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Boesse is at it Again! Ancient 'Seal' Used Pool-Ball-Size Eyes for Deep-Sea Hunting


Fossildude19

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:dinothumb: Very nice! Kudos to @Boesse for this wonderful article.

 

Thanks for bringing it to Our attention, Tim.

 

Tony

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Thanks guys! I'm happy to answer any questions about the in-prep study if y'all have any.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 11/9/2016 at 7:28 PM, Boesse said:

Thanks guys! I'm happy to answer any questions about the in-prep study if y'all have any.

Bobby,

 

As you know, Bigelow published on the shark teeth found with the skeleton in 1994.  It might be a surprise to some that it has taken this long to publish on the skeleton itself but paleontologists have no problem with saving a project for later - even if it's 20 or 30 years later.  Bigelow (1994) is one of those articles every shark tooth collector should have because it provides background on Squalus occidentalis, best-known as the dogfish from the Sharktooth Hill Bonebed.  It also discusses why the shark is considered to have scavenged the carcass rather than having been the victim.  A good article for the fossil-collecting newbie in any case.

 

My questions would be: 1) have you nailed down the age of the Montesano any further than Bigelow did? 2)  Have other sharks (or other vertebrates) been found there since then?  Related to that, is the "Allodesmus" found in the Santa Margarita now considered to be true Allodesmus or is it hard to say based on just tooth finds?  

 

I look forward to reading your paper.

 

Jess

 

P.S.  For those interested:

 

Bigelow, P.K.  1994.

Occurrence of a Squaloid Shark (Chondrichthyes: Squaliformes) with the Pinniped Allodesmus from the Upper Miocene of Washington.  Journal of Paleontology 68, 3: 680-684.

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Thanks Jess! It is indeed the same specimen, and folks at UWBM have bemoaned its lack of a formal description for over a decade. Unfortunately, Bigelow passed away several years back, and he never got around to finishing the formal description - so Morgan Churchill and I are continuing from where he left off. Actually, we know of no surviving manuscript, so we're essentially beginning from scratch.

 

Bigelow's 1994 article is indeed excellent, and one of the first to propose scavenging rather than predation owing to the tiny size of the teeth. We have not narrowed the age down any further, but work done by Don Prothero (2001, SEPM volume) has narrowed it to 10.5-9.1 Ma based on paleomag, which is quite good.

 

To my knowledge no additional sharks have been collected (e.g. within UWBM collections), but Mike Kelly did donate a nice humerus referable to our new species of Allodesmus from a different outcrop of the Montesano Fm.

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Unfortunately, that Bigelow article is no longer available as a free download (at least not that I can find).  It is locked up behind a pay-for-view wall.  :angry:

 

-Joe

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Thanks piranha!  Is it unlocked for everybody?

 

-Joe

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On 11/18/2016 at 8:38 AM, Boesse said:

Thanks Jess! It is indeed the same specimen, and folks at UWBM have bemoaned its lack of a formal description for over a decade. Unfortunately, Bigelow passed away several years back, and he never got around to finishing the formal description - so Morgan Churchill and I are continuing from where he left off. Actually, we know of no surviving manuscript, so we're essentially beginning from scratch.

 

Bigelow's 1994 article is indeed excellent, and one of the first to propose scavenging rather than predation owing to the tiny size of the teeth. We have not narrowed the age down any further, but work done by Don Prothero (2001, SEPM volume) has narrowed it to 10.5-9.1 Ma based on paleomag, which is quite good.

 

To my knowledge no additional sharks have been collected (e.g. within UWBM collections), but Mike Kelly did donate a nice humerus referable to our new species of Allodesmus from a different outcrop of the Montesano Fm.

 

Bobby,

 

I'm sorry to hear of his passing.  Perhaps a relative could be found to determine the whereabouts of any unfinished research.

 

Allodesmus is an interesting animal.  It's neither a seal nor a sea lion nor a walrus yet still a pinniped so it's perplexing to people not into extinct mammals.  It's like so many others - part of a lineage that died out completely before we could see one alive.  

 

I look forward to reading your article.

 

Jess

 

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20 hours ago, siteseer said:

 

Bobby,

 

I'm sorry to hear of his passing.  Perhaps a relative could be found to determine the whereabouts of any unfinished research.

 

Allodesmus is an interesting animal.  It's neither a seal nor a sea lion nor a walrus yet still a pinniped so it's perplexing to people not into extinct mammals.  It's like so many others - part of a lineage that died out completely before we could see one alive.  

 

I look forward to reading your article.

 

Jess

 

Already tried calling relatives named in his obituary; they denied any relation to him, which was strange.

 

There is indeed a significant controversy amongst marine mammal workers regarding the relationships of desmatophocids - whether or not they are closest to seals, sea lions, or walruses; we've gotten some rather surprising cladistic results that may help firm that up.

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On 11/21/2016 at 7:59 PM, Boesse said:

Already tried calling relatives named in his obituary; they denied any relation to him, which was strange.

 

There is indeed a significant controversy amongst marine mammal workers regarding the relationships of desmatophocids - whether or not they are closest to seals, sea lions, or walruses; we've gotten some rather surprising cladistic results that may help firm that up.

 

 

Hmmm, there's a mystery to be solved there.  It could be spun into a novel in which an enterprising paleontologist becomes a private detective after hitting a roadblock in his research.  

 

 

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