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Petebeh

Scute IDs

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Petebeh

Hi everyone,

 

I am once again seeking advice from this wonderful community!  I am learning a lot from a lot of the resources provided here, so I hope to contribute more in the near future.  What I have in question are---

 

Four scutes found in the brooks of Monmouth county NJ.

 

The first and third (from left to right) appear to be crocodilian, being dimpled on one side and smooth and boney on the other. The second has feature consistent with a ray scute with one smooth side and a ridge on the opposite side. The scute I am most perplexed over is furthest to the right; it is dimpled on one side and possesses a ridge(s) on the other side. Can anyone offer insight into these scutes? Thanks in advance!

 

 

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Cris

There are many turtles that have that sort of dimpled texture. Here in Florida, we find pieces of softshell turtle (Apalone ferox) that have the exact texture. I think #2, #3 and #4 are all turtle in your pic. I'm not sure about #1.

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Petebeh

Wow thank you for your insight, Cris!!  I did not even consider softshell turtle!  Thank you again!

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The Jersey Devil

The first is a Crocodylian osteoderm. The second does not appear to be a ray denticle. It looks too bony; it resembles a partial turtle neural. The last two are pieces of shell from the softshell turtle Trionyx.

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Petebeh

Thanks for letting me know. Very interesting!

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Tidgy's Dad

Nice finds! 

I love the turtle piece on the far right! :)

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Carl

Just a clarification of terms: I would definitely avoid the word scute for bony dermal/armor elements, especially for turtles. Osteoderm is best for crocs, dinosaurs, placodonts, armadillos, etc., but this is arguable for the turtle. For turtles it's best to just go with 'turtle shell fragment.' Scute should be reserved for the keratinous coverings of osteoderms, which are rarely, if ever, preserved as fossils.

 

That said, I'll throw in my thoughts about these specimens:

 

1. Sure looks like a croc osteoderm on the dimpled side but the other side is a bit odd. I'd still go with croc osteoderm, however.

2. Certain details look like Tertiary ray osteoderms I've seen but less like what I would expect for Monmouth Co. Not sure there. Definitely vertebrate.

3. This looks like a piece of trionychid turtle shell. Pretty rare.

4. The dimpled face of this one suggests croc but the other surface screams turtle neural. I'm thinking this might also be a trionychid.

 

Nice finds!

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Petebeh

Thanks, Tidgy's Dad! I thought for sure it was a croc osteoderm until I flipped it over. I still have a lot to learn about turtles!

 

Carl, I have seen your post before and I have since tried to adhere strictly to the correct terminology for the most accurate descriptions (This was posted last year). I really appreciate your take on these specimens! These ID's have really piqued my interest in turtles. :)

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