243c56884.jpg

You can see all the little holes where blood vessels were, and rings around them, which are the osteons. NSR also has a unique "gemmy" bone mineralization that looks like this:

IMG_3615.thumb.jpg.84b16a5eabff447e7b6c8b152ff983fa.jpg

Others may chime in, but I don't see a fossil here. Best of luck on your next hunt! :) 

I agree, no typical bone-structures. No bone imho.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Pemphix
5 hours ago, Mahnmut said:

 

Asking an expert who can examine it up close is never a bad idea,

I would recommend going there open-minded like you started this thread, rather with the question "can this be a fossil vertebrae" than with "please confirm my giant Mosasaur".

That is a good Tip for everybody working with fossils....:thumbsu:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BellamyBlake

You should consult with an expert for sure. That being said, it looks like rock to me. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
DeepTime

Thanks for all the feedback and sage advice . . .

 

Coolest "rock" I've ever seen and the more I look at it under the loupe, the cooler it gets.  I'm being awfully careful w/this one as it's so terribly fragile   . . .  did I mention it has an interesting scent.  I look forward to visiting the university and getting a professional opinion.  I'll keep y'all posted.

 

Thanks again.   

 

Still searchin  . . .

Edited by DeepTime
Added word . . .

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
turtlesteve

It looks too cylindrical to me.  In your last two pictures I think I see a bit of rusty metal sticking out.  Can you inspect this spot a little more, and see if a magnet sticks to it?

21B078FF-A9E7-4319-95D5-B5027D0FFD4C.jpeg.ed57eee0a5119e6672e978bf69e1b5d9.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon

Let me just add my two cents in saying that to me too this looks more like a concretion than like a bone. It's hard to decide how to start explaining why, though, as there are so many components to this. First of all, since the bone concerns just a fragment, you'd expect to be able to see some kind of bone texture on the inside. Though certain marine species (such as ichthyosaurs) have very dense bone texture, most do not. This is referred to colloquially as the typical "honey comb"-texture and should be visible with the naked eye, without magnification. Take a look at the below post for an example of how this is supposed to look in plesiosaurs (don't want to cross-post the images here again):

 

 

This texture is lacking in the case of the specimen under discussion here. Though it is possible (I believe) that the vertebra broke in antiquity already - when the bone was still fresh - and a bacterial mat grew on the inside of it, thus explaining the smooth underside (though I have no idea whether this is how a bacterial mat is supposed to look). However, the piece seems to be flaking in layers, which suggests it was build-up in layers too - not something that I believe is the case for vertebrae. At least, I've never seen a vertebra peel like this before, be it archaeologically or palaeontologically.

 

Then there's the question of what type of animal the bone - if that's what it is - may have belonged to. This will inform us on whether the specimen has the right shape, and whether we might expect any processes or foramina. One side is obviously concave - if slightly so - whereas the other side cannot be determined with any high degree of certainty, as it seems much more eroded, giving the impression of being convex due to erosion of the border around it, but likely in actuality being planar or concave. Mosasaurs have procoelous vertebrae (anteriorly concave, posteriorly convex), while those of plesiosaurs range from platycoelous to amphicoelous (varying in degrees of bilaterial concavity). Of course OP has declared the vertebra mosasaurid based on this. But if my estimation of the vertebra's worn end is correct - i.e. convex due to erosion, but in actuality concave - we'd potentially be dealing with a plesiosaur vertebra. Consequently, I'll make arguments for both.

 

Irrespective of whether this would be mosasaurid or plesiosaurid bone, you'd typically expect some slight constriction along the vertebral mid-section. However, this slight tapering may be absent in both, so is not very telling. Notwithstanding, depending on the placement of the vertebra along the spine, you'd expect some kind of articulation surfaces or foramina to show up. In plesiosaurs, for example, vertebrae contain paired foramina on the ventral side, with additional ones showing on the dorsal side below the neural arch in certain species. These have to do with the specialised vascular system in plesiosaurs. Though mosasaurs don't have these, we can therefore rule out the specimen as being a ventral piece of a plesiosaur vertebra. I think we can also safely say the piece cannot be from the dorsal side of a vertebra from either group, as this is where the neural arch would've sat (both groups have neural processes throughout the reach of their spine) and we should, at the very least, see some articulation surface for this.

 

So, not a dorsal section of vertebra, not a ventral section of a plesiosaur vertebra either. It would not be able to be a dorsal section of a mosasaurid caudal vertebra either, as one would, in that case, expect to see articulation-surfaces for attachment of chevrons - which are absent in the current specimen. Lateral sections of a vertebra then? Not unless the vertebra were a dorsal, seeing as otherwise we'd surely see articulation surfaces for rib attachment.

 

All in all, then, if this is indeed a piece of bone, it'd need to be:
 

  1. part of a mosasaurid dorsal vertebra, but not the dorsal part of it;
  2. the ventral part of a mosasaurid cervical vertebra; or
  3. part of a plesiosaur dorsal vertebra, but not the dorsal part of it - and possibly not the ventral side either, due to the presence of formina.

Shape-wise, however, I feel that option three would not be a match, because if you extrapolate the specimen's curve into a circle, you'd get a vertebra much taller than wide, to the extent that this would be rare to see in a plesiosaur - especially considering the absence of medial constriction of the vertebral body. Mosasaur vertebrae are generally somewhat longer than plesiosaur ones, due to their anguilliform style of swimming. And, though constriction would, as said, be more commonly seen here too, I do have to concede that above options 1 & 2 are therefore possibilities. Moreover, while the border around the concave end of the vertebra seems rather thick, this is not unheard of (though it is uncommon) and actually occurs in one of the specimens in my collection as well.

 

My opinion about this not being bone, then, rather than on morphology, is rather based on the absence of visible bone texture where one would expect it, as well as the flaking around one end of the vertebra. In case this were to turn out a bone, however, I think a mosasaur dorsal would be the closest match. Notwithstanding, I would like to warn against over-interpretation, as it's a well-known fact that we like to see what we're looking for, hence might find things that are not there so as to match our expectations. I agree with others here that this piece would probably benefit from an in-person evaluation by a specialist.

 

In the meantime I'd like to posit the following question to those with better knowledge of the find location: is there a possibility of industrial trash having been introduced at this locality? The specimen's one eroded end seems rather a lot like rust, which would tend to flake in layers...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Top Trilo

I think everyone who has a possible marine reptile vert should read that. I would quote it but I don't want to take up too much space.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Mahnmut
9 hours ago, pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon said:

At least, I've never seen a vertebra peel like this before, be it archaeologically or palaeontologically.

 

 

What I wanted to say by "archaeological" was that it could still be of interest, even if it is a concretion formed around something manmade like a 19th century teapot or whatever.

A magnet would indeed be a quick and easy test that if positive could rule out the fossil. Except perhaps for the slight possibility of an animal hit by an iron meteorite.

 

Best regards,

J

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon
56 minutes ago, Mahnmut said:

A magnet would indeed be a quick and easy test that if positive could rule out the fossil. Except perhaps for the slight possibility of an animal hit by an iron meteorite.

 

Best regards,

J

:default_rofl:

 

That's not what I meant by archaeological, though. I studied to become an archaeologist, and have never seen a peeling vertebra during that time, is what I meant ;) As to the piece holding any other archaeological value: I think that, yeah, it is possible that the piece represents an encrustation of an historical artefact... I don't deem it very likely, but you never know :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×