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More Micros From The Peace River And Cookiecutter Creek

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Auspex

The Cookie Cutter symphesial tutorial may just be the best thing I learned today :D

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digit

The Cookie Cutter symphesial tutorial may just be the best thing I learned today :D

I've been enlightened in so many ways and not just learning about new types of fossils that I then have to add to my bucket list. :)

Whenever I can switch the student hat for a teacher hat I'm glad to disseminate any bits of knowledge I've be fortunate to have acquired--it's the very least I can do to pay back TFF.

I've got enough cookiecutter micro-matrix to (hopefully) keep me entertained through the summer while I wait for the water level to drop in the autumn. Maybe sometime soon I can be persuaded to offer up another flat rate box of this magical micro-matrix to benefit TFF. Don't want to flood the market with it lest it lose it's appeal but Jeff's previous forum auction seemed to generate good interest so possibly another may be in the offing.

Cheers.

-Ken

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jcbshark

I've been enlightened in so many ways and not just learning about new types of fossils that I then have to add to my bucket list. :)

Whenever I can switch the student hat for a teacher hat I'm glad to disseminate any bits of knowledge I've be fortunate to have acquired--it's the very least I can do to pay back TFF.

I've got enough cookiecutter micro-matrix to (hopefully) keep me entertained through the summer while I wait for the water level to drop in the autumn. Maybe sometime soon I can be persuaded to offer up another flat rate box of this magical micro-matrix to benefit TFF. Don't want to flood the market with it lest it lose it's appeal but Jeff's previous forum auction seemed to generate good interest so possibly another may be in the offing.

Cheers.

That would be awesome Ken, I really hoped to do another one but I don't even have a medium box worths left and I think the creek is probably a little deep now. I've had a couple weekends without hunting lately and I think I'm gonna go stir crazy lol

-Ken

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digit

That would be awesome Ken, I really hoped to do another one but I don't even have a medium box worths left and I think the creek is probably a little deep now. I've had a couple weekends without hunting lately and I think I'm gonna go stir crazy lol

I think I'll have to go pick up a large flat rate box from the post office and fill it with a zip-top baggie of the magical Cookiecutter Creek micro-matrix. If there still seems to be interest on the forum for another auction I could offer this up for bidding.

In the meantime, I found a few spare moments yesterday to sort through a cup of micro-matrix to see what other little treasures I could turn up. To my surprise I've now found a second Nurse Shark tooth. Like the first one I found this one is a bit beat up and water worn. The side cusps are by no means sharp and pointy but you can at least make them out in this poor image from my current micro photo setup. Now that I've found two of these after much searching I'm hoping that means these are not vanishingly rare and that I might turn up one in better condition soon. Having ticked off Isistius (cookiecutter) from my shark tooth bucket list I'm hoping for an opportunity to score a nice Nurse Shark tooth (which are really interesting looking when they are in good shape).

post-7713-0-29628400-1436102874_thumb.jpg

Cheers.

-Ken

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digit

Here is the other tooth of interest from yesterday's micro-matrix sorting. I'm guessing from its shape that is is some sort of incisor and I'm thinking possibly some fish species. I've found a couple of these in the past but their exact identity remains a mystery to me. Interesting tiny tooth just a couple of millimeters long.

post-7713-0-70681100-1436104008_thumb.jpg post-7713-0-39799000-1436104022_thumb.jpg

Cheers.

-Ken

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old bones

Here is the other tooth of interest from yesterday's micro-matrix sorting. I'm guessing from its shape that is is some sort of incisor and I'm thinking possibly some fish species. I've found a couple of these in the past but their exact identity remains a mystery to me. Interesting tiny tooth just a couple of millimeters long.

attachicon.gif0705-2.jpg attachicon.gif0705-3.jpg

Cheers.

-Ken

I think these are 'sheepshead' teeth, Ken. And I like the nurse shark tooth you found. They are a favorite of mine. I have found a few Ginglymostoma in the Peace Matrix, but the nicest in my collection are from Sacha's Rattlesnake Creek matrix.

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digit

Sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus) is a member of the Porgy (Sparidae) family and is probably best known for its human-like incisors. Thankfully we don't also have the pharyngeal teeth like this fish or our dentist bills would be out of control. :D

For anybody who has not heard of this before, I submit this image search for some shockingly disturbing fish dentition photos: https://www.google.com/search?q=%22Sheepshead+teeth%22&tbm=isch

From what I can see in the images online it appears that Sheepshead incisors are rather flat and wide (much like our incisors). These teeth seem to be laterally thinner and very thick at the root. I can't say I've seen a matching looking shape in any of the photos of live (or recently so) Sheepshead photos online. I think we're likely in the right family as the Sparidae are known to have some interesting dentary. I frequently find the forked incisors of Pinfish (Lagodon rhomboides) while sorting through my micro-matrix. These are tiny yet distinctive:

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/34330-lee-creek-tooth-id-help-part-2/?p=380375

The state of preservation of micros from Rattlesnake Creek makes me want to pick up some micro-matrix from there next time I'm passing through Gainesville. I'll have to contact John (Sacha) when I'm heading through there to find out where would be a good place to glean a bucket of micro-matrix.

Cheers.

-Ken

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megaholic

Ken,

I have that same scoop shaped tooth in my matrix as well. I'll post some images for comparison. Hulbert does a good simple description of the nurse teeth in his book. Makes me think that one is the extant species.

MH

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digit

I found a few spare moments to break out the Celestron digital "microscope" to take some photos of some of the more interesting micros that have revealed themselves while sorting through my stash of micro-matrix. Again, I have to apologize for the narrow depth of field of these photos as the Celestron doesn't come with an adjustable aperture so the DOF is quite limited. I really need to drop a wad of cash and get myself a decent macro lens and diopters for my DSLR camera so I can take better quality photos.

First up is my third (and again very worn) Nurse Shark tooth. Having searched through lots of micro-matrix before and not turned up a single Ginglymostoma tooth, I'm quite happy when they do turn up on my paper plate while sorting through the micro-matrix. I still find it odd that on an average dive in the Tropical Western Atlantic, Nurse Sharks (Ginglymostoma cirratum) are probably the most frequently encountered sharks yet their teeth are so rare. Possibly their habit of resting on the bottom in channels or under overhangs on the reef allows them to be seen by divers more than many of the open water sharks like Blacktip Sharks, Lemon Sharks or Caribbean Reef Sharks. Still, it is odd that Nurse Shark teeth seem to be orders of magnitude less common than the other fossil shark teeth I find.

post-7713-0-73120500-1437744748_thumb.jpg

The other tooth that brought a smile to my face when I found it is not from a particularly rare species (Hemipristis serra the Snaggletooth Shark). We find large serrated uppers from this species quite often when sifting in the Peace River. They have always interested me since their upper teeth (highly serrated flat blades) are so much different from their lower teeth (long pointed with a thick protuberance on the root and generally lacking serrations). It is thought that the more "needle-like" teeth of the lower jaw are better at capturing and holding its prey items while the upper teeth act like saws to efficiently slice and dissect its meal. It still tickles me that this large and likely fearsome predator is in a family called "weasel sharks". The tooth that turned up while sorting the micro-matrix was this tiny (6 mm) lower. I've found a few broken pieces of tiny hemi uppers in the micro-matrix before but this was the first lower--worn but reasonably complete.

post-7713-0-34298500-1437744756_thumb.jpg

The last tiny shark tooth of interest was this interesting little one that is just about 4 mm across the root and only about 3 mm tall. It has a very thick and slightly curved root so that it will actually stand up if balanced on its root. The angled point of the main cusp would initially make me think Tiger Shark (Galeocerdo) but the root looks so angled that I'm assuming this tooth is a lateral or posterior which may be leading to the leaning of the blade. It's way too thick and not quite the right shape for a Rhizoprionodon (Sharpnose Shark) tooth so I'm currently leaning (though rather timidly) towards a small worn lateral/posterior tiger for a lack of a better candidate. Any thoughts on what the true ID of this one might be?

post-7713-0-23085500-1437744736_thumb.jpg post-7713-0-24574300-1437744739_thumb.jpg post-7713-0-33195400-1437744742_thumb.jpg

Cheers.

-Ken

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digit

From the S-shaped pattern in the occlusal surface of this tiny rodent molar it seems I've found yet another Sigmodon (cotton rat) tooth. The genus name "Sigmodon" literally means "S-tooth". I'm starting to build quite a diverse little collection of these molars and probably have the largest fossil Sigmodon collection of anyone on my street. :P

post-7713-0-13963500-1437748827_thumb.jpg post-7713-0-05522900-1437748830_thumb.jpg

I've found a few upper (and possibly lower) rodent incisors before which are reasonably easy to identify by their curved profile. When the item below was discovered while sorting some micro-matrix (it stood out quite vividly) I assumed this was another incisor. Closeup detail of the cross-sectional profile shows that this is not really a thick "tubular" shaped tooth but is thin and almost "L-shaped" in cross section. It hardly looks like it would work as a tooth so then I considered a rib but being only 1 cm in length that didn't really seem possible for a rodent--but could it be from something else?. I have no idea what fossilized ribs would look like anyway so I'm likely way off on that assumption. I considered that this might be some sort of tooth fragment but the odds of an incisor splitting cleanly in two along its length are likely in the neighborhood of zero--incisors just aren't built to do this. Next, I tried to widen my scope to think of what else might leave a fossil like this--a fish, some sort of invertebrate? I've never really come across a micro-fossil like this so I'm really groping for an ID as it doesn't currently fit into one of my conceptual boxes for the types of items I usually encounter. Some guidance from anybody who has seen something like this before would be greatly appreciated. Here is a photo of the overall specimen so you can see the curvature and a detail of the cross section which seems to have a more rounded edge on one side and a more narrow pointed edge on the other.

post-7713-0-53790300-1437748831_thumb.jpg post-7713-0-75248200-1437748832_thumb.jpg

Cheers.

-Ken

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digit

The last item for today's "show and tell" is what appears to be a fragment of the lower right (or possibly upper left) mandible of (I'm guessing) a fish. The root stubs of several rounded teeth can be seen along the upper edge. This makes me think it may possibly be the outer edge of something in the Sciaenidae (drums/croakers) family. An interesting and novel find for my collection.

post-7713-0-74322100-1437752487_thumb.jpg

Cheers.

-Ken

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Al Dente

I think this tooth could be a posterior sand tiger tooth, maybe Carcharias.

post-2301-0-73825700-1437754674.jpg

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Al Dente

I think your curved fossil is a rodent incisor. I think it is just the enamel, the rest of the tooth got eroded. Rodent incisors will only have enamel on the front side of the tooth. That way as the tooth wears, it will stay sharp like a chisel.

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digit

I think this tooth could be a posterior sand tiger tooth, maybe Carcharias.

Bingo! I'm quite chuffed by this!

Excellent call Al Dente. I find very few Carcharias (Sand Tiger) teeth in the Peace River. For some reason they seem a lot more common when diving/snorkeling off Venice. For some reason I really enjoy the look of the two mini-cusps on the sides of the main cusp. Some day I want to head north to the Carolinas and hunt for Carcharocles angustidens & auriculatus ("angies" and "rics") because I find those side cusps cool--and because we don't seem to get them down here.

I took a look at the Carcharias page on elasmo.com and sure enough in the "Study Set" link at the top which shows a complete half set of uppers and lowers I found a good match for my tooth. If anybody is interested you can go to the link below and click "STUDY SET" at the top to see what I'm talking about. Clicking on the 5th small tooth on the upper row shows a larger 3-side view of that tooth which looks a lot like the one I found. So my thought process about posterior was on target rather than talking through MY posterior. I never would have considered Carcharias given their relative rarity in the Peace but I will in the future.

http://www.elasmo.com/cunningham/sc_ctaurus.html

Thanks for the spot-on diagnosis of this little (no longer) mystery tooth. Should expect no less from you given your choice of avatar photo. :)

Cheers.

-Ken

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digit

I think your curved fossil is a rodent incisor. I think it is just the enamel, the rest of the tooth got eroded. Rodent incisors will only have enamel on the front side of the tooth. That way as the tooth wears, it will stay sharp like a chisel.

That would make sense. I'll have to check some of my more complete rodent incisors to see if I can detect a difference in texture or sheen on the front edge indicating its different composition.

Looking forward to having enough free time to scoop out some more micro-matrix to see what other micro-scale treasures (and mysteries) I can glean from the fine gravel.

Cheers.

-Ken

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digit

Enjoyed a fine Sunday evening listening to one of my favorite NPR radio shows (Says You) with a glass of fine sipping run at hand and a cup of Peace River micro-matrix to keep me occupied while enjoying two of my weekend traditions. No highly novel finds turned up in a cup full of Peace River micro-matrix collected from where a rather large Columbian Mammoth molar decided to follow me home (my wife let me keep him).

Found the normal variety of tiny shark teeth and many of the usual suspects of the micro sorting realm. The two finds that I chose to photograph and share with the class are a nice little fish tooth with an extended root that looks like a micro projectile point hafted onto a shaft (though only a few millimeters long) and a truly tiny tooth from a Rhizoprionodon shark. This tooth (as you can see with the millimeter scale it was photographed on) it just a little over 2.5 mm in width (that's 1/10" for those who have not realized that the rest of the known universe uses the metric scale). The Rhizoprionodon shark that I am most familiar with is an infrequently encountered tiny species of the requiem sharks commonly called the Atlantic Sharpnose Shark (Rhizoprionodon terranovae). This is a smaller species of shark that rarely grows to larger than around a meter in length (and not surprisingly has a rather sharp nose--imagine that). Does anybody know if fossil Rhizoprionodon teeth found in the Peace River are likely to come from this extant species or possibly from some extinct relative with similar dentition? Good opportunity for some education diffusion here.

More interesting finds as they choose to reveal themselves while sorting through my hoard of micro-matix (a wonderfully enjoyable pass time).

Cheers.

-Ken

post-7713-0-34590200-1437957346_thumb.jpg post-7713-0-98625100-1437957345_thumb.jpg

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digit

For those who bid on the recent auction of the 25 pound box of Cookiecutter Creek micro-matrix but didn't have quite deep enough pockets to carry the day in that auction, I'm providing a little vicarious entertainment. I pulled a plastic Solo cup of the remaining micro-matrix from the bucket in my garage and took it into my office to go hunt for some new Isistius (Cookiecutter Shark) teeth. It wasn't too long before that characteristic shape appeared among the fine gravel on my paper plate. My plan was to leave of the tooth in the exact (in situ) position where I first encountered it. I could then grab a camera and share what it looked like at the moment it was revealed to me. Here is this little one:

post-7713-0-18158200-1438093637_thumb.jpg

The root is a little chipped and it is not a rare symphyseal (center) tooth but it has a nice blade and is relatively large (for Isistius teeth) so it will be a happy addition to my growing assortment of these uncommon little teeth. Here it is separated out from the pack to make it a little easier to see:

post-7713-0-64347000-1438093637_thumb.jpg

Hope you enjoyed this vicarious vignette.

-Ken

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digit

Here's another vicarious hunting opportunity for you all. While hunting that cup of micro-matrix where the Cookiecutter Shark (Isistius) tooth above was found, I came across a second tooth a few minutes later. I decided to take a photo of it while it was sitting in my sorting plate right where it was when I first noticed it. I've posted a single higher resolution image of the entire plate of micro-matrix to allow you all to zoom into this image and do a quick hunt to see if you too can spot the tooth. Think of it as kind of a fossil dentition version of Where's Waldo but without the red-and-white-striped shirt and bobble hat.

If you spot the tooth feel free to reply that you did but please keep your responses terse like "Found it!" without giving up any clues to its location so that others may waste an enjoyable minute or two on the hunt.

Click the image below to see the full size photo (unless your eyes are really good and you can spot it from the thumbnail :blink:):

post-7713-0-42964600-1438173066_thumb.jpg

Edit: Note that once you are viewing the large image in your browser window you should be able to click again in the image to zoom in and view it at full resolution. Then you'll need to pan around the image in your browser window (unless you have an incredibly high resolution monitor).

Cheers.

-Ken

Edited by digit

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Khyssa

Found it! Also saw what looks like a nice puffer fish mouth plate.

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digit

Indeed there is--and at least one larger shark tooth visible as well. Hoping others have some fun on this micro hunt. So much easier to post this and have others read this on our new zippy server--Yay!

Cheers.

-Ken

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ynot

Are We looking for the cookiecutter tooth or the 3 other shark teeth that are in the shot? :D

Found it here but it seems to be missing from My search pile. :wacko:

Tony

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digit

Found it here but it seems to be missing from My search pile. :wacko:

Tony

Maybe your search is being affected by the Streetlight Effect. :)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streetlight_effect

It helps to look for Cookiecutters where they can be found. I looked though a 5-gallon bucket of Peace River micro-matrix last year without finding a single one. This was before realizing that any Isistius teeth from this location were likely pulverized to dust by the much larger Peace River. I have collected micro-matrix from some of the smaller creeks but also have not found a single Isistius tooth. I think what makes Cookiecutter Creek so unique is that there is a thick (marine) shell hash layer exposed on the bank just a few feet from where I collected the micro-matrix. Ample marine supply and minimal distance to gravel bed are likely the two factors needed to allow these tiny fragile teeth to survive.

I bet you get some cool looking micros from Sharktooth Hill micro-matrix. That destination is still on my fossil bucket list.

Cheers.

-Ken

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ynot

Maybe your search is being affected by the Streetlight Effect. :)https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Streetlight_effect

It helps to look for Cookiecutters where they can be found.

I bet you get some cool looking micros from Sharktooth Hill micro-matrix. That destination is still on my fossil bucket list.

Cheers.

-Ken

Hey Ken,

I have enjoyed this thread and the nice micros that You are picturing!

I have been looking for cookie-cutters in My second box of matrix from jcbshark, although it is under a small led spot light (micro-streetlight?). I have gone through several cups and found no cookies yet, maybe I am just to impatient and need to keep looking. I did find quite a few in the first batch, so all is not dark.

Yes, there are a lot of really nice things coming out of the shark tooth hill matrix. When I can sort through the thousands of teeth that I have from there I will start a report on them. ( I have searched about 50 pounds of it so far.)

Good luck with Your hunting!

Tony

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digit

Ah, so you got some of the "good stuff" directly from Jeff. Then you are looking in the right place (where they actually stand a good chance of being found). If you've found a few in the first batch then you've got the proper search image which is absolutely essential. One of my other passions is fishwatching (like birdwatching only wetter). I'm lucky to work with a couple of good friends of mine who publish one of the best series of underwater marine life field guides (New World Publications). I do the copy editing for them so that there are as few errors as possible in the printed editions of the books. We occasionally hear from other fishwatchers who have been wanting to see one unusual species or another and have had a hard time spotting one on a dive. We usually check to ensure they are looking within the range for the species--no use looking for a fish in Florida if it only occurs in Cozumel or off the coast of South America. Next we check to make sure they are searching for it in the proper habitat--some species are only found in caves or underhangs or sometimes away from the reef in seagrass beds. When that checks out then we might suggest that they just need to slow down and search the proper habitat more closely as the species may only be 2 cm in length and easy to miss. Then the penny drops--we feature reasonably full frame images of the species in the book and without the proper search image (and usually without reading the size information printed right next to the photo) they may have assumed the fish was much larger (say 30 cm). Without having the proper search image you can be looking on a totally different size scale and missing your target entirely.

The first Isistius tooth that I found was much smaller than I thought it would be. I pictured them in my mind at least twice the size that I find them. You've seen Isistius teeth in person so you know what you are looking for so it will just take patience as you've covered all the other bases. I generally find about one tooth per plastic Solo cup full of matrix. I weighed a cupful and it is right around a pound. This concurs with Jeff's experience of about 1 tooth per pound on average. It's, of course, the "on average" bit that makes things interesting. The teeth are by no means evenly distributed throughout the matrix. I can sometimes go through a few cups with lots of other goodies but no Isistius. The cup that I sorted through for the above two teeth contained a third broken tooth (split in half) so that is 2.5 teeth per pound for that cupful. I started thinking about this last week when putting together the latest auction offering. If the teeth were 10x more plentiful in this source of the micro-matrix they would likely lose their rarity and charm. Finding one would be about as exciting as finding a Lemon Shark tooth (fun but not challenging). If they were 10x more rare then you'd only expect to find maybe 2 in a 20-25 lb box and some people might not be willing to put in the effort to secure the prize (though hard-core hunters would likely welcome the challenge of the slim odds). I think the Cookiecutter Creek micro-matrix is peppered with just about the right amount of Isistius teeth to make sorting through it an addicting challenge. Then, of course there are all of the other barracuda, drum, and other shark teeth (and other micro fossils) to keep the interest going between the less frequent Isistius scores.

I encourage you to post a photo here of the next Cookiecutter Shark tooth you find from your matrix.

Cheers.

-Ken

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ynot

Hey Ken,

Went through another 2 cups this afternoon and found one cookiecutter, well 7/8ths of one !! But like You said it is the other oddities that make it fun. I found 2 teeth that look like civil war era mini balls. The larger is about 0.7 cm., while the other is much smaller.

Will try to get photos tomorrow.

Tony

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