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jpc

Weird Bone? From York River, Va

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jpc

OK, folks.... here is one that has stumped me. And our staff at our museum. We get a lot of stuff in here that folks ask... "What is it?" Rocks can stump me, but bones I am usually pretty good at, but this one... I'm at a loss.

A woman brought this in yesterday asking us what it is. Her husband found it on the York River in Virginia many years ago. At first I thought it might some sort of plant part, but microscopically, it has bone structure. And it is hinged. I don't know of any hinged plant parts. I don't know of too many hinged bones (other than bird beaks), but this is a different kind of hinge than a bird beak. I'm not sure if this is even fossil or modern. It is heavy suggesting fossil, but it could just as well be some dense bone.

This photo of it in my hand gives you an idea of size.

post-1450-0-53819700-1331834958_thumb.jpg

I'm hoping some of you who spend a lot of time hunting in the shore areas of the mid/south Atlantic states can tell me what it is.

This next photo shows one end of it. The two claw-like structures are hinged and move up and down a bit. They both move leftish a bit, so that the smaller one can sit up against the bigger one.

post-1450-0-96625400-1331835208_thumb.jpg

My guess is some sort of fish part...

Thanks for your help.

jpc

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flyersfan805

That thing is pretty crazy looking! I'm not totally sure I want it swimming around with me in there. I am excited to see what the experts have to say.

Mike

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Al Dente

My guess is hyperostosed fish bone. I collected a modern one from the Gulf of Mexico that was still articulated with another bone that reminds me of your specimen. I'll have to see if I can locate it and post a picture.

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dragonsfly

"moving , articulated parts" suggests to me, Modern.

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Al Dente

Here is a similar hyperostosed bone that I found on a beach in Louisiana. It doesn't look a lot like the one in your photo but I think it is the same bone but from a different species. Mine is the supporting bone articulated to one of the spiny dorsal fin bones. I think it may be called the ptergiophore. I think the small bones in your photo are also part of a spiny dorsal fin.

post-2301-0-59461800-1331845105_thumb.jpg post-2301-0-00586800-1331845128_thumb.jpg

Here are some other hyperostosed fish bones that I found the same day washed up on the beach.

post-2301-0-85454600-1331845216_thumb.jpg

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Dino Hunter

OK, folks.... here is one that has stumped me. And our staff at our museum. We get a lot of stuff in here that folks ask... "What is it?" Rocks can stump me, but bones I am usually pretty good at, but this one... I'm at a loss.

A woman brought this in yesterday asking us what it is. Her husband found it on the York River in Virginia many years ago. At first I thought it might some sort of plant part, but microscopically, it has bone structure. And it is hinged. I don't know of any hinged plant parts. I don't know of too many hinged bones (other than bird beaks), but this is a different kind of hinge than a bird beak. I'm not sure if this is even fossil or modern. It is heavy suggesting fossil, but it could just as well be some dense bone.

This photo of it in my hand gives you an idea of size.

post-1450-0-53819700-1331834958_thumb.jpg

I'm hoping some of you who spend a lot of time hunting in the shore areas of the mid/south Atlantic states can tell me what it is.

This next photo shows one end of it. The two claw-like structures are hinged and move up and down a bit. They both move leftish a bit, so that the smaller one can sit up against the bigger one.

post-1450-0-96625400-1331835208_thumb.jpg

My guess is some sort of fish part...

Thanks for your help.

jpc

To me it looks like some sort of seed to me...

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Auspex

Mr. Tilly Bone; popping up where least expected!

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Indy

Mr. Tilly Bone; popping up where least expected!

I agree...

The large bulb shape is a Tilly bone..The thin elongated shape is the fish's spine.

Here is a web page with comparable images of a similar specimen found on the

Ohio River. Posted on another fossil discussion forum a number of years ago,

by our own Brent Ashcraft LINK :)

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Scylla

At first I thought tilly bone, but then I realized it is fossil garlic :P

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jpc

Thanks for the good answers, folks. I like the garlic idea, so I ate it... and guess what, it was NOT a garlic and now the museum is short one Tilly Bone. OK, so what part of the fish is a Tilly? And why the hinged "claws/spines"?

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Auspex

Tillys are not specific skeletal elements; they are bones that have undergone abnormal growth (and are actually fairly common in fish). They are named for the man who studied them.

This one might have been an erectile spine, or part of that kind of structure.

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Al Dente

They are named for the man who studied them.

Actually a woman, Ottilie "Tilly" Edinger.

A good paper on hyperostosed bone (tilly bones) is "Species-specific patterns of hyperostosis in Marine fishes". Smith-Vaniz, Kaufman, Glowacki, 1995. Marine Biology vol. 121, number 4. It has been a while since I've read it but if I remember correctly it dispells some myths about Tilly bones. They are not diseased bones- they occur predictably in certain species, and they are not used for ballast- the density is about the same as the rest of the fish.

Edited by Al Dente

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jpc

Thanks all for the great info. I had a paleoichthyologist id it as the following....

The bones in question are the first proximal pterygiophore of the

anal fin

with the first two anal spines attached.

Class Actinpterygii

Order Perciformes

Family Pomacanthidae

?*Pomacanthus*

which is an angel fish. I asked him, does the tropicalness of angel fishes cause a problem with its showing up in Virginia and Rhode Island? (another person posted a very similar one from Block Island, RI) his thought was that it could certainly be Miocene.

cool stuff

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