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Ellis County creek, September 30th


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I made a quick trip yesterday back to the Ellis County creek where I found so many teeth. With all the work being done to deer stands and feeders near it last time I was there, I knew my days of being able to hunt it this year were numbered, and sure enough, I have been officially banned by the landowner whose pasture I must cross to get to the creek, until at least next February. 

 

I knew my two best micro-spots in the creek were pretty much played out until we get floods and erosion, but I figured I might spend some time searching the gravel bars in the creek, and walk a little further down the creek than I had before. I made the walk further down the creek first, and never got around to searching the gravel bars very much. Here's what I spotted just past where I'd been before. How many teeth can you see in that matrix?
 

 

ellis02201.jpg

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Besides that one, I brought home some other great looking pieces of matrix. Here are just a few of them.
 

 

ellis02202.jpg

ellis02203.jpg

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Obviously, I have a lot of matrix work waiting for me, and I'll post photos showing what comes out of the matrix later, but I wanted to post photos of a couple of other pieces now, and get some ID help. Is this first one a crocodile tooth? It's crumbling too badly for me to remove it from that matrix, but I still thought it was a great find.
 

 

ellis02204.jpg

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And this vert. Even with a piece broken off, it's still the prettiest vert I've ever found. What does it belong to?
 

 

ellis02205.jpg

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Great photos, @BudB! With all of the phosphate bits showing in those slabs, I'm wondering if you come across a lot of coprolite? 

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ThePhysicist
38 minutes ago, BudB said:

Is this first one a crocodile tooth?

That's a pliosaur! Wow :envy:

Nice shark teeth, too. Not sure about the vert.

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Great stuff! I'm leaning towards croc though as the tooth has carinae

The vert belongs to some reptile, snake maybe?

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1 hour ago, ThePhysicist said:

That's a pliosaur! Wow :envy:

Nice shark teeth, too. Not sure about the vert.

 

Thank you. I'm thinking you may right. It does look more like pliosaurus tooth photos I'm finding than croc teeth ones, though they look a lot alike.

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I'm still curious about this vert. From everything I've looked at, it seems to most favor a Coniasaurus vert. What does everyone think?

 

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It's incredible how many teeth some of this matrix has in it. Look at this small piece.

ellis02206.jpg

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I have stabilized the pliosaur tooth, and think it's going to hold together.

 

 

ellis02207.jpg

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ThePhysicist

Looks fantastic on the matrix, makes a great display piece. I'd say pliosaur teeth are pretty rare in north texas.

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I have finally finished going through the matrix from this trip. Here are the Ptychodus teeth, all 97 of them.

 

 

ellis02208.jpg

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And the other teeth. There were 93 of them. Since I forgot to include the scale in the photo of all of them, the photo below shows the four largest with the scale.

 

 

ellis02209.jpg

ellis02210.jpg

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And finally, the Pliosaur tooth is delicate enough that I decided it needed a protective display. Here is what I came up with.

 

 

ellis02211.jpg

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  • 11 months later...
  • 3 months later...
On 10/3/2020 at 9:39 AM, BudB said:

I'm still curious about this vert. From everything I've looked at, it seems to most favor a Coniasaurus vert. What does everyone think?

 

The age of the formation you're in will be most helpful here. Since you have a (rare) Pliosaur tooth from your site, I can't imagine it being much older than middle Turonian. Fingers crossed that it's younger, which it very well may be. 

 

Unfortunately I can't ID the vert specifically, but Coniasaurs are essentially just really, really basal mosasaurs. The Wikipedia article on Coniasaurs and what I've heard from Mike Polcyn don't seem to perfectly align here. Nonetheless, I'd imagine that it would be reasonable for them to have at least some morphological similarity to most mosasaurs. 

Simply from memory from a long discussion with Mike Polcyn (Learning about marine reptiles from him is like trying to soak up the ocean with a kitchen sponge, so I can't guarantee I remember it all correctly), Coniasaurs are restricted to the Cenomanian (I was wrong - wikipedia mentions they're found into the Santonian in North America, and are rather only restricted to the Cenomanian in England), and yes, they are found in your area of texas, but don't let this mean you can expect to see them, they're a rather rare find anywhere, really. 

Keep an eye out for their small, unique teeth in your matrix.

 

The size of your vertebra is suggestive, but I don't know how the processes on a Coniasaur vert look. I think I remember seeing in a post that @Ptychodus04 has some Coniasaur verts in his collection though.

 

Also, I absolutely cannot wait to see what else you find in this creek. Keep it secret and safe. You have a really great hunting ground here, representing a tumultuous yet explosive period of the cretaceous marine environment.

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Ptychodus04

I don’t think that vert is Coniasaur. If it is, it’s from a monster of one. It is about twice the size of a typical Coniasaur verts that I’ve seen. Overall, the morphology is very different. The very diagnostic zygapophyses are missing, making proper ID even more difficult.

 

I grabbed this pic from Dr. Google of typical Coniasaur verts:

1FA971B7-7E6C-4532-8CAF-BD85B6DDD3EF.thumb.jpeg.12e052bd6f872ddd2634d1080dc083c4.jpeg

 

 

It does look like a squamate vert but I would need some convincing to call it Coniasaurus sp. Unfortunately, I donated all my Coniasaur material (30+ verts, isolated teeth, and a complete dentary) to the Perot Museum a few years ago, so I can’t provide pics of actual specimens for comparison. 
 

That being said, I’m happy to run down to the museum collections facility and take pics of them if that’s helpful.

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