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Andúril Flame of the West

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Andúril Flame of the West

Hello everyone, this is my first attempt at writing up a fossil hunting trip. I meant to write this shortly after my trip to the river (which was about three weeks ago), but as I'm sure you know all too well, life often gets in the way. <_<

 

I had been itching to get back to fossiling since my last trip out in October, and, having visited Purse State Park on many occasions before, I figured that it would be a great place for the first fossil hunt of the new year. After seeing the yields from some other recent trips to the Aquia, I had high hopes that I might score my first Otodus. Following a long drive and some unexpected setbacks, I managed to reach the beach with about an hour and a half of daylight left to hunt. Due to arriving later than I had anticipated the tide was higher than I had hoped, but I still managed to score some decent finds and enjoy the sound of the waves lapping at the shore. Throughout the hunt there was a flock of birds floating on the river with calls that sounded uncannily human (it took me a while before I realized that there weren't any boats in the river), and by the time I packed my gear to leave, the cliffs were a beautiful sight lit by the last rays of the setting sun. Unfortunately, I had not found the stunning Otodus of my dreams, but perhaps that will come to pass later this year. 

 

Below are photos of the finds and some very tentative IDs based mainly on the Aquia page of Elasmo.com. I apologize in advance if some of the photos aren't incredibly clear or if the ruler is a bit hard to read - unfortunately I couldn't locate a lighter colored one that was in centimeters. 

 

 

Aquia_haul.thumb.JPG.bd8a9af58a709bc409bd4fcf94c0c070.JPG

 

The entire haul for the day. 

 

 

 

 

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As I suspect is the case for most my focus was not invertebrate material, but I couldn't resist collecting a couple of specimens. I could not find much available information regarding invertebrates of the Aquia formation but an article on Wikipedia (I know this isn't the most reputable source but I haven't had a chance to search for any research papers on the subject) has led me to tentatively ID the leftmost specimen as a possible Panopea elongata and the rightmost specimen as Ostrea compressirostra. I would be surprised if my IDs are accurate and if someone does know what these may be, please do let me know. 

 

 

 

Myliobatis.thumb.JPG.6329c834a22edca9470cf1962705e9e7.JPG

 

Some Myliobatis sp. ray dental plates. The specimen at the upper right was undoubtedly the best dental plate of the trip. The specimen at the top right corner and the one directly to the left of it appear to be heavily weathered so I couldn't get a confident ID, but I believe that they are Myliobatis dental plates. 

 

 

Striatolamia_Striata1.thumb.JPG.5405fe3868b0f54ff725e8cea8365972.JPG

 

Some examples of Striatolamia striata. However, I am not sure this is the correct ID for the rightmost specimen as I cannot make striations as obvious as those of the other teeth. 

 

Striatolamia_Striata2.thumb.JPG.595caadf41474511064a73d6dfe5cf01.JPG

 

Another Striatolamia striata? I tentatively ID this tooth as S. striata as it resembled a couple of the positions in the tooth set. 

 

 

Striatolamia_striata3.thumb.JPG.80c48668d67a33805a19d7d016526747.JPG

 

... perhaps some more S. striata? The teeth seemed to match best with S. striata to my novice eye. However, I am doubtful about the leftmost tooth which does resemble the other teeth but which may very well be a completely different shark. 

 

Hypotodus_verticalis.thumb.JPG.5975bdf05999b3d80a4c15c685e426b9.JPG

 

I was initially going to assign this to S. striata due to the abundance of this tooth at Purse, but I didn't notice any of the trademark striations. I believe it may be Hypotodus verticalis, but there were several others that also seemed to be relatively good matches. 

 

Otodus_obliquus.thumb.JPG.552f41860e356051edf5709804f36225.JPG

 

I believe this tooth to either be a small Otodus obliquus or a Cretalamna appendiculata.

 

 

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A few miscellaneous tooth fragments. Not sure if any of these can be assigned confident IDs. 

 

Fish_Rib.thumb.JPG.5161b605f9797a259a11e63790f53fd3.JPG

 

I thought this piece looked interesting while sifting. My best guess is that it is a fish rib or another fish element. 

 

 

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A few examples of Skolithos linearis that must have washed down the Potomac before ending up at Purse State Park. From other posts that I have seen I believe these to be Cambrian in age. Is there any information as to where these may have washed down from or to what formation they belong to?

 

 

I am glad to have finally had the opportunity to compose a trip report and I am looking forward to finding out if any of my IDs were correct and, if not, how they can be differentiated from teeth similar in appearance. I am planning on taking more trips out to Purse this year (and I hope to post some more trip reports on TFF), but due to the rather long drive, I am considering visiting a few other sites that I have learned about. The Henson Creek site and some of the creeks in PG County that might expose the Cretaceous Severn Formation are considerably closer than Purse. I have heard mixed opinions about the safety of hunting in the former, and I was hoping that some with experience might be able to chime in on whether it would be safe to hunt in any of these locations. Thanks in advance to everyone who reads through the report and comments on IDs. 

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Tidgy's Dad

Nice. 

Like the photos. :)

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9 hours ago, Andúril Flame of the West said:

 

Skolithos_linearis.thumb.JPG.9673ec6e2a01c4c21456a382f56da9f2.JPG

 

A few examples of Skolithos linearis that must have washed down the Potomac before ending up at Purse State Park. From other posts that I have seen I believe these to be Cambrian in age. Is there any information as to where these may have washed down from or to what formation they belong to?

 

 

 

See the below Maryland Geologic Maps in the orange areas at the sources of the Potomac River for Cambrian exposures.  Although geologically it looks like your specimens could be from the Cambrian, I'm not sure I see features of Skolithos linearis in all three specimens (maybe, yes, no).

 

 

1082623682_2MarylandGeologicSurveyMap1967.thumb.png.01f4f41ff1514a323399e08033b8d90c.png

 

 

64878194_2PotomacRiverSourceMGSMap1967.jpg.12c179d3678e264bbba66bada4ceef0d.jpg

 

 

 

Rounded cusplets with one cusplet noticeably bigger than the other matches features for Striatolamia teeth in the Aquia Formation.

 

 

 

Otodus_obliquus.JPG.025aaaa9178fe083b25bcecc11fdd5d3.JPG

 

Marco Sr.

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old bones

This looks like a fish fin spine.

Fish_Rib.JPG.116679ba88e9c5a9eb6257b37f83d33d.JPG.5275df0802214891f32bfaca9428203e.JPG

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Andúril Flame of the West

Thanks for the feedback! Then S. striata would be the proper classification for all teeth pictured? As far as the "Skolithos" specimens, I thought that the mark in the center piece bore a close resemblance to some Skolithos I had seen in other posts. The other specimens in the image also appeared to have fainter vertical markings and the rocks appeared relatively similar to my eye, but they could very well be ordinary rocks. Appreciate the map and info on the Skolithos, I've been curious about the appearance of those since seeing them in other postings.

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Jeffrey P

I think both of your shells are the oyster, Ostrea. 

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9 hours ago, Andúril Flame of the West said:

Thanks for the feedback! Then S. striata would be the proper classification for all teeth pictured? As far as the "Skolithos" specimens, I thought that the mark in the center piece bore a close resemblance to some Skolithos I had seen in other posts. The other specimens in the image also appeared to have fainter vertical markings and the rocks appeared relatively similar to my eye, but they could very well be ordinary rocks. Appreciate the map and info on the Skolithos, I've been curious about the appearance of those since seeing them in other postings.

 

There are 6 identified sand tiger shark species from the Aquia Formation and maybe a couple unidentified sand tiger shark species.  It is impossible to tell from pictures how many of the species you may have because of similar tooth features of the different species.

 

I had noted (maybe, yes, no) for your three specimens that you identified as Skolithos linearis.  So I think your middle specimen is likely Skolithos linearis.

 

Marco Sr.

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bthemoose
20 hours ago, Andúril Flame of the West said:

Hypotodus_verticalis.thumb.JPG.5975bdf05999b3d80a4c15c685e426b9.JPG

 

I was initially going to assign this to S. striata due to the abundance of this tooth at Purse, but I didn't notice any of the trademark striations. I believe it may be Hypotodus verticalis, but there were several others that also seemed to be relatively good matches. 

 

This one may be Anomotodon novus.

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Andúril Flame of the West

Appreciate the replies MarcoSr and bthemoose. The pictures certainly are not the best as they were taken rather hastily and many of the teeth are rather small. Your input is greatly appreciated and I now feel a bit more confident as far as IDs for the next time I head out in that direction. :D

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