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Fossil Hunting Holiday at Beaumaris, Australia- Dec 2020


Paleoworld-101

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Paleoworld-101

Hey everyone, i've just yesterday returned from another four day fossil trip to Beaumaris: a coastal suburb in Melbourne, Australia with fossiliferous exposures of the Beaumaris Sandstone Formation. 

The fossils are about 5.5 million years old (latest Miocene) and comprise an extremely diverse range of both marine and terrestrial animals. A great overview of the Beaumaris fossil fauna is provided by this PDF, for those unfamiliar with the site: https://www.bayside.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/beaumaris_fossil_book_museum_victoria.pdf

In short, everything from sharks, rays and bony fish to whales, dolphins, seals, birds, echinoids, gastropods, corals, bivalves and others can all be found. It's almost like you need a checklist when collecting here, to mark off the faunal groups that you find one by one. Which makes the collecting rather exciting as you never know what might turn up! Loose fossils can be kept, but the cliffs and foreshore are protected so no excavating or digging of anything in situ is allowed. But this is fine as most fossils are loose on the beach or adjacent shallow seafloor. Lots of people that collect here do so by snorkelling the shallow waters just offshore, and i also brought my wetsuit, snorkel and fins on this trip to search underwater which was very fun. As well as fossils, the waters are rich in modern marine life and it's fascinating to see them up close. 

The snorkelling and beach collecting proved very successful! 

 

The location:

 

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Marine mammal bones (whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals):

 

A selection of indeterminate bone chunks. Small pieces of bone are fairly common finds. 

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A small mammal vertebra (caudal?), probably from a dolphin or porpoise. Shown in front and side views. 

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Bony fish:

 

Right and left fish lower jaws, probably from the same species, but found separately so they're not associated. What luck though to have both matching sides! Although the left jaw is from a smaller individual. 

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Crushing toothplate from Diodon formosus.

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Continued in the next post... (sharks, rays, invertebrates)

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Sharks and rays:

 

Teeth mostly from the extinct white shark Cosmopolitodus (or Carcharodon) hastalis

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More teeth from makos (Isurus), white sharks (Cosmopolitodus hastalis), possibly a grey nurse shark (Carcharias taurus) and also a partial extinct tiger shark tooth (Galeocerdo aduncus)

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Shark tooth in matrix (to prep or not to prep...)

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A small ray tooth (Myliobatus) and above it a damaged tooth from Heterodontus cainozoicus

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Some more vertebrate odds and ends:

 

Including a piece of a chimaeroid toothplate, and possibly a small marine mammal rib section. 

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Invertebrates:

 

A selection of gastropods, corals (Trochocyathus, Placotrochus), a bivalve and echinoids (Lovenia woodsi)

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And finally, everything together!

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Thanks for checking out this report!

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Nice haul! Awesome to see what you can find down under, especially comparing that to what we find on the East Coast of the US. Thanks for sharing!

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Very good. Looks like you've had fun. I sure am envious of you from up here in the northern hemisphere sitting in the snow.

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3 hours ago, PaleoNoel said:

Nice haul! Awesome to see what you can find down under, especially comparing that to what we find on the East Coast of the US. Thanks for sharing!

Thanks! The East Coast of the US is on my wish list of places to visit for sure, the amount of great shark teeth you guys get over there makes the rest of us very jealous. Beaumaris is one of the few places in Australia where we can emulate that sort of experience for ourselves which is why it's pretty special. 

17 minutes ago, fossilturtle said:

This is so cool! Nice haul my dude :raindance: I gotta go there sometime!!!

Cheers! You definitely should! I'll be able to give you tips. 

 

2 minutes ago, Ludwigia said:

Very good. Looks like you've had fun. I sure am envious of you from up here in the northern hemisphere sitting in the snow.

The contrast is pretty huge isn't it :P but you get a classic white Christmas! 

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I especially like the cute little Trochocyathus corals.  Congrats on a nice haul from what sounds like a nice holiday!

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Beaumaris is a special little place worthy of many repeat trips. Through research and contacts here on the forum my wife Tammy and I were able to include a few hours of hunting the shores there a few years back when we revisited Australia for our anniversary. The main goal was to collect some of the beautiful little echinoids that are so plentiful on that beach. I have a bowl of the little Lovenia woodsi mixed in with some larger Eupatagus antillarum from Florida on display in my house and I pass by them and admire them daily. A lovely reminder of a fun trip down under.

 

Australians should definitely put this place on their list if they life or are passing through the Melbourne area. We obtained written permission to export these echinoids legally which was easy to do as they are common and well represented in local scientific collections. Once travel becomes a thing again, any visitors to southeastern Australia should plan to include a visit to this area. They won't be disappointed.

 

Lovely to see pictures from that area again--brings back fond memories. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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On 12/20/2020 at 9:50 PM, sharko69 said:

Great finds! Would love to hunt there someday.

Thanks you

On 12/20/2020 at 11:04 PM, Monica said:

I especially like the cute little Trochocyathus corals.  Congrats on a nice haul from what sounds like a nice holiday!

It definitely was! And the corals are always nice to come across. 

On 12/21/2020 at 2:00 AM, digit said:

Beaumaris is a special little place worthy of many repeat trips. Through research and contacts here on the forum my wife Tammy and I were able to include a few hours of hunting the shores there a few years back when we revisited Australia for our anniversary. The main goal was to collect some of the beautiful little echinoids that are so plentiful on that beach. I have a bowl of the little Lovenia woodsi mixed in with some larger Eupatagus antillarum from Florida on display in my house and I pass by them and admire them daily. A lovely reminder of a fun trip down under.

 

Australians should definitely put this place on their list if they life or are passing through the Melbourne area. We obtained written permission to export these echinoids legally which was easy to do as they are common and well represented in local scientific collections. Once travel becomes a thing again, any visitors to southeastern Australia should plan to include a visit to this area. They won't be disappointed.

 

Lovely to see pictures from that area again--brings back fond memories. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

You'll have to come back again yourself! 

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8 minutes ago, Paleoworld-101 said:

You'll have to come back again yourself! 

In a post-COVID world anything is possible. ;)

 

Appreciated all the insight that the local members gave us to make it a fun fossil side-trip on a longer 3-week tour down under.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Nice finds! Thanks for the trip report.  I especialy like the tooth in matrix.  Keeping it in matrix gives one the idea of what the others looked like before being given up by mother nature.

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Looks like a very productive hunting trip. Those exquisite echinoids are my personal favorites. If I ever go to Australia I'll have to check this out. Congratulations and thanks for sharing your bounty. 

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