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Possible Fossil Bird Claw? Purisima Fm, Miocene, Capitola, Ca


kimberlight

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Hi,

My 12-year old son and I were fossil hunting in the Purisima Fm (Upper Miocene; 3- 5 MY) at Capitola, CA for his birthday (today). We spotted what appears to be a claw?? It may have come from a Pliocene/Pleistocene sandstone from above the Purisima, as the boulder was not in place.

The "claw" is curved and has a hole in the tip. At the base, there is a ball-shaped structure. Can anyone confirm if we are right, and if so, identify it. If we are WRONG (wouldn't be the first time), please give us the correct answer. Regardless, this was a fabulous B-day present for this paleontologist wanna-be.

Thanks,

Kimberlitepost-6897-0-22279800-1358739534_thumb.jpg

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Looks more like part of a crab claw to me - any pictures from directly above it?

Regards,

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We can take another picture from that angle, but it doesn't look much different. It looks alot like this picture in fossil forum, which has been listed as a raptor bird claw.

post-4230-008421000%201287006406_thumb.jpg, but it is in a matrix. I don't want to remove it because it might break. It has the ball-like feature at the base.

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PrehistoricFlorida

I agree, crab claw.

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Hello there,

The specimen in question is indeed the larger pincer (rather than the moveable 'finger') from a burrowing shrimp, Callianassa. It's approximately 3.5-5.3 Ma in age. Was this from a shell-rich horizon or a block with numerous black pebbles?

I did my master's thesis on fossil preservation at Capitola and other Santa Cruz localities.

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Thanks! It was from a small (~10 cf) medium gray sandstone block at the base of the cliff. The rock was not particularly hard and contained few shell fossils. Yes, it had black pebbles. There was also another out-of-place very loose sandstone sitting on top of it that was very friable, lighter brownish color, and contained several small shark teeth and what looked like small vert bone fragments.

I hear the locals want to put up a seawall that will cover up the fossil beds in the wall. Any news? It would be so sad as it is such a wonderful learning spot for kids. I brought two sixth graders and they loved looking at all of the fossils in the walls. Great place to learn about geology and ocean safety.

What were the conclusions of your thesis?

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