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Shark Tooth Hill (Ernst Quarry) Hunt on 2016-01-22


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Hey-hi Ken,

Love the pictures-- that new lens works great!

Also You have made some nice finds.

I think that the smaller tooth in the heterodontus anterior picture is actually a Trakis tooth. (Another one of the rare teeth that come out of the Sharktooth hill matrix.)

Tony

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Cool. I've seem some of the larger flatter Triakis teeth in the micro-matrix. This one looked different without the angle of the main cusp as I've seen in the others. Likely, it is a more medial tooth--maybe even symphyseal (or close). I'll try to dig up some of the better Triakis teeth that I've found and see if I can get a clear photo of these tiny treasures.

Cheers.

-Ken

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  • 3 weeks later...

I just realized that I had some images of our finds from Shark Tooth Hill still on one of the small point-and-shoot cameras. I guess I had saved the best for last as these were pictures of our favorite (and largest) tooth. Measuring in at 2.125" this was the mako tooth pictured earlier in this topic with my wife proudly showing off her find at the moment of discovery in the field. This piece was on such a small chunk of matrix that the only prep needed was to clean off the matrix from the front of the root. The remaining matrix was stuck to the back of the tooth which provides a perfect rest to display the tooth upright. Here are photos of the tooth before and after the minimal clean-up.

post-7713-0-08719400-1457364288_thumb.jpg post-7713-0-50691300-1457364288_thumb.jpg

Cheers.

-Ken

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That is a very nice tooth!

Here are a couple of the matrix pieces that I got that day. (I finally got them done.)

post-16416-0-49880600-1457365284_thumb.jpg post-16416-0-64441700-1457365307_thumb.jpg

Front..post-16416-0-56586500-1457365320_thumb.jpg

Top...post-16416-0-39998100-1457365340_thumb.jpg

Tony

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I finally had a free moment to play with the Helicon Remote software that came with the Helicon Focus package that I bought. This software puts your camera into "live view" mode where it raises the mirror in the camera an allows the camera's image sensor to view the image through the lens. With the camera tethered to my computer via a USB cable I could easily view what my camera was seeing by looking at my computer screen. The software is pretty simple to use. My rule is that if you can get the software to do what you want without reading any user manual then it is well designed. I'm sure I could read about all of the options and other tricks the software is capable of doing for me but good software should make doing basic things as easy as falling off a log--this software passes that test.

Before playing with my impossibly small micros, I decided to give it a larger item to experiment with first. I chose a nice 1.75" mako tooth from the trip. Unfortunately one of the ends of the root was broken off so with appropriate positioning to minimize the view of the broken end, I staged the tooth at a pleasing angle for photography and used the software to control my camera. My earlier experiments manually adjusting the focus to shoot multiple images as input for the focus stacking software were of limited success. Sometimes, the amount you have to move the focus ring is so slight that it is difficult (if not impossible) to get equally spaced images with the focus shifted just slightly. With this software you use your computer to nudge the camera's focus to the nearest point where something is in focus and lock that point. Then, you step your focus bit by bit to the furthest part of your image where something is in focus. This tooth required 34 images at the camera's minimum focus stepping amount. Clicking the Start Shooting button automated the process resulting in the stack of images that were then sent to the Helicon Focus software for merging together into a well-focused image with an impressive depth of field.

This is just the first experiment but I'm real happy with the software and I'm sure I'll have more fun with it as I get into its full capabilities.

Cheers.

-Ken

post-7713-0-14601600-1457882825_thumb.jpg

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Oh my Heavens, that is a gorgeous image!

Any trouble getting the lighting just right?

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I had two light sources for the photos to partially eliminate harsh shadows. I have a small goose-neck with a bunch of LEDs that have a slightly warmer than neutral color cast to them. It is pretty easy to get this light in close to the object without appearing in the photo. Additionally, I bought a large lighted magnifying lens called a "page magnifier" that comes on a heavy weighted stand meant to be placed next to a comfy chair and assist those with failing vision in reading (or doing other precision tasks like needlepoint). It has two banks of slightly cooler color cast LEDs (60 in total) on either side of the large central lens. It is a bit trickier to get in close to the object to be photographed but both lights allow me to illuminate without hand-holding anything.

With the camera on a sturdy tripod and the computer program running the show, it is as easy as a few mouse clicks to take all of the photos and stack the images for the resulting image. I did some minor color balancing of the resulting image and cropped to an appropriate size. Really, quite automated and simple--I'm quite pleased with the results. The real test will come when I try to take photos of some of the truly tiny finds that are about the size of a sesame seed.

Cheers.

-Ken

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post-7713-0-34979700-1457968560_thumb.jpg

Here's an interesting little tooth I spotted in the micro-matrix. It's got a very thick root for the size of the blade. In addition to the fine serrations down each side of the blade there appears to be a raised portion along the serrations on either side of the main cusp that almost appear to be very modest side cusps (or I could just be seeing things). The tooth is quite small--approximately 6.5mm (~1/4") across the base of the root.

Since the tooth has serrations, that would seem to leave out mako. The blade doesn't seem right for what would be the world's tiniest meg tooth. It is too large for a Triakis (houndshark) and not the right shape. The teeth of Squalus (dogfish shark) have very fine serrations but look nothing like this. The only other serrated tooth species that I can think of from Shark Tooth Hill would be one of the Tiger Shark species or Hemipristis and I don't quite see this tooth resembling any teeth of those species that I've seen before. As I don't know the biodiversity of shark teeth found at STH (but I'm continuously learning) I suspect this may be something I've not encountered before. Anybody recognize such a tooth?

I'll post to the Fossil ID section if I get no response here.

Cheers.

-Ken

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Here's an interesting little tooth I spotted in the micro-matrix.

I think it's a Physogaleus symphyseal.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Here's another micro-mystery. I had a free moment this morning to sort through a little more STH micro-matrix to see what else might be hiding in there. I've been finding a number of lateral Heterodontus teeth (now that I have the search image) but the anterior teeth are either more scarce or I'm missing or misidentifying them. There are also lots of Cetorhinus Basking Shark teeth of which I'm quite fond and a surprising number of Squalus occidentalis Dogfish Shark teeth of all sorts of sizes and colors. I really enjoy the odd-looking shape of the Squalus teeth--the enameled crown of the tooth appears to grow primarily on one side (labial) with the bulk of the root on the backside. I also like the part of the enamel that seems to "drip" down like melted candle wax. None of the teeth we find in the Peace River appear anything like this and novelty does have its charm.

So here's the mystery--this odd little tooth revealed itself this morning:

post-7713-0-89639300-1458847792_thumb.jpg

It also has the enamel primarily on one side of the tooth with the bulk of the root material located on the back side. There are multiple oddly-formed "drippy bits" suggestive of a Squalus tooth. You'll see from the image above that the tooth on the left (if it is a Squalus) is a most odd one. It is possible this is from an entirely different species (as I don't know the taxa from Shark Tooth Hill very well yet) and that I'm just seeing Squalus-like features on this odd tooth. If it is a Squalus tooth though then what the heck is going on here? Could this be a symphyseal or maybe an extreme pathological tooth?

I did a little google image searching for "symphyseal squalus teeth" and came across an interesting looking tooth that turned out to be from MarcoSr's excellent series of recent posts of his extant shark jaws. His posting was on another genus of sharks in the order Squaliformes--Centrophorus. http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/60590-extant-centrophorus-granulosus-gulper-shark-jaws/?p=645585

I wonder if Squalus have similar looking symphyseals? There's an opportunity to learn hear and I'm all ears.

Cheers.

-Ken

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Hey Ken,

Nice tooth. J elasmo shows no symp. for squalus. My guess is it is a pathologic squalus.

Tony

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Yah, can You show pictures from other angles?

Tony

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Yup. I'll setup the camera tomorrow and get some other angles.

Cheers.

-Ken

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PA Fossil Finder

Here's another micro-mystery. I had a free moment this morning to sort through a little more STH micro-matrix to see what else might be hiding in there. I've been finding a number of lateral Heterodontus teeth (now that I have the search image) but the anterior teeth are either more scarce or I'm missing or misidentifying them. There are also lots of Cetorhinus Basking Shark teeth of which I'm quite fond and a surprising number of Squalus occidentalis Dogfish Shark teeth of all sorts of sizes and colors. I really enjoy the odd-looking shape of the Squalus teeth--the enameled crown of the tooth appears to grow primarily on one side (labial) with the bulk of the root on the backside. I also like the part of the enamel that seems to "drip" down like melted candle wax. None of the teeth we find in the Peace River appear anything like this and novelty does have its charm.

So here's the mystery--this odd little tooth revealed itself this morning:

attachicon.gif2016-03-24 09-35-40.jpg

It also has the enamel primarily on one side of the tooth with the bulk of the root material located on the back side. There are multiple oddly-formed "drippy bits" suggestive of a Squalus tooth. You'll see from the image above that the tooth on the left (if it is a Squalus) is a most odd one. It is possible this is from an entirely different species (as I don't know the taxa from Shark Tooth Hill very well yet) and that I'm just seeing Squalus-like features on this odd tooth. If it is a Squalus tooth though then what the heck is going on here? Could this be a symphyseal or maybe an extreme pathological tooth?

I did a little google image searching for "symphyseal squalus teeth" and came across an interesting looking tooth that turned out to be from MarcoSr's excellent series of recent posts of his extant shark jaws. His posting was on another genus of sharks in the order Squaliformes--Centrophorus. http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/60590-extant-centrophorus-granulosus-gulper-shark-jaws/?p=645585

I wonder if Squalus have similar looking symphyseals? There's an opportunity to learn hear and I'm all ears.

Cheers.

-Ken

What a strange tooth! I would also guess it's a pathological Squalus tooth. I, too, love the strange little Squalus teeth - I wonder what sort of diet requires such a strange dentition?

Because of their smaller size, I've noticed the anterior Heterodontus teeth (and other tiny fossils) tend to fall to the bottom of whatever container you're keeping your microfossil matrix in. Just by shaking or moving the bag, the pebbles tend to sort themselves by size - the finer grains (and fossils) always fall to the bottom. Once you get to the last of your matrix, you'll probably find a few more anterior teeth.

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Just out of curiosity, I wonder whether a Hydrogen Peroxide soak would break-up the silt?

As a freelance professional avocational pseudo-scientist, I decided to run an experiment. I took some of the STH matrix I received from Tony and, after a first pass to pull out any fossils I could see, subjected the rest of the nuggets of hardened matrix to a bath of standard 3% H2O2 (hydrogen peroxide). Despite the slight fizziness when poured over a small amount of matrix in a plastic cup, it seems to be no more effective than water in dissolving the little clumps of matrix to reveal any fossils within. It's interesting in that these little bits of matrix are not really all that hard and will easily break into smaller pieces (but not completely turn to silty sand) with firm pressure when squeezed between the thumb and forefinger--this stuff is not as hard as granite but seemingly just hard enough to resist dissolution with solvents like water or hydrogen-supplemented water with an equitable composition of H and O. I may try some weak acid solutions (vineagar, etc.) to see what effect that has on the matrix nuggets (and any fossils inside).

Cheers.

-Ken

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I may try some weak acid solutions (vinegar, etc.) to see what effect that has on the matrix nuggets (and any fossils inside).

The results are in--vinegar has no effect on the hardened matrix nuggets. Will go back to trying the freeze/thaw method.

Cheers.

-Ken

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A destination that belongs on your fossil bucket list. Make no excuses--just go there.

Cheers.

-Ken

(I should get a commission from Rob at the quarry. :))

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  • 4 years later...

I went on a tooth and jaws shark online and online binge about 10 years ago and will very soon begin making more surf necklaces and earrings and such with the remaining small juvenile Great white shark and Tiger shark teeth I have.  Always wanted to go to Shark tooth hill after reading about it. Sounds like the premium site is the way to go for me as I'm primarily interested in white mako and tigers and their close relations Loved your photos and story God Bless you- Chris

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