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Fossiljones

Limb Bone from Cooper River SC

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Fossiljones

Hello Forum members,

 

I found this limb bone while diving the Cooper River in SC.

I initially thought it likely to be a deer bone based on the overall size and proportions, but I'm unable to match it to any deer bone descriptions I've found.

Any ideas?

 

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Harry Pristis

It's a radius, but I have less confidence in an ID to whose radius.  Deer would be my guess, as well.  I don't think I have a deer radius in my collection.

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Fossiljones

Thank you Mr. Pristis,

I still do not have a conclusive I.D., (I've been searching images online).

 

But anyway, check this out,

I've been de-salinating this bone for three full months.

Yesterday, after posting on here, I figured it's been soaking long enough, and I can let it dry out.

So I left it on a paper towel, and when I got home from work today, these pictures show how I found it.

The outer layer started to peel, and fall off. There are pieces not even touching the bone, like inches away.

It's like the pieces  jumped off...

Now mind you, I live alone, and am currently between dogs, so this thing was not touched, and the pics show exactly how I found it when I got home from work, compared to the pics which were taken, and posted yesterday.

 

Interesting.

 

I've not experienced this before.

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ynot

Bummer.:wacko:

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FossilDudeCO

you don't happen to have it under an AC vent or a fan do you?

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Fossiljones
1 hour ago, FossilDudeCO said:

you don't happen to have it under an AC vent or a fan do you?

Hey FossilDude,

No, not near a duct, but I have been running the AC quite a bit lately so the house is pretty dry.

Thing is, this is the only fossil that has reacted like that.  Strange.

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Harry Pristis

One likely explanation is that the bone is not as well-mineralized as you might expect out of the Cooper River.  Hold one of those splinters in the flame of a butane lighter (or match), then smell it.  If it smells like burnt hair (scorched collagen), the bone is not a fossil, but more than likely to be from a recent deer.

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Fossiljones
18 hours ago, Harry Pristis said:

One likely explanation is that the bone is not as well-mineralized as you might expect out of the Cooper River.  Hold one of those splinters in the flame of a butane lighter (or match), then smell it.  If it smells like burnt hair (scorched collagen), the bone is not a fossil, but more than likely to be from a recent deer.

Hi Harry,

 

Yes, it may produce a burnt hair smell, but it's so very faint, I can't tell if I'm detecting burnt hair smell, or just the odor of burning river dirt (my sniffer is not the best).

It continued it's disintegration today.   You can see a clear difference in Today's vs Yesterday's photos.

Well, I'm glad it was nothing rare...

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Harry Pristis

I think you have the answer:  The bone is not mineralized and there is some collagen remaining.  A recent bone (in the paleontological scale of time}.

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ynot

Nothing like a slow motion explosion!:yay-smiley-1:

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Fossiljones
55 minutes ago, Harry Pristis said:

I think you have the answer:  The bone is not mineralized and there is some collagen remaining.  A recent bone (in the paleontological scale of time}.

Yeah, I think it's "old", just not "fossil" old

9 minutes ago, ynot said:

Nothing like a slow motion explosion!:yay-smiley-1:

Tony, I'm gonna let it do it's thing, then once it's completely dry,   I'll clean it up and consolidate it, and see how it turns out.  I'll post the "post-consolidation" pics.

I'm finding the whole self-disintegration process quite interesting, and informative.  I've got quite a few Mastodon bones that I've been soaking for a very long time, and I'd hate for the same thing to happen to them once I dry them out.

 

Question:  you know what I think would be really cool....?

Answer:  If there was an economical way for regular Joes to carbon date their finds....  This may be a deer radius, or it may be a 1000 year old deer radius.  Who knows?

It would be cool to fill in that blank without having to spend 500 bucks to do it...

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Coco

Hi,

 

I think that the drying is too fast for a not fossilized specimen. I hade the same problem with mandibles found in the Loire (the biggest and the most majestic of the French rivers !).

 

If now I had the same problem, I would put the bone in a plastic bag with quite small holes to slow down the drying. It is the process which we use on some ammonites of the Forth French coast which have a very crisp colored coat (layer).

 

Coco

 

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Fossiljones
On 7/20/2017 at 5:06 PM, Coco said:

Hi,

 

I think that the drying is too fast for a not fossilized specimen. I hade the same problem with mandibles found in the Loire (the biggest and the most majestic of the French rivers !).

 

If now I had the same problem, I would put the bone in a plastic bag with quite small holes to slow down the drying. It is the process which we use on some ammonites of the Forth French coast which have a very crisp colored coat (layer).

 

Coco

 

Hello Coco, thanks for the suggestion.

I've previously read discussions about slow vs fast drying, but I've never had a problem before so I've never done anything to retard the drying process once I remove them from the de-salination process.

I've got what I believe to be a deer Tibia(?), with which I'll try your plastic baggie method.

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Fossiljones

When it was finished drying, here is what the Radius looked like, after I picked it up and brushed off all the loose pieces:

 

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I then stuck it in the oven at 275 deg F for about twenty minutes, then soaked it in a solution of Butvar B-76 & Acetone (18:1 by volume).

Here is the finished product:

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Harry Pristis

I think this was a good learning experience for more than a few of us.  Thanks for sharing.

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Fossiljones
On 7/22/2017 at 7:44 PM, Harry Pristis said:

I think this was a good learning experience for more than a few of us.  Thanks for sharing.

Harry, do you agree with my ID of this as a Deer Tibia? Sorry I didn't have anything in the pic for size reference, it's 10.5" long.

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I've de-salinated and dried hundreds of bone fossils, and too many shark teeth to count, but never had one disintegrate like the Radius I started this post with did.

However, most of the fossil bones I've dried seemed to be very well mineralized.

I've got a few Mastodon, and Mammoth pieces including teeth, ivory, and bone, which I've never allowed to dry, because they seem a bit "woody" to me, and I'm not sure how they'll react.  I've read on here to be especially careful when drying Ivory.  I've also got pieces like the very nice Camel Metatarsal you identified for me on here a couple months ago, which also seems less than fully mineralized.

Anyway... I keep all these types of bones soaking in water, never letting them dry.  But I've now got too many water filled plastic totes containing fossils stacked up, and I need to get them dried out and consolidated.

Practicing on these less than fully mineralized deer bones will be a good learning experience.

 

BTW Harry, I've found your posts regarding consolidation very helpful.

 

Question: Is there a term for the thin outer layer of a bone?  It seems to be of different composition than the interior of the bone.

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Harry Pristis

Looks like it could be deer.  Try to fit an astragalus to the distal end. The outer layer of bone is cortex, the spongiform inner part is trabecular bone.  You'll have to decide about drying the bones.  If you want, you can dry them for a few hours, then put them in an alcohol or acetone bath for a few days before consolidation.  Either solvent is compatible with Butvar B-76.  I've never had to do this because I am accustomed to finding well-mineralized bones in Florida rivers.

astragalusdeer.jpg

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