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TonyC

Big Brook Deer / Antelope

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TonyC

My daughter found this at Big Brook NJ today.  Measures 3.5" in length.  Looks like has socket for 2 other joints.  Is this a modern white tail deer?  The blackness has me thinking it may have some age to it.  

 

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Al Dente

It’s a rib. Not sure what from.

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TonyC
7 minutes ago, Al Dente said:

It’s a rib. Not sure what from.

Thanks!

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Rockwood

Bones become stained rather quickly, especially on damp ground such as surrounds brooks, so color is not a good indicator of age.

I don't have a deer rib to compare it to, but I'm not sure it would help. Ribs are not generally good diagnostic tools, and deer haven't changed much since the Pleistocene.

That said, there are quite a few people here that have much more experience collecting the brooks. They may offer an opinion.

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The Jersey Devil

It’s more likely modern than Pleistocene. The Pleistocene material is always black in color in NJ as well.

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TonyC

Thanks for the feedback.  We did come across a rather fresh deer, or parts of, in the river where we were collecting.  I was crossing the stream and went to pick up a white bone.  What I didn't realize was that the bone was still connected to parts of a carcass.  The meat was off the bone but the tendons connecting the bones were still in place.  As was some fur by the hooves.  My daughter was pretty grossed out but it was nothing all that terrible.  It was actually a good example of disarticulation as we came across other parts of what I believe was the same deer a little down river.  At the parking lot a boy was waving around a full rib that he found near a culvert that was pretty dark brown.  So, I suspect that it was from a different deer and that the river claims quite a few deer in the winter time.  

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Rockwood
33 minutes ago, TonyC said:

the river claims quite a few deer in the winter time. 

I think cars, dogs, and frustrated gardeners probably contribute to the carnage. 

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TonyC
6 minutes ago, Rockwood said:

I thing cars, dogs, and frustrated gardeners probably contribute to the carnage. 

Probably.  Future fossils perhaps.  Give or take a few years.  :)

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non-remanié
On 3/25/2019 at 5:21 AM, The Jersey Devil said:

It’s more likely modern than Pleistocene. The Pleistocene material is always black in color in NJ as well.

 

Pleistocene bone in NJ is not always black.   

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The Jersey Devil
16 hours ago, non-remanié said:

 

Pleistocene bone in NJ is not always black.   

 

But it’s black most of the time, right?

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jpevahouse

Modern deer bones are common at Big Brook. They often look old but aren't.Though fossil deer remains are common in Florida I am not aware of any Pleistocene finds in NJ. Someone  might disagree but I am not aware of any authenticated Pleistocene deer remains found in NJ.

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The Jersey Devil
4 hours ago, jpevahouse said:

Modern deer bones are common at Big Brook. They often look old but aren't.Though fossil deer remains are common in Florida I am not aware of any Pleistocene finds in NJ. Someone  might disagree but I am not aware of any authenticated Pleistocene deer remains found in NJ.

 

NJ Pleistocene deer fossils do exist, but I don’t remember where I saw the article describing them. @non-remanié would know where any articles are.

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non-remanié
On 3/28/2019 at 2:35 PM, The Jersey Devil said:

 

But it’s black most of the time, right?

Unless you could accurately identify every mammal bone piece as Pleistocene or recent, how would you be able to say either way?    

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DevonianDigger
On 3/28/2019 at 11:01 PM, The Jersey Devil said:

 

NJ Pleistocene deer fossils do exist, but I don’t remember where I saw the article describing them. @non-remanié would know where any articles are.

 

I'm on my phone and it's not letting me copy the PDF link for some reason, but check out the NJGS Bulletin 60 from 1951. There are elk and deer found below the swamps in NJ.

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erose

I have a caribou antler base from Big Brook. Estimated age ca 18,000. It is NOT black or even dark brown, but a light sandy brown. I'll try and scrounge up a photo.

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non-remanié
3 minutes ago, erose said:

I have a caribou antler base from Big Brook. Estimated age ca 18,000. It is NOT black or even dark brown, but a light sandy brown. I'll try and scrounge up a photo.

Many of the identifiable Pleistocene specimens from the popular creek sites that I have seen have similar preservation.

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The Jersey Devil
1 hour ago, non-remanié said:

Unless you could accurately identify every mammal bone piece as Pleistocene or recent, how would you be able to say either way?    

 

I don’t really know how the modern bone factors in, usually it is pretty obvious if it’s modern. I meant that out of the ones that are identifiable most are black in color; however, I take that back as I just looked at some pictures of Nj Pleistocene bone that are a different color than what I remembered them as.

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Rockwood
2 hours ago, erose said:

I have a caribou antler base from Big Brook. Estimated age ca 18,000. It is NOT black or even dark brown, but a light sandy brown. I'll try and scrounge up a photo.

The color of the pleistocene sediments in southern Maine once exposed to the atmosphere.

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non-remanié

 

11 hours ago, The Jersey Devil said:

 

I don’t really know how the modern bone factors in, usually it is pretty obvious if it’s modern. I meant that out of the ones that are identifiable most are black in color; however, I take that back as I just looked at some pictures of Nj Pleistocene bone that are a different color than what I remembered them as.

 

Joe, I know that you are well aware of how color can vary even among NJ Cretaceous fossils.  Therefore, I  would suggest exhibiting a bit more caution before throwing out an extremely broad declarative statement based on merely color of NJ mammal bones of recent or Pleistocene origin.     

 

 

 

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Max-fossils

To see whether a fossil bone piece is fossil or not, a good trick is to test for collagen with the burn test. 

Light a small flame on the piece. If it starts to stink, it's modern: that's the collagen in the bone burning up.

If nothing happens (no smell), it's fossil: the collagen has gone away during fossilization. 

 

The bone you have does look a lot like a mammal rib (so most likely Pleistocene if it's fossil). 

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The Jersey Devil
5 hours ago, non-remanié said:

 

 

Joe, I know that you are well aware of how color can vary even among NJ Cretaceous fossils.  Therefore, I  would suggest exhibiting a bit more caution before throwing out an extremely broad declarative statement based on merely color of NJ mammal bones of recent or Pleistocene origin.     

 

 

 

 

Yep, everything varies of course, especially color and preservation from different areas.

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The Jersey Devil
3 hours ago, Max-fossils said:

To see whether a fossil bone piece is fossil or not, a good trick is to test for collagen with the burn test. 

Light a small flame on the piece. If it starts to stink, it's modern: that's the collagen in the bone burning up.

If nothing happens (no smell), it's fossil: the collagen has gone away during fossilization. 

 

The bone you have does look a lot like a mammal rib (so most likely Pleistocene if it's fossil). 

 

That test won’t necessarily work though if the fossil isn’t very old (such as late Pleistocene) because it might not be fully mineralized yet. At the same time, modern bones can be completely mineralized if they have been in the stream for a while and haven’t decomposed.

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Coco

Hi,

 

On 30/03/2019 at 10:17 PM, The Jersey Devil said:

At the same time, modern bones can be completely mineralized if they have been in the stream for a while and haven’t decomposed.

If "for a while." means to you a few tens or hundreds of years, I don’t agree : modern bones could be very colorful, but not fossilized if they stay in the water for a while. So the colour has nothing to do with the state of fossilization.
 
Coco

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The Jersey Devil
6 hours ago, Coco said:

Hi,

 

If "for a while." means to you a few tens or hundreds of years, I don’t agree : modern bones could be very colorful, but not fossilized if they stay in the water for a while. So the colour has nothing to do with the state of fossilization.
 
Coco

 

Hi Coco,

I'm not really sure what you mean. I never said that modern bones are fossils or that modern bones can't be colorful. But color does change with the degree of mineralization; mineralization is simply only one of the many factors color depends on.

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ynot
On 3/30/2019 at 2:17 PM, The Jersey Devil said:

 

That test won’t necessarily work though if the fossil isn’t very old (such as late Pleistocene) because it might not be fully mineralized yet. At the same time, modern bones can be completely mineralized if they have been in the stream for a while and haven’t decomposed.

The "burn test" is used to detect the presence of calogin, a protein, in living tissues (bone,  feathers, hair, fingernails....).

Calogin will break down rather quickly after death and therefore can be used to determine a "no older than" date. The conditions a bone is buried in can have an effect on how long the calogin takes to break down.

A bone, buried or in water, can be stained very quickly (just a few days if conditions are right) and has nothing to do with a bone being "mineralized" (turned to rock). which usually takes very long.

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