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Tooth from Bakersfield ID Needed


Fossil-Hound

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Last week I had the opportunity to go on a Bakersfield dig for Miocene shark and mammal fossils with @caldigger @Kurt Komoda and @MrR We had a good time. While there I found a tooth that I'm not exactly sure of. I believe it's a toothed cetacean (whale) and am leaning towards a Sperm Whale but am not sure. Any ideas? The tip of the crown is busted but most of the tooth is intact. Please help me identify this one.

 

 

 

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Whale tooth.

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@ynot any guesses as to the exact species? I'd like to get this one ID'd for my personal collection.

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Most whale teeth are not diagnostic to species and there are some undescribed teeth in the round mountain silt.

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Macrophyseter

IMO, the tooth seems small enough to make a sea lion like Allodesmus kernensis another possible option. If it's indeed a cetacean, I would think it could be from the family Squalodontidae.

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@Macrophyseter I can show you an Allodesmus tooth and this is not that. I actually found one last week. Allodesmus canines where larger than this one average.

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1 hour ago, Macrophyseter said:

the tooth seems small enough to make a sea lion like Allodesmus kernensis another possible option.

Allodesmus canines are round in cross section and have no carnie.

 

1 hour ago, Macrophyseter said:

I would think it could be from the family Squalodontidae.

As I said, cetatean teeth are seldom diagnostic, but if I had to guess I would go with a kentriodontid.

 

Maybe @Boesse can be more specific.

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Jason asked for me to post these two teeth for side by side comparison.

*Upper is toothed Cetacean

*Lower Pinniped canine

20181025_164521.jpg

20181025_164455.jpg

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@ynot @caldigger @Macrophyseter @Boesse @SailingAlongToo after some further review I do believe this is a Squalodon tooth from the ancient Miocene Pacific ocean. In fact that cetacean tooth @caldigger posted appears to be a Squalodon. I'm almost positive what I (and Doren) have is an incisor. Mine has a missing tip.

 

Here's some (online) sources for reference.

 

squalodon_identification.jpg

 

 

 

As to the exact species I believe what I have is an Prosqualodon errabundus.   

 

 

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Macrophyseter
12 hours ago, Fossil-Hound said:

As to the exact species I believe what I have is an Prosqualodon errabundus.

 

Hm. According to this paleontologist, Prosqualodon errabundus is more likely a misidentification for various squalodont teeth in sth rather than an actual species...

http://coastalpaleo.blogspot.com/2016/12/no-you-dont-have-prosqualodon-tooth-and.html?m=1

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3 hours ago, Macrophyseter said:

Hm. According to this paleontologist, Prosqualodon errabundus is more likely a misidentification for various squalodont teeth in sth rather than an actual species...

http://coastalpaleo.blogspot.com/2016/12/no-you-dont-have-prosqualodon-tooth-and.html?m=1

I completely disagree. Yes the species name is somewhat misleading but according to @Boesse this is exactly what it is and I have to agree with him on this one. The species would therefore be Squalodon errabundus. See: 

 

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Hi,

12 hours ago, Fossil-Hound said:

A site selling them (appear similar): 

it is forbidden to put sellers links on TFF !

 

Coco

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Coco is correct; @Fossil-Hound, per TFF guidelines, please do not post dealer sales links.  Thanks.  ;)

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5 hours ago, Fossil-Hound said:

I completely disagree. Yes the species name is somewhat misleading but according to @Boesse this is exactly what it is and I have to agree with him on this one. The species would therefore be Squalodon errabundus. See: 

The Coastal Paleontologist blog that Macrophyseter linked to is written by Boesse. Both that article and the thread you linked to say pretty much the same thing. You might want to read both again.

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3 hours ago, Al Dente said:

The Coastal Paleontologist blog that Macrophyseter linked to is written by Boesse. Both that article and the thread you linked to say pretty much the same thing. You might want to read both again.

What he said is the exact species is not Prosqualodon but S. errabundus. Not sure how much clearer he can be. :headscratch:

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3 hours ago, Fossil-Hound said:

What he said is the exact species is not Prosqualodon but S. errabundus. Not sure how much clearer he can be. :headscratch:

Here is a quote copy and pasted from his response that you linked- “"Squalodonerrabundus needs a new genus name, as it is now represented by multiple skulls from the STH bonebed (in the LACM collections), none of which remotely resemble a true squalodontid.”

 

So he is saying it is not Squalodon.

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10 minutes ago, Al Dente said:

Here is a quote copy and pasted from his response that you linked- “"Squalodonerrabundus needs a new genus name, as it is now represented by multiple skulls from the STH bonebed (in the LACM collections), none of which remotely resemble a true squalodontid.”

 

So he is saying it is not Squalodon.

Right and I'm not disagreeing with that at all. I completely agree but facts are facts. That's the current scientific classification. There's a lot of work that needs to be done towards the proper reclassification of STH cetaceans. Furthermore in that same article he said, "I once asked Larry Barnes (LACM) about this, and he had no idea why - he is thus far the expert on that taxon, and its just 'Squalodon' errabundus." There is work to be done but I'm just trying to use the proper classification so I can label this fossil and I believe I have all that I need for now. Thank you everyone.

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"Prosqualodon errabundus" is not a thing and it never has been. Prosqualodon looks like this (below) and has teeth that have never, ever been found in the northern hemisphere and certainly don't resemble what anyone has ever called "Prosqualodon" from the STH bonebed. Prosqualodon is only known from Australia and Patagonia from rocks that are older than STH; its affinities to other dolphins, including the "Squalodontidae", remain undetermined. That's right! It has Squalodon in the name but in all likelihood has no close relationship with Squalodon.

image.png.a12c6e0421f6ad81ace8a4ca1aee51a7.png

 

Secondly, the species "errabundus" was transferred to the new genus Zarhinocetus like, nine years ago. It's been Zarhinocetus errabundus for nearly a decade. It's known from earbones (the holotype specimen is a periotic) and from at least one beautiful skull) and some postcrania, but to my knowledge we do not know what the teeth look like. Here's the skull and earbones of Zarhinocetus errabundus:

image.png.1fcf40b703765d0fe3684af69883b664.png

 

Squalodon proper - e.g. similar to Squalodon calvertensis - has never been reported from the western USA. The earbones had a passing similarity but Kellogg misinterpreted the holotype periotic, which is quite similar to Allodelphis pratti which was named a few years later from Pyramid Hill. More and more Allodelphis-like skulls were discovered, and eventually complete skulls from the bonebed with some very strange features showed up and identified as the 'owner' of the type periotic of S. errabundus; the genus name Zarhinocetus was erected in 2009 to contain it and one other species, Z. donnamatsonae, named in 2016.

 

Lastly, the teeth that people often identify as "Squalodon errabundus" or "Prosqualodon" are way too large to be Z. errabundus, since the tooth sockets are only a few mm wide. Fossil teeth of a Japanese allodelphinid, Ninjadelphis, are similar to the modern Ganges river dolphin (Platanista) and bear no resemblance to Squalodon or Prosqualodon.

 

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@Boesse excellent information, so should I id this one as S. errabundus? Not exactly sure what to classify it as. I'm trying to classify everything for my own personal records and I might donate them someday. What I have appears to be similar to the teeth recovered from the Calvert Formation in Maryland of Araeodelphis. Thank you.

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40 minutes ago, Fossil-Hound said:

@Boesse excellent information, so should I id this one as S. errabundus? Not exactly sure what to classify it as. I'm trying to classify everything for my own personal records and I might donate them someday. What I have appears to be similar to the teeth recovered from the Calvert Formation in Maryland of Araeodelphis. Thank you.

 

 

This all goes back to what Bobby (Boesse) has said many times in the past when someone offers a whale tooth for ID: by rule teeth are not diagnostic to genera or species - maybe to family.  I have seen this even among the teeth of the modern sperm whale species which can have at least three different tooth forms, which had they been fossils, would also trigger more than one identification among fossil collectors.  I assume it's because odontocetes in general seem to be in the process of losing their teeth.  They're becoming more reduced over time to simpler shapes (and even losing their enamel) as they become fewer in number.

 

I've done a lot of collecting in the STH Bonebed and I have and have seen a number of different whale tooth forms.  It seems logical that you could match up the teeth with the aveoli (plural of aveolus; tooth socket) but there's a lot of variation - so much that you can almost see how they can grade from one distinct form into another. 

 

It's a human tendency to want to categorize everything.  Here you literally want to put a label on a tooth but natural things defy capture in many ways.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, siteseer said:

 

 

This all goes back to what Bobby (Boesse) has said many times in the past when someone offers a whale tooth for ID: by rule teeth are not diagnostic to genera or species - maybe to family.  I have seen this even among the teeth of the modern sperm whale species which can have at least three different tooth forms, which had they been fossils, would also trigger more than one identification among fossil collectors.  I assume it's because odontocetes in general seem to be in the process of losing their teeth.  They're becoming more reduced over time to simpler shapes (and even losing their enamel) as they become fewer in number.

 

I've done a lot of collecting in the STH Bonebed and I have and have seen a number of different whale tooth forms.  It seems logical that you could match up the teeth with the aveoli (plural of aveolus; tooth socket) but there's a lot of variation - so much that you can almost see how they can grade from one distinct form into another. 

 

It's a human tendency to want to categorize everything.  Here you literally want to put a label on a tooth but natural things defy capture in many ways.

 

 

That's totally fine. I'll just id it as S. errabundus for now. Be I right or wrong I suppose that the classification at this point doesn't really matter I just want to be in the ballpark.

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6 minutes ago, Fossil-Hound said:

That's totally fine. I'll just id it as S. errabundus for now. Be I right or wrong I suppose that the classification at this point doesn't really matter I just want to be in the ballpark.

 

56 minutes ago, Boesse said:

Squalodon proper - e.g. similar to Squalodon calvertensis - has never been reported from the western USA. .....eventually complete skulls from the bonebed with some very strange features showed up and identified as the 'owner' of the type periotic of S. errabundus; the genus name Zarhinocetus was erected in 2009 to contain it and one other species, Z. donnamatsonae, named in 2016.

 

Lastly, the teeth that people often identify as "Squalodon errabundus" or "Prosqualodon" are way too large to be Z. errabundus, since the tooth sockets are only a few mm wide. 

 

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9 minutes ago, Fossil-Hound said:

That's totally fine. I'll just id it as S. errabundus for now. Be I right or wrong I suppose that the classification at this point doesn't really matter I just want to be in the ballpark.

 

I interpreted Boesse's post as saying your tooth could not be the animal identified as errabundus because it's way too big.  I think the label for teeth like that in my collection just say "undetermined whale."   You might want to do a search for "errabundus" on this site so you can read previous discussions of it.

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Yeah, kind of missed the whole point of my post! Don't identify isolated teeth as Z. errabundus because we don't know what they actually look like - and this tooth is certifiably NOT one owing to its large size!

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