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Fossils in Cape Cod?

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Hey everybody, so I was wondering about whether or not fossils, specifically shark teeth, can be found in New England, specifically around the Cape Cod area. Sadly, I can't afford to travel to the Carolinas or Florida or anything to hunt for fossils, so I'm really curious if beaches in the Cape would contain anything promising. Thanks for any help, I'd really like to start collecting my own shark teeth rather than purchasing them.

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Fossildude19

Nothing on the Cape, as far as I know, ... but over at Martha's Vineyard at Gay Head, they have been found.

See This Thread.

Mass Fossil Site List.

Unfortunately, that area is also off limits, as far as I know. :(

Sorry, but it looks like you'll have to live with shopping the internet if you cannot travel to other states.

New Jersey would be closest to you. Smaller teeth, though.

Regards,

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mrieder79

Maryland is also a great place to look for shark teeth. Calvert cliffs and the potomac river have fossil exposure. It's a little closer than NC and a lot closer than Florida. Honestly, as far as surface hunting goes, I think that maryland has opportunities that are as good as Florida.

Cretaceous shark teeth can be found in New Jersey. Google Big Brook Fossils.

Google is your friend. You might be able to find closer spots.

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Untitled

Nothing on the Cape, as far as I know, ... but over at Martha's Vineyard at Gay Head, they have been found.

See This Thread.

Mass Fossil Site List.

Unfortunately, that area is also off limits, as far as I know. :(

Sorry, but it looks like you'll have to live with shopping the internet if you cannot travel to other states.

New Jersey would be closest to you. Smaller teeth, though.

Regards,

That sucks. New Jersey is still quite a drive. I guess that purchasing teeth is my only way for acquiring them (for now)

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sixgill pete

Several years ago a gentleman came into the Aurora Fossil Museum. He was from Massachusetts and had a box of teeth that he said were found on Cape Cod. There were many makos, some great whites and other Pliocene teeth. He said they came out of some cliffs. Possibly near some state park if I remember correctly.

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Mombo

New Englander here.

In terms of the Cape Cod area, I haven't heard anything in regards to sharks teeth and the like there. Your best bet to fossil hunt is actually in Rhode Island at an area called Cory's Lane. Any fossils you find in the southern New England area will be Pennsylvanian fossils. This was the time period where reptiles evolved amniotic eggs and the world was a giant swamp. Fossils from later periods just didn't survive because of the glacial action ground them to paste essentially.

Also, contact your local rock and mineral group. There's one based out of Boston and another based in Southern Massachusetts. Both could give you further insights into local areas.

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Fossildude19

New Englander here.

... Any fossils you find in the southern New England area will be Pennsylvanian fossils. ...

Not quite true. That would hold true for South Eastern New England. :)

Cambrian trilobite fossils were found around Boston.

Jurassic dinosaur footprints, fish, plant, insect, and coprolite fossils,as well as rare dinosaur bones, .. are well known from the Newark Supergroup Basins in South Central New England. ;)

Regards,

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Untitled

Thanks for the input everyone!

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Bguild

Southern Massachusetts from the Attleboro area down into Rhode Island has some pretty decent localities that yield plant fossils. As mentioned above, these are Pennsylvanian in age. Fossils can also be found in Western Massachusetts and the Connecticut River Valley. Western Massachusetts is known for it's dinosaur footprints (Our state fossil). You can also find plant/fish fossils out in western Mass. Additionally, trilobites have been found in Braintree and a few other areas in the Mass/Rhode Island area, but these are rare. Basically what it boils down to is that it's easy to find plant fossils in our area, but other fossils require you to really know where to look (and patience).

Unfortunately, I think you are out of luck when it comes to finding shark teeth in New England.

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lunamothjess

YES, you can find shark teeth, whale bone, fossil clam shells, etc around there

 

I live on Martha's Vineyard and have hundreds of shark teeth & a large collection of bones I've found upisland, where the cliffs are.

 

Note that the cliffs are off limits for climbing - everything I have I found actually on the beach, fallen out of the cliffs.

 

Teeth I have range from 1/2" to a huge 4 1/2" one. I'm assuming my 3-4" ones are from some rather sizeable sharks (megalodon, I presume?) but most are 3/4" - 1 1/2", probably extinct mako & the like. I do have one that was identified as an extinct thresher shark, it is a very differently shaped tooth, about 1" on the diagonal.

 

I picked up a fossilized vertebrae today, about 4" long, but I saw a bone approximately 16" embedded in the cliff (2 1/2x length of my hand). I'm thinking thse are whale bones? 

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Fossildude19
31 minutes ago, lunamothjess said:

YES, you can find shark teeth, whale bone, fossil clam shells, etc around there

 

I live on Martha's Vineyard and have hundreds of shark teeth & a large collection of bones I've found upisland, where the cliffs are.

 

Note that the cliffs are off limits for climbing - everything I have I found actually on the beach, fallen out of the cliffs.

 

Teeth I have range from 1/2" to a huge 4 1/2" one. I'm assuming my 3-4" ones are from some rather sizeable sharks (megalodon, I presume?) but most are 3/4" - 1 1/2", probably extinct mako & the like. I do have one that was identified as an extinct thresher shark, it is a very differently shaped tooth, about 1" on the diagonal.

 

I picked up a fossilized vertebrae today, about 4" long, but I saw a bone approximately 16" embedded in the cliff (2 1/2x length of my hand). I'm thinking thse are whale bones? 

 

 

Welcome to the Forum from Connecticut. :)

We'd love to see your collection . :popcorn:

Regards, 

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TNCollector
8 hours ago, lunamothjess said:

YES, you can find shark teeth, whale bone, fossil clam shells, etc around there

 

I live on Martha's Vineyard and have hundreds of shark teeth & a large collection of bones I've found upisland, where the cliffs are.

 

Note that the cliffs are off limits for climbing - everything I have I found actually on the beach, fallen out of the cliffs.

 

Teeth I have range from 1/2" to a huge 4 1/2" one. I'm assuming my 3-4" ones are from some rather sizeable sharks (megalodon, I presume?) but most are 3/4" - 1 1/2", probably extinct mako & the like. I do have one that was identified as an extinct thresher shark, it is a very differently shaped tooth, about 1" on the diagonal.

 

I picked up a fossilized vertebrae today, about 4" long, but I saw a bone approximately 16" embedded in the cliff (2 1/2x length of my hand). I'm thinking thse are whale bones? 

 

I would be interested to see what you found. The entire Cape cod area is made out of gneiss, granite, and other metamorphic rocks and Martha's Vineyard sits on Cretaceous mud. If there are Cenozoic fossils around there, it would probably be an important discovery.

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lunamothjess

I'll take some photos & post them up soon - maybe y'all can help me figure out if these are whale bones or something else... 

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Pagurus

Thanks for your post. I'm looking forward to seeing some of your collection as well. I'd love to get to Martha's Vineyard again soon. Last time I was there I wasn't sure if collecting, or even walking on the beach in some areas was still allowed. I know the cliffs themselves are off-limits, but I wasn't clear about the beach. Maybe it depends on the tides? Even without collecting it's a wonderful place. I'm glad you've made some excellent finds there.

 

There are well-known greensand Miocene deposits at the Gay Head cliffs containing a variety of marine fossils. I've mostly seen only summary reports though. I would like to find some of the full versions. The USGS lists a 1983 report by Clifford Alan Kaye, with a description of the greensand deposit at Gay Head cliffs:

 

"The Gay Head Greensand is here named in Martha's Vineyard, MA. It is part of the Gay Head moraine, composed of thrust plates made up of remnants of Coastal Plain sediments which were stacked up during Pleistocene glaciation. It is also found in borings and excavations in Marshfield and Duxbury. It consists of greenish-gray to bluish-gray, thin, highly fossiliferous, silty, glauconitic sand with authigenic quartz pebbles, phosphate nodules, and glauconite nodules containing fossils of mollusks, fish, and crustaceans. Overlies granite bedrock; underlies the Devils Bridge Clay with erosional contact. Thickness is 0.3 to 3.5 m. Age is Miocene."

 

A Fossil Forum post from a few years ago also describes some finds from there: 

 

I found this report to be especially interesting and helpful as well:

Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard & Nantucket, The Geologic Story, Odale, Robert N., 1992, revised 2001, On Cape Publications.

https://woodshole.er.usgs.gov/staffpages/boldale/geology.pdf

It notes that, "The greensand is Miocene in age and is about five million
years old. Over many years it has produced the remains of fish,
shellfish, crabs, reptiles, and mammals, including whales, rhinoceros,
and mastodon. "

 

I'm looking forward to seeing what you've found!

 

 

Mike

 

 

 

 

 

 

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jpc

Mass native speaking here.  I remember in ninth grade geology class we learned that the Cape is all Pleistocene.

 

https://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/capecod/glacial.html

 

But yes, Gay Head on Mahtha's Vinyahd is Miocene, but I do wonder about the legality of collecting there.  

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steelhead9

I have lived on Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod for the last 45 years. You will be looking a long long time before you find a sharks tooth on Cape Cod. Martha's Vineyard, on the other hand, is pretty rich in marine fossils. The green sands of the Gay Head cliffs are the best area but climbing and fossil hunting is strictly forbidden by the Wampanoag Tribe. You can walk the beach and often there are green sand deposits at beach level. Many crab concretions, whale and seal vertebra, and occasional sharks teeth can be found. The conglomerate outcrop at Lucy Vincent beach in Chilmark is loaded with small sharks teeth and is the best bet for actually finding a tooth, although you will not find meg teeth there. Lucy Vincent is open and accessible all months except June - August, when it is residents only. Hope this helps and good luck hunting. 

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lunamothjess

Actually, Lucy Vincent is where I've found all of my teeth, including my 3-4" ones. I assume those are from megalodon...?

 

Anyway I'll post pics up soon in another thread of my teeth & bones. 

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steelhead9

Yes, you are correct that they are megalodon. What I should have said is that any larger teeth I have found there are in such poor condition compared to Gay Head megs that I pretty much discount them. In 30 years of collecting there I have never found a decent meg. Not saying they don't exist and if you have found them, good for you. I have found some really nice small teeth there and hundreds of tiny (1/8" to 1/4") white teeth. I've posted these before, but here are the megs I have found at Gay Head and some Lucy Vincent teeth (center row are from Gay Head).

DSCN3209.jpg

DSCN3208.jpg

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lunamothjess
28 minutes ago, steelhead9 said:

Yes, you are correct that they are megalodon. What I should have said is that any larger teeth I have found there are in such poor condition compared to Gay Head megs that I pretty much discount them. In 30 years of collecting there I have never found a decent meg. Not saying they don't exist and if you have found them, good for you. I have found some really nice small teeth there and hundreds of tiny (1/8" to 1/4") white teeth. I've posted these before, but here are the megs I have found at Gay Head and some Lucy Vincent teeth (center row are from Gay Head).

 

 Oh those are nice...

 

I've actually never had any luck up in Aquinnah, I think I'm not looking in the right place. Ive found a rather large deposit of fossilized wood & pyrite, looks like black clay but is actually a very lightweight substance, I'm assuming some sort of plant material that has been sealed in the clay of the cliffs. Lots of that has come out of the cliffs along with the clay & is all over the beach.

 

I've found one really nice big tooth (about 2" long & narrow) on Lucy Vincent, unfortunately the biggest one I have fell out of an arch left after Sandy hit and cracked. A few days after I brought it home, I picked it up and half of it broke off into splinters. But I kept the other half as it's still cool & my son (who is obsessed with sharks) would kill me if I got rid of it.

 

Problem at LVB is that they are so embedded in that hard clay/rock cliff that they might as well be encased in concrete.  

 

My friend who finds the teeth in Aquinnah also finds clam shells in the same spot, recently too. I keep looking for the right place but I haven't yet found it...... & for some reason she won't tell me, says it's a secret. 

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Fossildude19

I've found that New Englanders like to play their cards close to their chest when discussing fossil hunting sites. ;) 

Can't really blame them. 
It only takes one greedy or thoughtless person to mess things up for everyone. :( 

Regards, 

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steelhead9

Fossil sites and fishing spots!

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jpc

New Englanders and Wyomers.  : )

 

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lunamothjess
14 minutes ago, steelhead9 said:

Fossil sites and fishing spots!

But she's my friend! She knows I won't mess it up.....

 

But yeah  if you think I'm giving up where I go to fish the Derby, you're clean outta luck!

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steelhead9
2 hours ago, lunamothjess said:

But she's my friend! She knows I won't mess it up.....

 

But yeah  if you think I'm giving up where I go to fish the Derby, you're clean outta luck!

Check your pm.

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