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Fossil Bone

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SoreBack

Hello,

We found this in a Cretaceous New Jersey stream today. It was on a gravel bar, not in formation. It is definitely fossilized.

Thanks in Advance,

Steve

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jpevahouse

Fossil bone fragments can be the most difficult to ID using a photograph. There are so many variables that without close examination of the specimen it can very difficult to discern whether the specimen is bone or a rock that looks like a bone.

Edited by jpevahouse

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SoreBack

Here are few close ups that I think show the actual surface structure as well as canals. I know it's difficult to tell from a fragment but I was hoping that some type of ID could be made. The stream where this came from is loaded with concretions, particularly where I found this.

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squali

I agree it is bone and the pores look reptilian.

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jpevahouse

Yep, sure looks like bone. Additional photos help. A bone that size found in Monmouth County, Cretaceous deposit would likely be mosasaur.

Edited by jpevahouse

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Harry Pristis

My impression is of a deer long bone. If pressed, I might make a very low-confidence guess of deer tibia.

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SoreBack

Is the degree of fossilization dependent on age? This bone is dense and rock like and does not have the feeling of fragility that I've felt in some other pieces of fossil bone.

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Carl

My very first reaction was also mosasaur.

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njfossilhunter

Its a Splenial ... A portion of a Mosasaur jaw....I posted a ID photo on your post in the trip section of this find. I will post it here.

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SoreBack

Thank you njfossilhunter and all those who responded! I did a search on Mosasaur splenial bone and I believe you nailed it. Remind me never to play paleontology Trivial Pursuit against any of you folks!

Thanks and Happy Collecting,

Steve

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jpevahouse

Another example of the difficulty of identifying fossils long distance. However, by factoring in size, mineralization and the most likely fossil bone to find in that location I agree with njfossihunter.

Edited by jpevahouse

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njfossilhunter

Here are two pictures of my speicmen that was ID by Dave Parrish

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Edited by njfossilhunter

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SoreBack

There is a definite similarity between the two specimens. My wife and I are going to try to see Dr. Parris to show him some horse material and I'll bring this bone as well as some other bones that we've found in the Eocene/Miocene. Thank you for posting this photo.

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non-remanié

I can understand Harry's impression, but I agree with the mosasaur ID, especially after the close-ups. I have a similar piece or two that I thought was mosasaur, but never had a precise bone ID. If mine are also splenials, that seems to make splenials not too uncommon. I wonder if there could be a reason that splenials would be more common than other skull elements in NJ?

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njfossilhunter

There is a definite similarity between the two specimens. My wife and I are going to try to see Dr. Parris to show him some horse material and I'll bring this bone as well as some other bones that we've found in the Eocene/Miocene. Thank you for posting this photo.

Your welcome.....Dave loves seeing peoples finds....just give him a call first because he use to take the month of september off.... I collected a lot of Eocene and Miocence fossils from both NJ and Virgina and would love to see what you have...If you would like you can PM me with some photo.

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SoreBack

I read that the splenial was thought to be a sort of reinforcing bone that acted as a splint for the dentary bones if they were broken during feeding or fighting. Maybe these bones, given their presumed function, are denser than other bones and simply fossilized more readily.

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njfossilhunter

I can understand Harry's impression, but I agree with the mosasaur ID, especially after the close-ups. I have a similar piece or two that I thought was mosasaur, but never had a precise bone ID. If mine are also splenials, that seems to make splenials not too uncommon. I wonder if there could be a reason that splenials would be more common than other skull elements in NJ?

It might be that its a small section from the jaw that needs to be more dense because of the way the jaw section works to swallow its prey ,,,like a snake does,,,making it less likelly to brake apart then the rest of the jaw or skull elements that needs to be lighter in weight...plus most fossils that are found in NJ brooks come out of the rework layers and have been tossed around for thousands of years.

Edited by njfossilhunter

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Harry Pristis

For comparison:

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jpevahouse

Good point njfossilhunter makes about South Jersey deposits. Cretaceous strata have been eroded into and displaced many times in some areas, particularly South Jersey during the glacial and post glacial era.

Edited by jpevahouse

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The Jersey Devil

This looks more like an angular based off of Harry’s picture.

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