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Biconoid22

Bakersfield Sea Lion Skull Id

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Biconoid22

This is a sea lion skull I was lucky enough to find last Friday (June 7th) at the Ernst Quarry's in Bakersfield. It is from the round mountain silt of middle Miocene age. I am wondering what the species is, maybe it could be Alledesus or Neotherium but don't know how to tell. Any ideas are appreciated, thanks!

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PRK

Allodesmus is a large sealion skull Over 12in

Whereas Neotherium is a seal with a 6 to 8 in skull

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Biconoid22

The skull is broken in pieces on a matrix that is about 8 by 4 inches. It is hard to see the other bones in the photos because they don't stand out much against the matrix.

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caldigger

Yes remember Chris, when wanting an ID, it is important to give measurements and or something familiar to use as a reference to size. You were definitely having a good weekend as far as finds were concerned. I wish it were a little cooler so us "old" guys didn't get so worn out. HA!

Keep in mind people, always stay hydrated even if you don't feel thirsty. I don't think I could have drank enough Gateraid and water.

Chris, did you decide to prep out the big tooth or keep the root in the matrix and how big was that second one with just the tip showing?

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hardlyatwork

congratulations on the great find!

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vertman

Pretty cool specimen!

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fossilized6s

Awesome find! Congrats!

Is that a associated bone in the matrix?

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PRK

That premax skull looks very thickboned almost walrus/seal cross

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Biconoid22

What your seeing in the photo is mostly broken pieces of the roof of the mouth with the front of the jaw intact. It is sitting on a rib which may very well be from another marine mammal.

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Boesse

Whoa! Fantastic specimen - I can tell you it's not Allodesmus, as it has a couple of double rooted teeth. It's got really worn teeth, so it's probably an old adult. What is the width across the canine teeth?

Is there any chance you'd be willing to donate this specimen to a museum for study? I can tell you straight away that I would leap at the opportunity to study such a specimen.

Bobby

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Biconoid22

I suspect the skull is worn from the ocean instead of being an old animal because some of the shark teeth in the hole were unusually worn for the area. The problem I have with donating this to a museum is that it will probably end up in the basement after a week and not be enjoyed by anyone. If it were a new species or of very important scientific significance I would consider it but its probably a well known species. Here are some more pictures with a broken 7 inch ruler...so professional... Also a couple pictures of a 3 inch mako I found the next day after the sea lion. I kept a little matrix on the big mako Dorin.

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Biconoid22

The 3 1/4 inch mako.

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caldigger

Wow, it turned out even longer than originally thought ( the root was buried in matrix). Boy, the color didn't last too long. I remember it was a real milk chocolate brown when it first hit the air. I got one in the past that was sky blue when I first uncovered it and within about fifteen minutes it started turning gray. I wish the color would remain, that would be really cool.

We'll have to do this again sometime.

Edited by caldigger

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Boesse

Hey Biconoid,

Thanks to the new photos I'm able to confirm that it's a specimen of the archaic sea lion-like walrus Neotherium. The other possibility would have been the larger walrus Pelagiarctos which I've published on from the Topanga Formation of Orange County, but this is much too small.

While there is admittedly little possibility that the specimen would be put on display, I will assure you that the specimen is of scientific interest as only one skull of Neotherium exists in museum collections (a second skull was present in the Ernst Collection but may - or may not - have been auctioned off) - and your specimen is considerably more robust. The tooth wear is also not post mortem - that exact style of tooth wear is known in extant pinnipeds, but has not really been documented well in the fossil record. So, aside from contributing greatly to the knowledge of the skull and dental anatomy of Neotherium, your specimen may also have some interesting implications for diet and/or feeding. I consider the specimen to be of considerable scientific interest - but the choice is yours.

Bobby

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fossilized6s

Bobby, is there such a thing as "loaning" a specimen to a museum? I know museums like to keep them, document them and store them for future study. But given the new technology with 3D printing and scanning isn't it possible?

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Auspex

Bobby, is there such a thing as "loaning" a specimen to a museum? I know museums like to keep them, document them and store them for future study. But given the new technology with 3D printing and scanning isn't it possible?

Scientific protocol requires that results be reproducible, so with specimen-based research, the physical specimen must be preserved in a curated collection permanently. This is the true purpose of museums; permanent access for future researchers.

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Boesse

Bobby, is there such a thing as "loaning" a specimen to a museum? I know museums like to keep them, document them and store them for future study. But given the new technology with 3D printing and scanning isn't it possible?

Scientific protocol requires that results be reproducible, so with specimen-based research, the physical specimen must be preserved in a curated collection permanently. This is the true purpose of museums; permanent access for future researchers.

So, you are both right. Some researchers get around this by securing a high quality cast of the specimen, and leave the original in the private collection. However, it's not something I believe in. If someone wanted to sample something from the actual bone or tooth - say for isotopic analysis - it's a no go. I don't have any interest in studying a specimen I cannot publish on, and I cannot publish it if the specimen is not within a permanent museum collection. Loaning a specimen temporarily achieves nothing - ultimately the specimen cannot be published upon, so it's sort of a waste of time for both parties involved.

That being said, what I CAN do in cases like this is produce a high quality painted cast for the collector, so they still have a physical facsimile if they so desire.

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Xiphactinus

fossilized6s - we have donated specimens and received casts for our collection. This is indeed the best of both worlds. (And don't forget the tax write off!)

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fossilized6s

Thanks guys. I've heard of casts being given to the donater. I'm just wondering why couldn't a virtual record be made? It would give you all of the dimensions as well as highlighting points of interest of the specimen by virtualy coloring the different sections. And when you clicked on the area, past notes and studies would pop up. Granted getting a physical sample would prove to be hard. But i think a virtual fossil bank would save tremendous amounts of time for the Palaeontologist.

I don't know....just a thought i had.

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Xiphactinus

The main reason for curating the real deal is that we don't know what technology will be around in 20-50-100 years. Who would have thought 100 years ago when loading a dino into a horse drawn wagon that someday computers would be able to "slice" it into sections someday?!

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Opisthotriton

The main reason for curating the real deal is that we don't know what technology will be around in 20-50-100 years. Who would have thought 100 years ago when loading a dino into a horse drawn wagon that someday computers would be able to "slice" it into sections someday?!

Well said!

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MarcoSr

I can understand that it is very difficult to donate a prized specimen. I wouldn't donate a specimen just to sit in a drawer in some museum basement. However, if you have a paleontologist who is willing to study and publish a paper on your specimen, that is something that you shouldn't pass up.

Marco Sr.

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sixgill pete

First, let me say, AMAZING find. Congratulations Biconoid22!!!

Second, if I had found this skull and Bobby had the desire to study and possibly publish on, I would not hesitate to donate it. I would want a cast for my collection, I have seen professional cast's of donated specimens and you cannot tell they are cast's. But, it is your decision.

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Carl

I used to have an extremely hard time donating specimens. But after I parted with that first important specimen I noticed that the spiritual payoff from a donation was so much greater than whatever I felt keeping the specimen. Now, there is that first thrill of finding the fossil (a feeling that can never be taken away) followed by a very gratifying feeling of contribution. True, things may wait in a drawer for years to be researched but I can tell you that for the right researcher stumbling on a treasure in a collection the feeling is as exhilarating as finding a one of a kind fossil treasure in the field.

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Auspex

For species with a really small fossil sample size, you never know when one new one might provide some crucial detail that will kindle a whole new insight or line for inquiry. Science is an accumulative process, never finished.

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