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Fishkeeper

Successful Whiskey Bridge hunt

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JohnBrian

Nice bunch of finds! And a cute kitty!

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caldigger

Looks like you got a nice variety of shells.

:thumbsu:

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FranzBernhard

Those are some incredible nice shells! Congrats!

Thanks for sharing and for all the background information, too! Much appreciated!

 

"Is it bone or is it not bone??" :headscratch::D

 

Franz Bernhard

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sixgill pete

What an incredible variety of gastropods that site coughs up. While I have never been there, I have searched matrix from there. Did you get into a vertebrate lens? The large cone is really nice.

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erose

Looks like you did OK for your first visit. The formation dips to the south east so as you walk upstream the layers emerge from the river and as you go downstream they descend into the river. If you go too far in either direction the fossil bearing layers disappear. 

 

Despite their age many of the specimens are original shell. They are fragile so be careful cleaning them. If you haven't soaked those clods yet I would maybe reconsider. Better to just sit at the table over some newspaper and use a small pin or pick to peck away at it.

 

I use a small wet paintbrush and tissue to clean mine up. Then I "paint" them with several coats of diluted white glue. I also sometimes soak the dirt that is inside and holding them together with thin super glue. Something like Butvar or Paleobond might be better but white glue works better with my budget.

 

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Fishkeeper

I unfortunately didn't get any vertebrates. I think I found a lense of sorts in one place, but it was mostly broken fragments. There were just a lot of them all layered together. 

 

Walking upstream turned out to be fairly productive. Directly under the bridge seems to be decent, but the dirt was harder there than upstream, so it was harder to get things out in one piece. You're right, everything here is incredibly fragile. More so than most seashells I've found- have they lost something over the millions of years that made them more durable, or been infiltrated by minerals that softened them? Most modern shells seem to be more durable. I can confidently handle the majority of modern shells, and would feel comfortable putting most in my pocket. These, I don't even dare say "pocket" at. 

 

Good to have the reminder of the glue, thanks. I think I'll be doing that with these bigger ones. I've cracked a couple just from picking them up too firmly! And then there are these whatever-they-ares that I could not pick up intact. Two things, actually. One is, I think, some sort of echinoderm? It reminds me of a sand dollar, slightly. The other is a hollow tube. I got some out of the dirt clods, and will post pics of them tomorrow. 

 

Because that's what I did today. I went to grab something so I could take the pics before it got too dark for natural light, and then I got distracted for 2 and a half hours with the clods. I wound up soaking them a bit just to soften them and make it so they were easier to get things out of, though I don't think they'd dissolve on their own. Maybe with hydrogen peroxide, but that seems likely to damage the shells. Though I'm a little tempted to grab a sacrificial clod next time and see what happens if I put some hydrogen peroxide in the water. A lot of fizzing, I'd imagine. 

 

Better pics tomorrow, hopefully. On a nice background, with a scale, sorted by species as far as I can tell.

 

image0.jpg?width=473&height=630

We found this concretion. At least, that's what I assume this is. It doesn't have any areas on it that look like the tip of anything (other than some broken shells), so no idea what's inside. Any guesses? Also, how do I get it open with minimal damage to whatever's in there? I'm thinking just the lightest workable tap with a hammer to crack it open. Hoping there's a shark tooth, but I'm trying to convince myself it's something boring so I won't be disappointed if it doesn't turn out something neat. 

 

image1.jpg?width=473&height=630image0.jpg?width=473&height=630

That's a couple of the more promising clods. I kept a few pieces of these just to show people, especially that smaller one with the impression of a shell left in it. 

 

Got a decent little batch of shells out of the pound or so of dirt clods that I brought back. There were also a lot more bivalves, mostly broken. The majority were broken before I did anything with them. Innumerable bivalve shards, as well.

image0.jpg?width=473&height=630

 

 

 

Here's a close-up of those smallest shells in there, plus one that I didn't photograph there, because I couldn't. To avoid losing it, it's in its own container. Just to be clear, that's a millimeter scale there. I don't know HOW I spotted this, because I wasn't using any sort of magnifier, but I found it. I don't know what to do with that! 

image0.jpg?width=473&height=630

I don't know how I spotted it, because these weren't magnified, but that is a roughly 1mm shell. These were actually easier to handle than some of the big ones, though! Less empty air space inside, less surface area for me to mistakenly press too hard on. To clean these (except the tiniest, didn't dare clean that), I just rolled them as gently as I could between my fingertips, and it knocked most of the dirt off just fine. 

 

I think I know how to display these, too. I have these in this little display thing, and I think I can rig something like it myself.

2C930F9E-5D54-4BF9-9D8A-1EB788289F01.thumb.jpeg.7e212eed9d9928fafb73780188f6e6b5.jpeg53C26D0E-8E63-4FDC-9634-AEDDE6067C1D.thumb.jpeg.7b365337db079e4e85089f8f8ffd61bb.jpeg

They have a reasonably soft foam in there to keep them flush against the inside of the container, but gently- they can shift a little, they aren't being smushed. Not sure it'll work on the smallest shell, but it should be okay for the others. These are, if I remember correctly, star sand. Foraminiferans, right? They're a couple millimeters across, so if this works for them, it should work for a minor range of seashells. The only downside is I'd have to open it to turn them over for a different view. 

 

I'm very pleased with my finds on this trip. I was hoping for a cone shell, but trying not to expect to find one in case I didn't. I would have liked a shark tooth or two, especially the little weird-shaped ones, but there's always next time. And there will definitely be a next time! Maybe in December? Give it some time to weather down a bit and expose more. I have a cousin who'll be down here for Christmas who I suspect might like to come. 

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FranzBernhard

Super-informative post, @Fishkeeper! Thank you very much!

I am somewhat used to this kind of stuff, I have something similar around myself:

;)

Franz Bernhard

 

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Fishkeeper

Oh, lovely! You have some really nice finds there. Great diversity of species, too. I haven't gone through mine to count out exactly how many species I have here, but I'm guessing somewhere more in the realm of a dozen.

 

It's a shame we're in different countries, or I'd look into the possibility that we could trade matrix samples. Mail each other some shell-rich clods to go through. 

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