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Bones From Onion Creek


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#1 BobC

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 09:03 PM

Hey guys--about a year ago a paleontologist from UT came out with me to Onion Creek and took a look at a skeleton I found there. He told me he thought it was a Pleistocene mammal, maybe a camel or a horse. He said he'd get a permit to excavate it--but he obviously never followed through because the skeleton is still there, although at this point most of it has been swept away. I went out there tonight and collected some of the bone in hopes somebody might be able to ID this thang.

Here's a link to the video from last year:


#2 BobC

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 09:05 PM

Here are some of the bones I dug up tonight--more to come

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  • bones_onion.jpg


#3 BobC

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 09:10 PM

This is how the bones looked before I dug them out

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  • leg.jpg
  • legtwo.jpg


#4 tracer

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 09:17 PM

<not, by any stretch, making any mooing sounds>
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#5 BobC

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 09:29 PM

Think it's a recent cow? Pretty tiny...

#6 tracer

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 09:46 PM

Think it's a recent cow? Pretty tiny...


no, i'm just on a roll tonight (well, actually, maybe it's a croissant) with my misidentifications, and i didn't want to mess it up. say, that's a giant freakin' rockhammer by the specimens, huh?
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#7 Guest_Smilodon_*

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 10:09 PM

no, i'm just on a roll tonight (well, actually, maybe it's a croissant) with my misidentifications, and i didn't want to mess it up. say, that's a giant freakin' rockhammer by the specimens, huh?


I don't understand why people who ask about fossils never seem to give you the size or the location or either or both!!!!

Chalky bones almost always means recent. Bones appear fused so not a juvenile. Astragulus says artiodactyl. Toes look sturdy like cow/bison. Not knowing size it could be cow, bison, llama, deer.

Short answer, I think I've covered everything it could be - just not what it is. :)

#8 steve71

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 10:13 PM

lots of artifacts from onion creek

#9 Guest_Smilodon_*

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 10:19 PM

Hey guys--about a year ago a paleontologist from UT came out with me to Onion Creek and took a look at a skeleton I found there. He told me he thought it was a Pleistocene mammal, maybe a camel or a horse. He said he'd get a permit to excavate it--but he obviously never followed through because the skeleton is still there, although at this point most of it has been swept away. I went out there tonight and collected some of the bone in hopes somebody might be able to ID this thang.

Here's a link to the video from last year:


Rechecking your post, the paleontologist is pretty bad if he thought it could be horse

#10 MikeD

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 10:31 PM

Save what you can and hope for a positive ID on it being a fossil.

#11 Harry Pristis

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Posted 11 August 2009 - 10:42 PM

Rechecking your post, the paleontologist is pretty bad if he thought it could be horse

I agree with that! LOL

Looks like a deer from here. Many of these bones are featured in my "BONES" album on this forum HERE.


#12 tracer

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 07:22 AM

i definitely don't think it's from a deer. yes, the stuff is pretty small to be from a bovid, but structurally, it seems relatively robust. the deer bones i've found seem much more gracile to me. a particular point is the phalanges - they seem shorter, stubbier, and more massive than would be needed to support a deer, plus they look like bison/cow phalanges i've found, not deer phalanges.

auriculatus was kind enough to post pictures a year ago or so of reconstructed deer legs, so i'll throw up a link to his post. hope you don't mind, auriculatus. your id's are so frequently correct that i think of you every time i want to know what something is.

hey, nice legs
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#13 BobC

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 08:18 AM

Hold on now--before anybody gets all judgmental on the guy in the video--all he could see at that time were ribs and and what he thought were probably verts. All he could say for sure was that it was not a reptile, and judging from where it was found in Onion Creek, it was probably Pleistocene. The camel or horse possibility was just a guess since those fossils from the Pleistocene were found in that area before--and those mammals were apparently plentiful at the time.

Here's a shot of the bones with a quarter for size reference and once again the bones were found in Onion Creek on the East side of IH35 in Austin, Texas

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  • size_ref.jpg


#14 Guest_Smilodon_*

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 08:20 AM

i definitely don't think it's from a deer. yes, the stuff is pretty small to be from a bovid, but structurally, it seems relatively robust. the deer bones i've found seem much more gracile to me. a particular point is the phalanges - they seem shorter, stubbier, and more massive than would be needed to support a deer, plus they look like bison/cow phalanges i've found, not deer phalanges.

auriculatus was kind enough to post pictures a year ago or so of reconstructed deer legs, so i'll throw up a link to his post. hope you don't mind, auriculatus. your id's are so frequently correct that i think of you every time i want to know what something is.

hey, nice legs


While I agree that the phalanges look more cowy than deery, without the size we are in endlessuselessspeculationville.
BobC has only clouded the id by saying they look small for a cow and not giving the size.

#15 BobC

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 08:27 AM

Here are shots of the bank and the creek bed the bones came out of

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  • bank.jpg
  • bed.jpg


#16 BobC

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 08:30 AM

Now listen here Smiley baby--I just posted a quarter in the pic. For a Smiledon, known in the ancient world for their perky personalities, you're a little grumpy. The lower leg bone, if it were whole, would be about 8 inches long, tops.

#17 tracer

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 08:47 AM

don't let anyone get your goat...HEY!? um...got any goat toes? go fish!(?)
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#18 BobC

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 09:03 AM

Hee hee!! I realized after I posted the photos that I'd forgotten to put a size rep in there.

These bones are in VERY compacted, dense gray clay and the leg bones seemed to have been deposited at an angle, so the top of the bone is six inches higher than the end. I have no idea how much more is buried in the clay. But I know there is substantially more there--I could see it.

My friend Linda McCall also saw these bones and thought it was possible they were Pleistocene--unfortunately at the time the creek was really muddy and so little of the bones were exposed. There may even be a skull in that clay--hard to say

#19 Seldom

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 09:05 AM

Now listen here Smiley baby--I just posted a quarter in the pic. For a Smiledon, known in the ancient world for their perky personalities, you're a little grumpy. The lower leg bone, if it were whole, would be about 8 inches long, tops.



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#20 Harry Pristis

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 09:55 AM

Deer Fellow Vertebrate Collectors,

I cervoideally wish I could provide a definitive identification for these bones. Deer me, I have hundreds of 'em.

But deer are gross similarities between some artiodactyl elements. So the only ID I deer to make is Odocoileusy.




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