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andy_mnemonic

Possible Pleistocene Equus tooth?

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andy_mnemonic

Hello again forum!

 

I found this tooth eroded out of a cliff on the coast in Santa Barbara county, California.  I'm fairly certain it is an upper m3 molar of an Equus but have been unable to determine the species or age of it.  There is some matrix cemented onto the tooth face that I tried picking off but it is quite hard and wasn't being cooperative so I stopped to not damage it.  Anyone have any leads that could point to it being either a Pleistocene or just older modern tooth?  Or tips on how to remove the tooth face matrix without giving it a root canal?

 

Thanks very much!

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Manticocerasman

it is a Horse tooth, but I can't tell from the picture if it is fossil.

a little trick we use to see if the bones or tooth we find are modern or fossil: we try to burm a little piece of it with a lighter.

fossilised bone is mineralised, so it doesn't burn.

Recent bone on the other hand... well you will smell it directly when it start to burn :P

of course only use this method on a small part of the bone/tooth 

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Harry Pristis

A 'burn test' or 'match test' will indicate only whether there is collagen remaining in a BONE -- scorched collagen has an awful smell. Briefly apply an open flame (I prefer a butane lighter) to an inconspicuous area of the object . . . you cannot keep a pin hot enough long enough to scorch collagen. Tooth enamel contains hydroxyapatite, but doesn't contain much collagen, so the 'burn test' on tooth enamel would be a waste of time.

The 'click test' - tapping a putative fossil against your teeth - was a joke that caught on. There are plenty of other things in the environment against which you can click a bone. Don't put the remains of dead, decomposed animals in your mouth.  :shakehead:

 

I think you could give this equus upper cheek tooth a soak in vinegar to loosen the cemented matrix, assuming the cement is calcite.  The enamel and dentine of the tooth should not be affected by the acidic vinegar.

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andy_mnemonic

Well I got the tooth face nicely cleaned up with your vinegar suggestion and some toothpicks.  Is it possible to narrow down an Equus species by the pattern on the tooth face?  I haven't tried a burn test yet...

 

Thanks for your help!

 

20190421_190931.jpg

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RyanDye
On 4/21/2019 at 10:17 PM, andy_mnemonic said:

Well I got the tooth face nicely cleaned up with your vinegar suggestion and some toothpicks.  Is it possible to narrow down an Equus species by the pattern on the tooth face?  I haven't tried a burn test yet...

 

Thanks for your help!

 

20190421_190931.jpg

This is more or less of an educated guess, but I think this is a fossil, the surface looks like it's fossilized, but as I said that's just a guess, I would go through with the burn test. 

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ynot
3 hours ago, RyanDye said:

I would go through with the burn test. 

Does not work well for teeth.

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andy_mnemonic

I tried doing a burn test on the little piece of root that was remaining and it didn't darken or smell bad.  It certainly appears to have at least partially mineralized...

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RyanDye
19 minutes ago, andy_mnemonic said:

I tried doing a burn test on the little piece of root that was remaining and it didn't darken or smell bad.  It certainly appears to have at least partially mineralized...

Sorry I suggested the burn test, it most likely wouldn't have an effect with enamel, since it contains no collagen (what makes it smell bad when burnt). Dentin (other material teeth are made out of) contains collagen but not like bones do. I still vote fossil, but more opinon would help; good luck.

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