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Florida Paleontological Society (FPS) Fall 2021 Field Trip


Shellseeker

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This has been a very busy week for me and my fossil addiction. I was out to the Peace River on Tuesday, attended the Lee County , Florida Fossil Club meeting Thursday, went to the Friday night dinner preceding the FPS meeting and was fortunate to be part of those FPS members who went on a field trip to a Pliocene-Pleistocene Shell Pit in Charlotte County, Florida.  I know at least 4 other FPS and TFF members who also participated in this Outstanding Field trip.

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1) I have volunteered to write_up this field trip for the next FPS Newsletter. I will do that and when complete, will post a copy to this thread.

 

 

2) I will also, as time permits, post photos of my many finds.. They need to be cleaned first.

 

@calhounensis is a FPS member and participated in the Shell Pit hunt. He was extremely generous in giving me a number of horse teeth he found,  suggesting that I would enjoy them more because I seem addicted to fossil horse teeth. 3) I will attempt identification of all these horse teeth and post my success or lack thereof.

Right now the Horse teeth are soaking in water.

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In addition to these horse teeth (Equus and pre_equus) I heard that a Mako, and some Great Whites, some echinoids and Sand Dollars were found but the dominant % of finds are seashells and corals....  they were all over the ground.

 

I invite any and all TFF members in attendance to post comments on the trip, photos of a few or many of their finds, or not.   I have had a great week, just in the company of my numerous fossil addicted friends...    but I am weary, and will get some sleep before my next post to this thread.    Jack

 

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I heard the trip was exceptional and that first overview images indicates why. Looking forward to reading more about this outing. Also glad to hear that @calhounensis made this trip--oddly, I was just thinking about him earlier in the week.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Hi Jack

 

I'm just piggy-backing off your post with additional pics from the field trip.  Although Lower, Middle and Upper Pleistocene deposits were exposed in the quarry, most of the shells were from the Lower Pleistocene Caloosahatchee Formation.

 

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6 hours ago, MikeR said:

I'm just piggy-backing off your post with additional pics from the field trip.  Although Lower, Middle and Upper Pleistocene deposits were exposed in the quarry, most of the shells were from the Lower Pleistocene Caloosahatchee Formation.

Thanks  Mike,

Your photos really bring out more of the experience. and you know I always try to date (approximately) the layers we are searching by the fossils we find.

I zoomed in on one of your photos to provide a view of just how far down we all were from ground level.

MikesPhotoWall.JPG.883fb1f05bdbccdf6be97d4f447ef31a.JPG

We were searching the areas at the very bottom of this photo.

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Let me provide an update on the horse teeth that Calhounensis  found on the FPS field trip and donated to me. 

In lower right, there are 2 broken teeth from Llama/Camel, and because of the lack of crenulations, I believe are from Hemiauchenia macrocephala. 

To the left and above the Llama teeth, are 2 partial teeth upper Equus .sp cheek teeth. In upper left of the photo, there are 2 lower Equus .sp cheek teeth.  Idenitfication based on an Anterior_Posterior_Length of about 30 mm.

IMG_2970a.thumb.jpg.24459c405ab8419dc084e80d13d09006.jpg

 

So I have 3 very interesting pre_Equus horse teeth.

The tooth in upper right of this photo is a Right side upper P3 or P4 of Nannippus peninsulatus. Nannippus is an extinct genus of three-toed horse endemic to North America during the Miocene through Pliocene, about 13.3—3.3 million years ago (Mya), living around 11.1 million year.

IMG_2988ceText.jpg.ca9e6ffcbf7c94301c911a2630eb97b4.jpg

The 3rd tooth in the top row is lower left m1/m2 of Nannippus peninsulatus,

IMG_2983CE_text.jpg.1614285ba1c29b42fee03451ba7e49f9.jpg

and finally, the tooth in the center is Nannippus peninsulatus, lower right m3.

IMG_2992ceText.jpg.e9965e531ed194ca61109182c1915e29.jpg

 

I have become better at identifying this Pliocene horse. The site we were hunting last Saturday was on the edge of late Pliocene and early Pleistocene. Nannippus peninsulatus mixed with Equus makes sense.

Note that it did not add these specific identifications to the photos. I will be send this identification with photos to Richard Hulbert.  We'll see what kind of grade I receive. 

 

All corrections and suggestions greatly appreciated.  Jack

 

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Hey Jack, glad you were able to get those cleaned up and identified. Your llama tooth pieces actually go together. It was fragmented when I found it and I probably had a part in them splitting completely. The bone layer I had found myself in where that Xenosmilus canine was found was loaded with material. Unfortunately the graders that had run through there had destroyed all the long limb bones. Roger turned up a pair of camel astragalus. I had 5-6 vertebrae I believe belonged to horse based on the abundance of horse teeth. All those verts, distal and medial limb bones as well as some ribs and a pair of deer antlers all went with Roger. Along with the abundance of turtle material, hopefully the vert paleo guys will have a use for it all. 
 

I just finished cleaning up all the invertebrate material I brought home. I’m rusty with my identifications these days. I’ll share some pictures on this topic. 
 

It turned out to be a very nice quarry and a great trip with FPS and some forum members. Hopefully I can make it to the spring meeting!

 

Daniel 

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I will include a few more photos to finish my post. Just a few pictures from in the pit. 
 

 

5EBE2245-8805-4C74-AC86-964072CD9C13.jpeg

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2 hours ago, calhounensis said:

I just finished cleaning up all the invertebrate material I brought home. I’m rusty with my identifications these days. I’ll share some pictures on this topic. 
 

It turned out to be a very nice quarry and a great trip with FPS and some forum members. Hopefully I can make it to the spring meeting!

 

Daniel 

Fantastic photos, Daniel  and huge quantity.  I also picked up a Geoduck, and had many of the same finds, but fewer -- like 5 cowries compared to ???

I picked a lot of corals,  some individual, many on tops of shells....

Did you get an ID on the Sand Dollar  ?  It was a great trip.... I do need IDs on some of this stuff for the Newsletters.... but I have some irons (requests) in the fire.

I will post a summary of my finds tomorrow.

Here are some I liked.... Note the Operculum

IMG_3001.thumb.JPEG.cad44b383b719490a997b4197357a8ef.JPEG

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2 hours ago, calhounensis said:

The bone layer I had found myself in where that Xenosmilus canine was found was loaded with material.

Saw that wonderful saber-cat tooth today while working in the prep lab at Dickinson Hall on campus. Turns out not to have been a canine but a lower right (i3) incisor. It was a beauty to behold (and hold). I'll check with the finder of that specimen and see if they mind me posting a photo of it here.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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The sand dollar is an Encope, I’m not certain of the species. I’ll do some digging. I will also work on a species list for all my finds and send it to you. I have a surplus of cowries if you would like some to give away.

 

Daniel

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2 minutes ago, digit said:

Saw that wonderful saber-cat tooth today while working in the prep lab at Dickinson Hall on campus. Turns out not to have been a canine but a lower right (i3) incisor. It was a beauty to behold (and hold). I'll check with the finder of that specimen and see if they mind me posting a photo of it here.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

How did I do on the Genus? I also thought about posting the photo I had but removed it for that reason. It’s a beautiful tooth. 

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23 minutes ago, calhounensis said:

How did I do on the Genus? I also thought about posting the photo I had but removed it for that reason. It’s a beautiful tooth. 

It is Xenosmilus hudsonae. I had this 2nd thought that it just was not big enough to be a canine, even a lower canine.

5 years back, my hunting partner for an inside incisor,  which is why I knew that the tooth had serrations. See this thread:  http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/54043-cusps-serrations/

Replica Sabertooth Cat (Xenosmilus hodsonae) Skull

 

I will be including a photo in the FPS Newsletter,  but if @digit  has a better one, I am open to including his photo.

 

Daniel, 5 cowries is sufficient for my needs.. you must have other possible receivers who have fewer cowries than I..  Thanks for working on IDs   Jack

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Hi,

 

Marvelous shells ! I would very much like to have deposits of this type near my home !

 

Coco

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Big and diverse shells indeed. This is what probably existed in earlier epochs like the Jurassic but only small specimens are preserved today

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pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon
16 minutes ago, RuMert said:

Big and diverse shells indeed. This is what probably existed in earlier epochs like the Jurassic but only small specimens are preserved today

 

The comparatively diminutive size of shells today moreover illustrates the effect humans have had on the environment. Shells simply don't easily grow this size these days any more... :(

 

Great report, everyone! And impressive shell specimens! :o

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x

5 hours ago, Coco said:

Hi,

 

Marvelous shells ! I would very much like to have deposits of this type near my home !

Coco

Coco,

I agree. I truly feel blessed on how well random choices on where to retire resulted in this amazing hobby and access to these riches. It is my feeling that in and around Bone Valley Florida for 10s or 100s of miles, digging down 50 feet would encounter such deposits. The trick is to understand the numerous ways that nature and man can remove that 50 feet and place myself in the vicinity.  Here is a paper describing one of the most famous shell pits (SMR Aggragates outside Sarasota, Florida) .

https://segs.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/SEGS-Guidebook-No-56.pdf

"First, vegetation is scraped off using large bulldozers then 10 to 24 feet of fill dirt is removed using small draglines thus exposing Pleistocene to Pliocene shell beds. The rich, marine shell beds (Tamiami Formation) are excavated up to an additional 25 feet with large backhoes."

Just imagine, 25 feet of seashells as far as the eye can see !!! I have been there standing in awe.

1 hour ago, RuMert said:

Big and diverse shells indeed. This is what probably existed in earlier epochs like the Jurassic but only small specimens are preserved today

I agree.. This shell pit was timed at the late Pliocene _early Pleistocene boundary, a little less that 2 mya. SMR Aggragates shell pit was laid down 2-3 mya solidly in the late Pliocene. Florida initially emerged from the seas 48 mya. I think there needs to be shallow seas to create the volume and diversity of marine organisms we see here. I see no reason to think that such deposits were not laid down around the world going back into the epochs.be

Why we have huge versions of modern seashells in the past must be a reflection of environmental conditions that I do not fully understand. I do realize that the planet was far hotter back in the Pliocene and Eocene.. The current location of Chicago was once a steamy swamp, and there were dinosaurs in Alaska.

 

1 hour ago, pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon said:

 

The comparatively diminutive size of shells today moreover illustrates the effect humans have had on the environment. Shells simply don't easily grow this size these days any more... :(

 

Great report, everyone! And impressive shell specimens! :o

I wish/hope we could find a scientific paper that attempts to explain factors in the size, diversity, and volume of sea creatures and all life over time. It would be an interesting read.

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10 hours ago, Shellseeker said:

I will be including a photo in the FPS Newsletter,  but if @digit  has a better one, I am open to including his photo.

 

I only have a simple grab shot of the tooth that I took while working in the prep lab. Roger had delivered some of the vertebrate finds from the trip to Richard and was getting some of the shelly material washed. I asked to see the tooth and got to snap a quick pick. You can clearly see a crack running the length of the tooth--likely would have split if it was exposed for much longer. The person who discovered this tooth sent me some photos via email which is how I initially heard about this. they have a better scale and you can see both serrated edges in the second image (not 180 degrees apart but more like 120 degree separation).

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

PB221283.jpg

 

image1.jpg     image2.jpg

 

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3 minutes ago, Shellseeker said:

I wish/hope we could find a scientific paper that attempts to explain factors in the size, diversity, and volume of sea creatures and all life over time. It would be an interesting read.

 

I know of two references that actually go into this topic, although the one cannot truly be called a reference, as I don't remember where I've read it. The main gist of this first point, however, is that oceanic acidification makes it difficult for shells to obtain greater sizes, since their calcium carbonate structures are continuously being dissolved by the acid in the sea water. A quick search online resulted in these three pages describing the phenomenon and research: 1, 2, 3. I then also bumped into an article describing the effects of changes in sea water pH-levels on the sizes of barnacles (Nardone et al., 2018):

 

Quote

Increased levels of atmospheric CO2 have led to a reduction in the pH of ocean waters (i.e., ocean acidification), a trend that is expected to continue into the future.
[...]
Shell formation, however, was affected by seawater pH. Shell mass and base plate area were higher in barnacles exposed to reduced pH; barnacles grown at pHT 8.01 exhibited approximately 30% lower shell mass and 20% smaller base plate area as compared to those at pHT 7.50 or 7.78. Enhanced growth at reduced pH appears to be driven by the increased size of the calcite crystals that comprise the shell. Despite enhanced growth, mechanical properties of the base plate (but not the parietal plates) were compromised at the lowest pH level. Barnacle base plates at pHT 7.50 broke more easily and crack propagation, measured through microhardness testing, was significantly affected by seawater pH.
[...]
Hence, a reduction in pH resulted in larger barnacles but with base plates that would crack more readily.

 

This, however, is still very much ongoing research and - as illustrated by the example of the barnacles - effects species differently.

 

The second source ties in with the archaeological and historical case of pearl harvesting on the island of Margarita off the coast of Venezuela (see De Booy, 1916), where oysters were indiscriminately harvested for their pearls with little account taken of oyster size and maturity, their spawning season and the substrate required for oyster larvae to attach. This led to increasing depletion of the oyster beds around the island. And while certain management strategies have since been introduced in an attempt to recover the industry, these regulations have seen only marginal success, with the average size of oysters having reduced due to the fishing activities (see Mackenzie, Troccoli and León S., 2003, esp. pp. 16 and 18-19).

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16 hours ago, calhounensis said:

Hey Jack, glad you were able to get those cleaned up and identified. Your llama tooth pieces actually go together. It was fragmented when I found it and I probably had a part in them splitting completely. The bone layer I had found myself in where that Xenosmilus canine was found was loaded with material.

Daniel,

Instead of 3 hours, I need another 3 days,  or maybe 3 months to search that bone layer (or a similar one).

It is Xenosmilus hodsonae. 

Richard responded:

Quote

....

The only ID I would disagree with is the lower tooth you ID’d as an m3 of N. peninsulatus. I believe it is a dp4 from that species.

..... Richard

Certainly a strange looking tooth for that position.  I was not positive , when you gave  it to me, that it was Nannippus at all. The fact that you found Equus and only 3 Nannippus peninsulatus teeth of the 3_toeds could imply that those 2 horses co_existed right around the Pliocene_Pleistocene boundary.

 

Nannippus_dp4_text.jpg.227ba6e1da4f27911a65eca06316cde5.jpg

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I forgot that there is Ochopee Member of the Tamiami Formation in that quarry as well so Upper Pliocene is present.

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12 minutes ago, MikeR said:

I forgot that there is Ochopee Member of the Tamiami Formation in that quarry as well so Upper Pliocene is present.

So, Mike (from above)

Quote

Although Lower, Middle and Upper Pleistocene deposits were exposed in the quarry, most of the shells were from the Lower Pleistocene Caloosahatchee Formation.

Thanks,  Mike .. could you just pick out a few shell species in this pit that are indicative of Lower Pleistocene Caloosahatchee Formation and a few shell species that tell you Ochopee Member of the Tamiami Formation.

In the background Saturday, I heard someone saying that the disposition layer might be indicative of river like watershed, and that the Pliocene _ Pleistocene layer might be very extensive before you could reach a Miocene layer  by digging down.

Every vertebrae find we were discovering implies we were at a Pliocene _ Pleistocene boundary.  Thanks

 

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40 minutes ago, Shellseeker said:

So, Mike (from above)

Thanks,  Mike .. could you just pick out a few shell species in this pit that are indicative of Lower Pleistocene Caloosahatchee Formation and a few shell species that tell you Ochopee Member of the Tamiami Formation.

In the background Saturday, I heard someone saying that the disposition layer might be indicative of river like watershed, and that the Pliocene _ Pleistocene layer might be very extensive before you could reach a Miocene layer  by digging down.

Every vertebrae find we were discovering implies we were at a Pliocene _ Pleistocene boundary.  Thanks

 

 

Ochopee is the limestone layer with the internal casts and Encope.  Siphocypraea comes from the Caloosahatchee.  Roger indicated that the vertebrates were from the Caloosahatchee.

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