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KimTexan

Peculiar break or bite marks?

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KimTexan

I took some pictures of all the bison leg bones last night. After I was done taking pictures I was sitting on the couch next to where the were on the floor. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something odd that I hadn’t noticed before. 

There are lots of chips and breaks on these bones and I have just passed them all off just breaks, however this one is different.

Have a look and tell me what you think. It kind of looks like something took a bite out of it.

This is the angle that caught my eye. It is the lower end of the femur. The lateral epicondyle.  If the bison were standing this would have been a bite to the back inside edge of the knee, kind of where the hamstring would attach in a human. It would be a good way to take a large animal down. Take note of the bottom edge. That is the lateral epicondyle. To the right of the big chunk missing there is a cluster of 4 small punctures into the bone. On the medial epicondyle there is another cluster of 4 puncture marks into the bone. To the right of them is a gouge in the bone. Close up pics below.

 

F14DA210-0B51-49AD-98B3-924F4D8D6103.thumb.jpeg.1f2646b7502fdca9dd0a69e39272ca67.jpeg

 

Lateral condyle. Note the 4 punctures and possibly a 5th or it didn’t quite get a grip and it slid or something.

 

187A1868-B229-4274-BBE4-83BB302AEBCB.thumb.jpeg.59f029f6e22c2094d8f7f5e7dd3f6f27.jpeg

 

 

Lateral condyle surface. You can see there is another puncture mark top left near the break (gray with mud in it). The other little holes are where blood vessels passed into the bone. The hole I speak of is a bigger hole with 2 tiny holes on its edge at about 3 and 4 o’clock. I probably should have put arrows or a circle.

 

7AA84E7C-FADD-4A74-95E7-16A7C2396C73.thumb.jpeg.976a388e4ea734b21c7f1c35a973b0f8.jpeg

 

Diagram of human femur blood vasculature from googling so you can understand bone vasculature. The veins shown in the diagram are larger ones. There would be many little ones as well. That’s what all the holes are in the pic above, besides the largest hole on top left near break.

 

67C43070-6168-4A21-BD6E-B3A0D5304079.thumb.jpeg.ff94cce47995133055b5cafe67b98d00.jpeg

 

A little bone anatomy explanation.

The broken edge at back you’re looking upon is the lateral condyle. You can see the 4 puncture marks there. The other side facing away is the lateral epicondyle. The inside edges are condyles. The outside edges of these structures are epicondyles.

The edge closest is the medial epicondyle. It also has 4 puncture marks and a gouge.

 

898508F9-8A75-41E6-B41B-6C224ECECB37.thumb.jpeg.e3b5c8cd10b50be8a014b47ca7349ffa.jpeg

 

This shot is ooking down on the break. It is a different texture than parts of the bones I have found that broke recently from falling off the bank, broken while in situ prior to extraction, broken during extraction. . . So the break happened a while back postmortem and had time to weather and smooth the bone a little or it happened while the animal was alive and it didn’t die immediately and the body tried to heal a little. I don’t know which. I tend to think the latter. 

 

FC487479-AAA7-461C-ADCB-CCF15900C2C5.thumb.jpeg.9bbc91e3e7ac71444ea86baa2075110e.jpeg

 

This is the other femur for comparison that looks completely healthy (besides being dead). That remind me me of Bones from the original Star Trek. “It’s dead Jim. I’m a doctor not a magician.” Or something along those lines.

 

2BA29C39-FF69-4CFD-9119-9E42B4B7366E.thumb.jpeg.eab9e1526e43c34bf3e7588e0051d5b7.jpeg

 

Close set up of the marks on the medial epicondyle.

If the marks are from a bite mark, it’s a strange tooth pattern.

 

A7BEE946-E5FA-43B7-9C39-C46205DF55F7.thumb.jpeg.a8e5f776c156b8d54000c1acca5a229f.jpeg

 

Puncture marks on the lateral condyle surface.

187A1868-B229-4274-BBE4-83BB302AEBCB.thumb.jpeg.59f029f6e22c2094d8f7f5e7dd3f6f27.jpeg

 

What do do you all think? 

Maybe cleaning out the puncture marks better would shed more light. 

Thoughts and comments would be appreciated.

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facehugger

Wolf trying to take hold in mid-run?

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ynot

Carcase scavenging?

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KimTexan
24 minutes ago, ynot said:

Carcase scavenging?

It could be, but this leg was fully articulated. Still completely together. All kinds of things could be inferred, but it is hard to know.

 

The 2 sets of puncture marks make me think of a tooth or teeth, but I don’t know teeth with a cluster of 4 sharp points clustered like that.

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Ludwigia

@5 Humper Welcome to the forum and thanks for the knowledgeable post.

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KimTexan
6 hours ago, 5 Humper said:

Hi KimTexan.  I'm new here.  I really enjoyed all your posts about your magnificent articulated bison skeleton discovery.  Big congratulations on that.  I'll take a stab at helping us figure out what caused the puncture marks on your bison's femur.  Like you said, and showed in photos, skeleton is beautifully articulated, so scavenging would have been at a minimum and unlikely.  I do think those are bite marks, though.  Although the puncture clusters consist of 4 or more holes, there are distinctive 3-holed triangles in each cluster.  In the maxilla of wolves, the largest bone-crushing molar has 3 main cusps that, if they come into contact with, say, bone, would leave a triangular mark of three punctures matching the cusps, similar to on your femur.  And it was a bite hard enough to apparently rip off part of that lateral condyle as well...ouch.  That's right where the patella used to be, too, before wolfie possibly ripped off your bison's knee cap.  Double ouch.  Did you find either or both patellae yet?   Additionally, when wolves bite prey as powerful as bison, the violent kicking will thrash the predator and cause its bite to slip all over the place, leaving a plethora of punctures and tooth scrapes on bone.  Since scavenging is unlikely, looks like your bison might have encountered a pack of wolves in the last moments of its life.  But what's more, looks like it may have escaped in a fierce battle, only to fall into the river shortly thereafter, die, then miraculously become buried in a flood event before the skeleton had decomposed so much that connective tissues and cartilage had time to rot away such that the bones would have dis-articulated and scattered.  Submerged mammal skeletons can remain articulated for a few weeks in the right situation.  Less oxygen down there.  No scavenging gators to rip it all apart in your neck of the woods, either (I think).  I've been cogitating on whether your bison represents Bison antiquus, which lived until latest Pleistocene, or Bison bison, which, as I understand, evolved directly from B. antiquus approx. 8k years ago.   B. antiquus is up to 25 % larger than B. bison.  Bone mass, size, horn core width, hump size (measured as the length of the spinous processes on your critter's thoracic vertebrae) can help us determine species of your skeleton, if it hasn't been done already.  Pardon me, still learning how to navigate and post on forum.  Can't wait to see and hear more about your excavation, preservation and learning experience.  

Welcome to TFF.

Thank you for your comment. Enthralling description. I’m getting ready for work. I’ll respond with more later.

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fifbrindacier
6 hours ago, 5 Humper said:

Hi KimTexan.  I'm new here.  I really enjoyed all your posts about your magnificent articulated bison skeleton discovery.  Big congratulations on that.  I'll take a stab at helping us figure out what caused the puncture marks on your bison's femur.  Like you said, and showed in photos, skeleton is beautifully articulated, so scavenging would have been at a minimum and unlikely.  I do think those are bite marks, though.  Although the puncture clusters consist of 4 or more holes, there are distinctive 3-holed triangles in each cluster.  In the maxilla of wolves, the largest bone-crushing molar has 3 main cusps that, if they come into contact with, say, bone, would leave a triangular mark of three punctures matching the cusps, similar to on your femur.  And it was a bite hard enough to apparently rip off part of that lateral condyle as well...ouch.  That's right where the patella used to be, too, before wolfie possibly ripped off your bison's knee cap.  Double ouch.  Did you find either or both patellae yet?   Additionally, when wolves bite prey as powerful as bison, the violent kicking will thrash the predator and cause its bite to slip all over the place, leaving a plethora of punctures and tooth scrapes on bone.  Since scavenging is unlikely, looks like your bison might have encountered a pack of wolves in the last moments of its life.  But what's more, looks like it may have escaped in a fierce battle, only to fall into the river shortly thereafter, die, then miraculously become buried in a flood event before the skeleton had decomposed so much that connective tissues and cartilage had time to rot away such that the bones would have dis-articulated and scattered.  Submerged mammal skeletons can remain articulated for a few weeks in the right situation.  Less oxygen down there.  No scavenging gators to rip it all apart in your neck of the woods, either (I think).  I've been cogitating on whether your bison represents Bison antiquus, which lived until latest Pleistocene, or Bison bison, which, as I understand, evolved directly from B. antiquus approx. 8k years ago.   B. antiquus is up to 25 % larger than B. bison.  Bone mass, size, horn core width, hump size (measured as the length of the spinous processes on your critter's thoracic vertebrae) can help us determine species of your skeleton, if it hasn't been done already.  Pardon me, still learning how to navigate and post on forum.  Can't wait to see and hear more about your excavation, preservation and learning experience.  

Wow, thanks for those explanations. Welcome here :tff:

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5 Humper

Most welcome, my pleasure....and thank yall.   

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abyssunder

I can't see the pictures of the first post. :headscratch:

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fifbrindacier
1 hour ago, abyssunder said:

I can't see the pictures of the first post. :headscratch:

I could see them 4 hours ago, but not now.

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Tidgy's Dad
10 hours ago, 5 Humper said:

Hi KimTexan.  I'm new here.  I really enjoyed all your posts about your magnificent articulated bison skeleton discovery.  Big congratulations on that.  I'll take a stab at helping us figure out what caused the puncture marks on your bison's femur.  Like you said, and showed in photos, skeleton is beautifully articulated, so scavenging would have been at a minimum and unlikely.  I do think those are bite marks, though.  Although the puncture clusters consist of 4 or more holes, there are distinctive 3-holed triangles in each cluster.  In the maxilla of wolves, the largest bone-crushing molar has 3 main cusps that, if they come into contact with, say, bone, would leave a triangular mark of three punctures matching the cusps, similar to on your femur.  And it was a bite hard enough to apparently rip off part of that lateral condyle as well...ouch.  That's right where the patella used to be, too, before wolfie possibly ripped off your bison's knee cap.  Double ouch.  Did you find either or both patellae yet?   Additionally, when wolves bite prey as powerful as bison, the violent kicking will thrash the predator and cause its bite to slip all over the place, leaving a plethora of punctures and tooth scrapes on bone.  Since scavenging is unlikely, looks like your bison might have encountered a pack of wolves in the last moments of its life.  But what's more, looks like it may have escaped in a fierce battle, only to fall into the river shortly thereafter, die, then miraculously become buried in a flood event before the skeleton had decomposed so much that connective tissues and cartilage had time to rot away such that the bones would have dis-articulated and scattered.  Submerged mammal skeletons can remain articulated for a few weeks in the right situation.  Less oxygen down there.  No scavenging gators to rip it all apart in your neck of the woods, either (I think).  I've been cogitating on whether your bison represents Bison antiquus, which lived until latest Pleistocene, or Bison bison, which, as I understand, evolved directly from B. antiquus approx. 8k years ago.   B. antiquus is up to 25 % larger than B. bison.  Bone mass, size, horn core width, hump size (measured as the length of the spinous processes on your critter's thoracic vertebrae) can help us determine species of your skeleton, if it hasn't been done already.  Pardon me, still learning how to navigate and post on forum.  Can't wait to see and hear more about your excavation, preservation and learning experience.  

Very interesting theory.

Hello, and a very warm welcome to TFF from Morocco.:)

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KimTexan

I know what happened. When I looked on TFF this AM there were 2 identical posts somehow. One people had commented on. One they hadn’t. So I hid the one with no comments. When you hide a primary post I believe it deletes it.

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KimTexan
1 hour ago, Harry Pristis said:

 

Kim . . . Your images don't appear for me, so I can't comment on your bones.

 

I will say that 5Humper's analysis sounds highly imaginative and wrong in its morphological details.  The large upper wolf molar (actually premolar 4) is a shearing tooth, rather than a bone-crushing tooth.  It does have one piercing cusp, much larger than the other cusps.  This tooth leaves single bite marks.  The largest upper molar does have three cusps, but this is a relatively flat tooth which does not have much puncture potential.  I don't have a good image of wolf a M1, but I borrowed some from the albums.

 

direwolf_maxilla.JPG.0ae2d03a5e17ec99f6451531e1241f31.JPG

Dire Wolf M1 and M2wolf M1 and M2.

 

Here are some carnivore bite marks for comparison:

 

 

 

 

horse_calc_bites.JPG

camelidcalcaneaB.JPG

camelidcalcaneaA.JPG

I’ve reposted the pics for the original post. Were those the only ones missing?

 

Here is a pic where you can see a tooth impressions about 2 cm long on the bottom right angling to the right. On the top left is another tooth impression coming from the top, but it’s straightiah. There are other teeth marks there, but those are the most prominent ones. See red arrow like notations.

 

C6852DCB-3975-4279-A72A-AD61C9F1498C.thumb.jpeg.e850d919a7d75a4b5c5e9a266eaf74c5.jpeg

 

 

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abyssunder

I think , there are borings in the specimens you've posted, not bite marks.

This  document may be helpful to accept or deny what I propose.

 

" Bioerosion is a widespread and important process in many ecosystems.With an increasing awareness of the relevance of bone bioerosion, this substrate requires the same scientific attention as rocks, shells, and wood. Observations and conclusions regarding morphology, stratigraphy, producer biology, and environment, however, can hardly be united as long as only informal descriptions of trace fossils in bone are published (see also Pirrone et al., 2014a). To pave the way for proper ichnologic study of bones, these have to be viewed at equal rank with lithic and xylic substrates in ichnotaxonomy. Bones which have been lithified and transported, however, and whose character has changed towards a hard sediment grain, represent lithic substrates.
Borings in allochthonous bone fragments should thus be named using ichnotaxa of lithic substrates (Belaustegui et al., 2012), just as tunnels dug through bone diagenetically softened in soil (Paik, 2000) should be considered objects of bioturbation. Ichnotaxobases of bone borings do not differ from those for other trace fossils. For biting traces, the pattern of occurrence on the bone may give additional clues. With the great importance of principal substrate types in ichnotaxonomy (Bertling et al., 2006) and with almost all bone bioeroders being restricted to this type of substrate (Table 1), their trace fossils should be identified by their own names. In other words, an ichnotaxon established for lithic or xylic substrates should not be used for bone, and vice versa. As a consequence, new ichnogenera for bone substrate are established: Osteichnus n. igen. for pouch-like borings of Asthenopodichnium-type, and Clavichnus for vertical clavate structures. All belong to the ichnofamily Osteichnidae n. ifam. established herein.
Cuniculichnus n. igen. exhibits a remarkable morphologic variation from punctures through notches to tunnels. For all types, intermediate specimens may be found, suggesting that future studies of bone bioerosion should be based on sufficiently rich material—as in ichnology in general. The producers of Cuniculichnus n. igen. seem to have been dermestid larvae prior to pupation. None of the specimens can be identified as a pupation chamber beyond doubt implying that the borings can be considered as pupichnia with reservation, or as domichnia. "

 

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Harry Pristis

 

I can see the images now, thank you, Kim.  I am satisfied that these are bite marks, scavenging marks as Ynot suggested, though there are unanswered - perhaps unanswerable - questions.  I can imagine a smallish scavenger anchoring its jaws by embedding its lower canine into the bone while trying to remove flesh with its upper teeth.  The anchor tooth may have been moved several times creating the triangular pattern.  The question is why was the scavenger chewing on the bovid's knee, not a fleshy body-part?  Was this scavenger a late-arriver which found only the lower leg not severely decomposed?  Were only limited fleshy body-parts exposed after burial by a flash flood, and the best parts had been consumed by larger, stronger scavengers like coyotes?  Have fun with the speculation.

 

 

direwolf_maxillaA.JPG

direwolf_maxillaD.JPG

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Shellseeker

All I can say is maximum KUDOS to this thread and the experts who have contributed to this excellent thread..  Kim, Harry, Abyssunder, and Humper, it just does not get better than this.  Where else can we get a discussion of bite marks on fossilized bones and get such expert input and possibilities than TFF

I have a view on which is the likeliest answer for me,  but you made me think about something I had not considered before, and you gave me input to evaluate.. Thanks for taking the time to help me understand Kim's Bison leg bones..    Jack

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KimTexan

@Harry Pristis and @abyssunder what about the larger teeth impressions. There are 2 very distinct teeth impressions in the bone where a piece is missing . They are hard to capture by picture well though. The impressions are 1 cm wide at the edge of the bone where the teeth bit into the bone and proceed into the bone where they narrow to a point. They make a triangle shape in the bone. The longest impressions is about 2 cm.

The shot isn’t straight because I couldn’t get the lighting to capture the triangle shapes when straight.

From this shot the one on the lower right is most obvious. It angles outward to the right. There is another tooth mark on the bottom 2cm to the left also angling outward to the left. Then on top is another triangle shape pointing down. I’ll post this pic marked up in a bit.

1E55F423-3066-499A-8EA5-1499C5B61E82.thumb.jpeg.f089bcdbbbcf3b3747ac4b4888b27393.jpeg

 

 

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5 Humper
6 hours ago, Harry Pristis said:

I will say that 5Humper's analysis sounds highly imaginative and wrong in its morphological details.

6 hours ago, Harry Pristis said:

I will say that 5Humper's analysis sounds highly imaginative and wrong in its morphological details.

Hi Harry. A pretty accomplished scientist once said that 'imagination was more important than knowledge.'   But my analysis was based on empirical data that KimTexan outstandingly provided, not just "imagination."  Although, paleontology requires quite a bit of imagination.  Our data include--presence of conspicuous, somewhat symmetrical, clustered, and rounded holes on the distal end of at least one femur, as well as a missing condylar ridge of bone near the marks. The missing part appears to have been broken or snapped off while green (living) based on what appear to be sharp edges along the break as best I can tell in pix.  Immediately one can "imagine" that the marks are likely the result of force applied by cusps of carnivore teeth. 

 

Maybe we are incorrect to conclude--bite mark--right off the bat (as abyssunder has posted while I write this).  But given what science has revealed about what some carnivore bite marks can look like, it does seem reasonable for them to be bite marks.  I don't think that's in dispute here.  Now about the wolf teeth. 

6 hours ago, Harry Pristis said:

The large upper wolf molar (actually premolar 4) is a shearing tooth, rather than a bone-crushing tooth.  It does have one piercing cusp, much larger than the other cusps.  This tooth leaves single bite marks.

I never said anything about P4.  The tooth I was originally referring to that may have created our "bite marks" is the M1.  I also disagree with your assertion that:

6 hours ago, Harry Pristis said:

The largest upper molar does have three cusps, but this is a relatively flat tooth which does not have much puncture potential.

I have no disagreement with the "three cusps" part, but rather with the assertion that the M1 is "relatively flat and does not have much puncture potential."  It isn't flat, not even relatively, and it does have significant puncture potential.  The M1 has a generally tricuspid and triangular shape, as we both agree.  It can definitely apply a force strong enough to indent bone.  It can leave a triangular, 3-holed impression if given the chance.  In fact I see what looks like just that in Harry's photo on the middle calcaneus, below the really deep hole.  And so, it's reasonable, albeit not conclusive, to imagine a wolf M1 creating holes in KimTexan's bison femur. 

 

However, the lingually placed metacone on the M1 is really more complicated than just a nice pointy single conical cusp. There are additional ridges and valleys scattered around the edges of the highest 'peak.'  Which is, I think where my original analysis can be strengthened.  But the M1s in the nice photos Harry provided appear quite worn.  Wolves in their early prime, before wearing down their teeth, can have much more prominent cusps, and hence can leave 3-lobed impressions.    

 

Honestly, the "bite marks" on the bison are very symmetrical round holes in the bone, so round and symmetrical that possibly no tooth cusp may have even created them.  

 

Based on this fine post from abyssunder:

 

5 hours ago, abyssunder said:

Cuniculichnus n. igen. exhibits a remarkable morphologic variation from punctures through notches to tunnels.

I believe that it is equally plausible that our "bite marks" could be round tunnels created by boring organisms/bioturbation.  Maybe some magnification on the holes could help us further determine.

 

The truth is--it's very difficult to identify suspected carnivore bite marks or bioturbation down to the exact species that did the biting or the boring.  The struggle between predator and prey and post-humous scavenging almost always leaves a plethora of shapes, scrapes, fractures, etc on bone, yet leaves no diagnostic signature of the exact species that left marks.  But sure makes for some fun imagination and great banter. 

 

Keep looking for more marks/fractures on those awesome bones, KimTexan!   You may have both bioturbation and carnivore marks on that skeleton!  And while you're at it, might as well be sure to inspect the spinous processes on the thoracic vertebrae for conspicuous, linear butchery/cut marks. Imagine that big bison backstrap as dinner.  Cheers...

  

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KimTexan

The markup kind of obscured the features. So compare it to the pic above without the markup. The blue triangles aren’t true to angle or size. They’re just to highlight the general area where the tooth impressions are. The top one and the one on the bottom right are more defined.

 

287153B7-0610-482F-8F70-F42139F45E0C.thumb.jpeg.cd3578883e007c8601258a3260429938.jpeg

 

What would cause that pattern. The widest part of what I believe to be a tooth mark is 1 cm. The distance between the teeth marks on the bottom is 2 cm. The measurements to the outside edge of the teeth marks on the bottom is a little over 4 cm. So the mandible is only a little ove 4 cm. But we don’t know how much longer the teeth were or if the width was wider than 4 cm.

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5 Humper

That looks very much like a carnivore bit that condyle off.  Your photos are great.  

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KimTexan

@5 Humper  Thank you.

Thank you for your contributions to the discussion. It livens it up a bit. It certainly adds additional perspective to the discussion at hand. It enlightens me in some respects as to additional considerations.

I like you already. I hope you find TFF a welcoming place to hang out. 

I have been lookIng the bones over. I have found a few more marks. I also cleaned out the puncture holes a bit. In one set the bone fragments inside look unstable and I don’t want to damage them so one set is not fully cleaned.

 

@abyssunder Thank you for the additional info to consider. I had contemplated bore marks, but ruled them out based on very little knowledge of such things. You come up with some of the most pertinent and pointed references. I’m always impressed.

 

I may be making assumptions here, but with bore holes wouldn’t you

1. Expect some to pass through deeper into the bone?

2. Are there organisms that would make 4 holes in that specific pattern? There are 3 clusters of them.

3. Wouldn’t we expect to see them elsewhere on some of the other bones? I don’t see any on other bones. I’ll keep looking as I begin consolidation though.

4. What would account for the loss of grip or skid mark type bites marks? I know some borings are never completed, but these don’t seem to be of that nature.

 

My original theory of how the bison came to be there and yet still in tact is related to the spring that is currently there. Again I am making assumptions or let’s call them conjectures. Provided the spring was existent then there may have been a bog that the bison got stuck in and couldn’t get out with the injury.

 

@5 Humper  I cant remember if I answered your question about finding the patella. I don’t think I have.  The first rear leg had fallen from the embankment when I found it. The second the knee portion of the leg bones was facing outward on the bank when I arrived the 2nd time. If it was still there it was lost.

I do have a number of bags and small boxes with many fragments in them. I will focus on those last.

I hope to go out tomorrow afternoon and hike downstream looking for other pieces. I also wish to hunt upstream to see if I can see a place where the horse, other bison and possible deer or other smaller artiodactyl may have washed out from. 

We will see what I come up with. The area is predominantly Cretaceous.

 

Here is another spot that looks like a tooth mark on one of the epicondyles. I can’t remember which. There was a ridge down the middle of the mark. I realized this pic wasn’t that sharp. I touch Med the ridge before taking another pic and the ridge in the middle broke. I’m upset about that.

 

308D2436-1F16-4815-8FEE-8B955A450A72.thumb.jpeg.157701766e5ec56934a5870f716f5608.jpeg

 

Not the best pic, but cleaned up more so more details are visible.

4AD2FCFD-0655-45B5-A2A6-0F07C780E56E.thumb.jpeg.75b62a34b85cbcd14b1b866d1630261e.jpeg

 

This is the 3rd set of clusters, but it’s only 3 unless the gouge below it on the edge is the 4th.

6617A574-DB4D-4585-A567-F734859910ED.thumb.jpeg.ed5c7eafddebe09731ad1879c7311fcb.jpeg

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5 Humper

KimTexan, thank you, the feeling is mutual.  I have read a great many of your posts, before becoming a member, and have found them full of adventure, attention to detail, and much knowledge.  Thank you for sharing all those detailed accounts.  I have, indeed, found TFF a welcoming place. 

 

When I was young, I actually used to live in NE TX...Cass County (county where Don Henley, and Ellen Degeneres are from!  I actually attended the high school where Ellen graduated.  I didn't have a clue about it at the time, she was outa there way earlier).  I still have a bunch of family there.  

 

I'm sure most of us feel this, but every time any of us makes a discovery, it starts with a thrill of adventure, then we go through a learning process because we hunger to know about what we find.  It's driven by the thrill of knowledge and adventure.  Learning is adventure for the brain.  All this is what makes the recovery and stewardship of fossils such a great pursuit.  Your accounts chronicle all aspects of this pursuit so very well. 

 

Your second to last photo above still really looks like it could be an indention from a tricuspid Canid molar (M1). 

 

What are your thoughts on which species of bison you have?  If it's older than 8k years, then it's B. antiquus, according to latest thinking.  But, again, inspecting the size of some of the bones might bring us closer to ID.  

 

You may be able to date your bison, that is, have it carbon dated.  Have you discovered any ancient organic materials in the same layer and adjacent to your skeleton?  You might want to collect some sediment if you suspect it contains nuts, seeds, etc for potential dating.  Make sure the sediment sample is devoid of recent roots, etc.  The bones, themselves, may be carbon datable if they are not too mineralized.  As they dry out, give a long, skinny bone a light thump with your middle finger or tap the end of it with something and listen.  Mineralized bone will clink high-pitched, non-mineralized will be relatively low-pitched.  At the ages we are talking about, it may well be partially mineralized. 

 

Best of luck recovering more bones. 

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