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Littlefoot

Possible Poop From Brownie's Beach

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Littlefoot

Calling all poop people!

 

This is from Brownie's Beach, so Miocene era. I actually thought it was dog poop at first, and had some choice thoughts about the person who didn't clean up after his/her dog. Then I looked closer, poked it, and discovered it was rock, so into my pocket it went.

 

I find the whole field of coprolites to be really tough with IDing, as no two poops seem to be alike. I do a lot of my IDing by cross-comparing pictures online using my trusty pal Google, and this is one where I'm not finding anything that gives me an "aha!" moment. But it looks like feces, and I'm guessing shark based on where I found it. I'm not licking it because if someone comes back and tells me it's really dog poop then -- ugh! Let's not go there!

 

So help me, experts of the Fossil Forum! You're my only hope!

 

 

 

 

 

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oldtimer

You got to lick it... :hearty-laugh:

Seriously.  It does resemble a coprolite but let other more knowledgeable members speak up.

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RyanDye

More often than not coprolites can only be classified very broadly, unfortunately I don't know any experts on it. If this does end up being a genuine coprolite your original thesis would most likely be correct if shark coprolite is common in the location of where you found it. Lets see what others say :popcorn:

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ynot

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sixgill pete

I completely agree with @Tidgy's Dad on this. Internal mold of a gastropod. Worn and not complete.

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WhodamanHD

I’d go  so far as to say it’s an Ecphora steinkern.

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Littlefoot

Thank you so much for your feedback! I can see gastropod in the shape, and I think that's a really good ID for this one! Not as amusing as coprolite, sadly, but safer for licking!

 

WhodamanHD, I'm not able to find pictures of Ecphora steinkern online. Do you have any you could share, or links you could provide? I'd love to see it if you have anything!

 

I was able to find pictures of Ecphora Gardnerae (which happens to be the state fossil for Maryland -- I didn't know that!). Is that similar to Ecphora steinkern?

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WhodamanHD
5 minutes ago, Littlefoot said:

WhodamanHD, I'm not able to find pictures of Ecphora steinkern online. Do you have any you could share, or links you could provide? I'd love to see it if you have anything!

A steinkern is the technical term for an internal mold of a shelled creature. As you know, an Ecphora is a murex snail (and a very fragile prize indeed, the little brown shell pieces on the beach are crushed ones). Here is a picture of an Ecphora in a boulder, you can kinda see the steinkern inside it. That’s the closest picture I have. Just imagine the inside of an Ecphora being filled with sediment, and yours somehow hardened up as they sometimes do. Steinkerns are much more common for Turritella, clams, and other bivalves but every now and then you get an Ecphora one.

56EE182C-C099-4D51-BD87-A5D762770168.jpeg

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Littlefoot

YES! That's a fantastic explanation! THANK YOU SO MUCH, WhodamanHD!

 

I think that ID is really spot on -- Ecphora steinkern!

 

Thank you, all off you, so much for helping me with this mystery item! And I learned a whole lot as well!

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WhodamanHD
2 minutes ago, Littlefoot said:

YES! That's a fantastic explanation! THANK YOU SO MUCH, WhodamanHD!

No problem, anytime. And you can call me Mason:D

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GeschWhat

Yep, I would say gastropod steinkern as well. One thing that distinguishes this from a spiral coprolite is that the width of material tapers down at the end. If it was a spiral coprolite, it would be like a ribbon or rope of a consistent width wrapped around itself. There are variations, but that is the basic principle. When in doubt...lick it! :P

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Littlefoot

GeschWhat, that helps a lot with helping to ID coprolite versus gastropod. Thank you!

 

And one of these days, I may reach the licking stage, but right now, I'm still in the newbie "you want me to lick WHAT?!" stage. :D

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Carl

Yep, I'm fully on board with the snailheads. That's a snail steinkern.

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Plax

from Tulane Studies (number 7 is an ecphora steinkern
PRELIMINARY BIOSTRATIGRAPHY AND MOLLUSCAN FAUNA OF THE
GOOSE CREEK LIMESTONE OF EASTERN SOUTH CAROLINA
MATTHEW R. CAMPBELL
GF,OLOGY DF,PARTMENT
THE COLLEGE OF WILLIAM AND MARY
WILLIAMSBURG. VIRGINIA 2318.5
and
LYLE D. CAMPBELL
DIVISION OF NATURAL SCIENCES
UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA
SPARTANBURG. SOUTH CAROLINA 29303

Pages from 666-2352-1-PB.jpg

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abyssunder

Specimen 7, plate 5 (Ecphora bradleyae Petuch - Size : 34 mm; Museum Catalog number ChM PI 12425) looks like a weathered specimen, not a steinkern. :)

 

M. R. Campbell, L. D. Campbell. 1995. Preliminary Biostratigraphy and Molluscan Fauna of Goose Creek Limestone of Eastern South Carolina. Tulane Studies in Geology and Paleontology 27(1-4): 53-100

 

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Littlefoot

Thank you, Plax and abyssunder!

 

Just out of curiosity, how would one tell the difference between a steinkern and a specimen?

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Plax
23 hours ago, abyssunder said:

Specimen 7, plate 5 (Ecphora bradleyae Petuch - Size : 34 mm; Museum Catalog number ChM PI 12425) looks like a weathered specimen, not a steinkern. :)

 

M. R. Campbell, L. D. Campbell. 1995. Preliminary Biostratigraphy and Molluscan Fauna of Goose Creek Limestone of Eastern South Carolina. Tulane Studies in Geology and Paleontology 27(1-4): 53-100

 

good point particularly since the shell is calcitic and preserved when aragonitic shells are dissolved. I think the OPs gastropod steinkern is from one of the more common aragonite shelled gastropods. Am not seeing the open whorls of an Ecphora reflected in the gastropod steinkern. I appreciate the correction!

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WhodamanHD

The actual shell will be hollow. They also tend to be a brown color. 

2 hours ago, Plax said:

Am not seeing the open whorls of an Ecphora reflected in the gastropod steinkern.

Can you explain what you mean by open whorls? 

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Plax

Each convolution of the shell is a whorl. Some snails have more open whorls and some tight.  It has a flattened or depressed area on top of each whorl. Looking at the picture of the Ecphora I posted from the literature the whorls would not be as tightly wrapped or I guess they'd have space between them once the thick calcitic shell was gone.

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sixgill pete

I agree with Plax on this. While it is definitely a gastropod internal mold (or steinkern) I am 99.9999999% sure it IS NOT ecphora. 

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WhodamanHD

@Plax thanks for the explanation. The shell gets pretty tight towards the top (with thin walls at this size) in the ones of seen (the species in the appear is not one I’ve come across). But I do see what your saying, and it may very well be the case.

@sixgill pete that’s a very high certainty, do you cite the same reason as @Plax? I admit I’m a bit skeptical, maybe an example of a better fit from the Calvert Formation make me leave the Ecphora hypothesis. 

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Littlefoot
8 hours ago, Tidgy's Dad said:

With experience you will learn to tell most of them quite easily. 

Thank you for your explanation! I look forward to learning the ways of the fossil hunters! Right now, I'm just lurking around the site, trying to see the same things the pros do!

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Tidgy's Dad
1 minute ago, Littlefoot said:

Thank you for your explanation! I look forward to learning the ways of the fossil hunters! Right now, I'm just lurking around the site, trying to see the same things the pros do!

Me too.

I am hardly a pro myself, just a keen collector trying to learn a little.  :)

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