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  1. JamieLynn

    Texas Cretaceous... Crocodile?

    After doing some internet research I am tentatively thinking these might be crocodile teeth rather than fish.....I can't seem to find any examples of Cretaceous fish that these might fit. But looking at the croc teeth, I see some similarities. Both of these were found at the same site in Central Texas, Austin Chalk formation. They are 1/4 inch. Any thoughts on these ? 1. 2.
  2. Hello friends, I'm very much a novice, but have fallen in love with this hobby after having found some Ilymatogyra, Texigryphaea, Neithea, and Pycnodonte specimens in the creek beds here in South Central Texas. Thank you for having me as a member. ps - My member photo is of our family's pit bull Dahlia, who loves flowers.
  3. What is this wee tiny little thing? Measures just under 2 cm. Was found in a late Cretaceous stratum, in a transition area between the Pecan Gap Chalk and Austin Chalk of South Central Texas, USA. I'm leaning toward a fossilized echinoid of some sort. Maybe a fibularia specimen? Thanks for any help.
  4. Could someone please help me identify this small (~6 cm long, 2 cm diameter) cylindrical fragment, embedded in a surrounding rock matrix? It's certainly Cretaceous and marine, having been found in South Central TX. I was thinking baculite, belemnite, or maybe a crinoid. Thanks!
  5. Hi all, I'm wondering if this might be a Requienia fragment? It's a circular, very flat piece, about 22cm (8.7") wide at the bottom, embedded in a block quarried from the central-Texas Austin Chalk. As you can see, due to the block being cut / broken off, it's shaped like a semi-circle, or maybe a setting sun, with some residual rock matrix in the center. Some faint stripes are visible that curve clockwise along with the general arc of the thing. It's VERY flat and thin. There's nothing to be seen while looking at the block from the lower side. Otherwise I would have included a pic. Any thoughts? Thanks!
  6. Any thoughts on this? I know it's a stab in the dark, due to the small partial remnant. This is embedded in a large landscaping stone that was quarried in South Central TX, USA, almost certainly between San Antonio and Austin. So it's Cretaceous, for sure. It measures about 60 mm in length (house key for additional scale). What you see here is all that's visible, unfortunately. I appreciate the feedback!
  7. I found this odd fossil jutting out of a weathered large landscaping stone, probably locally quarried from just north of San Antonio, TX. House key for scale. I'm thinking Inoperna? That same stone has lots of worm tubes and other little conglomerated bivalves. Thanks for any input!
  8. TCnTX

    Found in lay flat stone

    Found several bone like fossil in some stone whilst building a wall. The fence stone was cut from a quarry just north of Austin Texas. It’s a sandy limestone that I was told from a layer just above the Austin chalk formation. Is it plant or animal?
  9. 1. Looks boney: 2. Some kind of shell?: 3. No idea at all: 4. Hoping it's something cool, but prepared to be let down, ha!: 5. Same as 4, no idea: Thanks in advance
  10. So I am 90 percent convinced the site is Austin Chalk Formation. I have found a couple of fossils that lead me to that conclusion, a gastropod and a nautiloid specifically. That being said, I cannot quite figure out what these bacultes are. From the HGMS book the Boehmoceras arculus seems to be the closest but it says it is a curved shaft, which these most certainly are not. But the strong nodes on these are really not falling under any other possibility. Any insights? 3.5 inches 2 inches 1.5 inches this is the only one that you can really see the suture patterns. The nodes don't show up very well but they are there
  11. Hello all, I need some help with the ID on this bit of bone I found this evening in the Kef-Kau transition zone off the near the Denton-Collin County border, If anyone has ever hinted this zone/area you know that it's full off sharks' teeth, vertebra and plenty of bone fragments like fish jaws, this is the first piece of simi recognizable bone I've found in a good while that I have no idea on what to ID it as. Thanks for any help anyone can give me.
  12. Hi, Any help greatly appreciated. Went on a club trip with the Dallas club, mostly looking for shark teeth in a club sponsored trip to a private cement quarry south of Dallas, Texas. Found shark teeth (Scapanorhynchus, Squalicoraxs, Ptychodus), but also found this odd thing. I have cleaned all the extraneous material off of it (with a dremel using a wire brush) and the remaining is hard and fossil like, but a real puzzler. I have included a back and front photo. It was in gray material that had phosphate nodules and small shark teeth. Thanks, Rick
  13. For whatever reason, I used to completely dismiss the Austin chalk as a formation of any interest. I viewed it almost through the same lens that I view the Edwards formation, as if it was some barren uninteresting hinderance that gets in the way of cooler formations. Accidentally finding a large Parapuzosia ammonite in it once changed that a bit, but for the most part I still ignored it... Turns out I was just looking in the wrong places, and had very little understanding of its members. @LSCHNELLE recently explained a lot of it better to me, and so equipped with new knowledge I decided to try and discover a member of the Austin Chalk I've been wondering about for a while now, which I always falsely assumed was its own formation. I found myself deep in a Travis county creek, following very specific instructions I had read on an old thesis from the 80's I found online. To avoid being too long winded - nothing stood out to me as different in the geology, so I think that the vertebrate rich member I was seeking still eludes me. Yet, I wouldn't say I was skunked, because I found some very interesting invertebrates that even a simpleton like myself can appreciate My first find had me cheering and jumping, partly because of how just picture perfect the insitu was, but mostly because it was just an aesthetic looking echinoid I haven't seen before. Here it sat below, as I originally saw it: Fortunately, what's left in the matrix I believe is still in great detail. It's just on a smaller-than-it-looks exposed portion where the wear took a toll, as you will see at the end when I show more photos. For another hour and half beyond this, I was just sloshing my way through the water, very slowly, admiring the highly fossiliferous limestone as I went. Usually when I scout a new spot, it ends up being more exploring than actual hunting, and yesterday was no different. Close to my turn around spot, I for whatever reason took strong notice of inconspicuous looking pebble lying loose on its own. Picking it upon a whim, I was surprised to see it was another echinoid of the same type I found earlier, albeit in worse condition. Pictures all at the end. Walking back was a serene vibe with few fossils - I was distracted by the new greenery that's been blooming lately. When I got back to where I found the first echinoid, I decided to poke around a bit more, and was surprised to find two ammonites - one large (Mortoniceras?) which I removed, and a much smaller ammonite as well. Results below! No vertebrates but these were well worth it! @JamieLynn put together a phenomenal guide of the inverts by formation that we can find in our central texas stratas, but I wasn't able to find these echinoids in it. I'm aware they need prep, but if you know what they are already please chip in! Results below: Echinoid #1: Echinoid #2 - While it's in worse shape than even the first, I think the substantial attached matrix has protected a lot of it. We'll find out when it preps! Larger ammonite I removed - glue will come to the rescue here. I'm rather sure that the inner coils are preserved under that! Smaller ammonite below: This was just one day sandwiched into what is so far a very busy weekend for me on the paleo front - lots of exploring, and also some good work brewing on two interesting, older vertebrate finds. I'll update this post when i eventually manage to get these echinoids cleaned - the hard limestone they're in will be tough for hand tools - perhaps this is my signal to finally buy a scribe
  14. Creek - Don

    Central Texas Gastropods

    Spent Saturday looking for fossils in the Central Texas area. Came across huge chunks of rocks near the road. I decided to take a closer look. To my surprise saw loads of fist size gastropods embedded in huge stones. Interesting to see large size gastropods concentrated in a single spot like that. I usually see one or two at the most. I was also in the Walnut Formation, but these rocks may come from the Edwards formation or Austin Chalk formation. I'm leaning more toward the Edwards Formation.
  15. Jared C

    Hadrodus cf. priscus

    From the album: Texas Campanian (Cretaceous)

    Incisor in a portion of premaxilla from Hadrodus cf. priscus. The teeth are not diagnostic to species, and current unpublished research has questions about the validity of certain species within the genus - not my place to discuss openly just yet Though I used to have this in my Santonian album, closer investigation of the geology of the site has led to a pretty conclusive lower Campanian age. Close the the Austin Chalk/ Ozan boundary
  16. From the album: Texas Campanian (Cretaceous)

    cf. Stereocidaris, with possible affinities to S. sceptrifera Lowermost Campanian TX This Cidarid seems to have affinities with Stereocidaris sceptrifera from the late Cretaceous of Europe, but the geographic separation and lack of literature on this new world form suggest a potential undescribed species of Stereocidarid. This is the same taxon as the other Cidarid in this album - both were found the same day, at the same locality Notice the partial aristotle's lantern (mouth), as well as a few of the short, flattened scrobicular spines (which protect the muscles of each primary spine) attached near the bottom. Though crushed, this specimen is excellent. Huge thanks to @JohnJ for the excellent photos, and both John and @Ptychodus04 for the prep Discovered April 1, 2022
  17. From the album: Texas Campanian (Cretaceous)

    cf. Stereocidaris, with possible affinities to S. sceptrifera Lowermost Campanian TX This Cidarid seems to have affinities with Stereocidaris sceptrifera from the late Cretaceous of Europe, but the geographic separation and lack of literature on this new world form suggest a potential undescribed species of Stereocidarid. Huge thanks to @JohnJ for the ID tips and excellent photos and @Ptychodus04 for the prep. Discovered April 1, 2022
  18. kaleidoscopica

    Teeth? New to teeth IDs. Austin, TX

    I am very new to fossil hunting... this started all of a sudden after I basically tripped on a big Exogyra ponderosa in my local creek the other week, and got curious what else was out there. So I've just scooped through a bunch of gravel in Brushy Creek here and found a lot of little things that I wonder what they could be. 1. Tooth? (First two photos, front and back) 2. Smaller tooth? (Single photo) 3. Maaaaybe a tooth as well, or just an exceptionally pointy rock? (Last two photos) Thanks -- let me know if any other photos or info is needed. Next time I'll use a ruler .
  19. Hey everyone! Towards the end of my time down in Austin, I collected a dozen or so bags of matrix across three sites that covered the Bouldin Flags (Cenomanian), South Bosque (Turonian), and basal Atco (Coniacian) of Central Texas. Over the course of the last 6 months, I have processed and tried to identify everything that my sieve caught in order to complete this project of mine. I’m sure there are plenty of errors within this amateur study, but I hope that the overall information it provides will at least be of some use to my fellow hunters who are looking for a centralized place to figure out just what kind of tooth they stumbled upon in their local creek. I know that, especially in my first year of fossil hunting, the seemingly endless list of shark names looked like a mountain too tall to overcome. Perhaps this report might just help to demystify that obstacle. There were many expected finds and some total surprises. I learned a lot myself from this whole endeavor and am excited to share what I found. Special shoutout to @Jackito and @LSCHNELLE for so kindfully sharing their fantastic sites as well as their expertise. This could not have been done without their help! Also, if you have found a species of shark not mentioned in this report from the Bouldin Flags, South Bosque, or Atco of Central Texas, feel free to leave a reply with a photo and some info on your specimen! Enjoy! Abundant (), Common (), Uncommon (), Rare () Bouldin Flags (Cenomanian) The Bouldin Flags represents the end of the Cenomanian stage of the WIS in Central Texas. It carries much of the typical “Woodbinian fauna” that is often associated with Cenomanian sites from across the continent. The formation is “flaggy”, tending to split into layers. Much of the formation can be devoid of vertebrate life, but now and then, extremely rich layers may crop up and yield an extensive diversity of sharks, bony fish, and even reptiles to collect from. Processing the matrix can be difficult. I tried to process only the softest material I could find from productive layers as the harder parts were sometimes almost solid pyrite or totally cemented into an unbreakable stone. Even the parts that are soft tend to carry lots of grit that are rough on the hands and fossils. Nevertheless, the Bouldin Flags has some of the most diverse shark and reptile fauna as well as the richest layers, making it well worth the effort of locating. The majority of the collecting for this formation was done in the Lower Bouldin Flags, however, specimens that also occurred in the limited Upper Bouldin Flags sampling will be marked with an asterisk (*=Upper BF) Lamniformes *Carcharias saskatchewanensis Together with Cenocarcharias tenuiplicatus, these species make up the two most abundant sharks teeth to be found in the Bouldin Flags. They are typically only millimeters in size and tend to separate well from the matrix without breaking. C. saskatchewanensis can be easily differentiated from C. tenuiplicatus by its absence of fine striations on the labial faces of the cusps and cusplets. C. saskatchewanensis and C. tenuiplicatus are distinguished from Haimirichia amonensis by their significantly smaller size. I have also seen this species referred to as Microcarcharias saskatchewanensis. *Cenocarcharias tenuiplicatus A common tiny tooth found in the Bouldin Flags. They are easily identified by the presence of fine striations on the labial faces of their cusps/cusplets. Now and then, they may have an extra pair of cusplets. Cretalamna catoxodon Surprisingly rare given how abundant this genus usually is in other similarly aged strata of Texas. From the entirety of my material, I only came across one identifiable specimen in the final batch. Unlike mature Cretoxyrhina agassizensis, these teeth have a single pair of pointed cusplets and are usually more gracile. Unlike Cretodus semiplicatus, these teeth are more gracile and lack wrinkling on the base of the crown and cusplets. C. catoxodon is a relatively newly defined species within the genus Cretalamna and, to my knowledge, the only one documented from the Cenomanian. Cretodus semiplicatus One of the most coveted shark fossils of the Eagle Ford is the fearsome Cretodus. These are some of the biggest and most robust teeth to be found and can be spotted quickly by their size and diagnostic wrinkled crown bases on both the labial and lingual faces. To my knowledge, C. crassidens does not appear until the Turonian. C. semiplicatus, unlike Cretodus houghtonorum, typically exhibits a U-shaped basal concavity and U-shaped crown base border whereas C. houghtonorum is more of a V-shape in both departments. Both typically have gracile cusps. In my hunting at the Bouldin Flags site, I found one perfect tooth and a single, large broken off cusp to another tooth. Cretomanta canadensis This is one of the most interesting teeth to be had in the Bouldin Flags. Cretomanta has been interpreted as a planktivorous filter feeder. These teeth are sometimes confused with rostral denticles of Ptychotrygon triangularis, however the oral teeth of P. triangularis were not found at all in the Bouldin Flags Site. In contrast, the Atco Site (more on this later) did produce many of these oral teeth. I believe this suggests P. triangularis is likely not the culprit for the pictured specimens. Additionally, Cretomanta canadensis is commonly listed in faunas of other Cenomanian sites. Fairly recently in Northern Mexico, an amazingly preserved ray-like filter-feeding shark was discovered and named Aquilolamna milarcae. Sadly, no teeth were preserved, making it impossible to confirm synonymy between Aquilolamna and Cretomanta, but nevertheless there is a suspected connection between the two which future discoveries may one day prove. *Cretoxyrhina agassizensis On the right are the juvenile C. agassizensis ("Telodontaspis agassizensis") Cretoxyrhina are always a welcome sight and not all that rare for the Bouldin Flags. These are some of the larger teeth to be had and are generally well preserved. They typically do not have cusplets, however some specimens may have poorly developed ones as Cenomanian Cretoxyrhina were still in the process of diminishing them. C. agassizensis is a chronospecies of the genus Cretoxyrhina, representing the time period of the Late Middle Cenomanian to the Early Middle Turonian. Throughout the sifting process, I came across small, thinly cusped and distally curved teeth that somewhat resembled the larger Cretoxyrhina teeth I had as well. In researching possible IDs for these teeth, I came across the species Telodontaspis agassizensis which seemed like a decent match. However, Siversson makes the point that this taxon seems to appear only in places where larger, more typical Cretoxyrhina specimens also occur. It would seem that the two genera are synonymous and these smaller teeth instead belong to juvenile C. agassizensis. *Haimirichia amonensis Medium-sized teeth that are extremely abundant in the Bouldin Flags as well as many other Cenomanian deposits of Texas. A decent degree of heterodonty exists and lateral teeth may have many pairs of cusplets. This species was previously known as Carcharias amonensis, however the discovery of a new and well preserved specimen showed that it possessed enough morphological differences to warrant the creation of the family Haimirichiidae. I originally misidentified these teeth as Scapanorhynchus raphiodon which appears to not exist in the Bouldin Flags. *Squalicorax sp. Squalicorax is one of the most abundant teeth present. They are easily identified by their unique shape that highlights their generalist diet. There is currently much work to be done in properly separating the species of this genus across the Mesozoic, so I will simply refer to all teeth found as Squalicorax sp. Ptychodontiformes *Ptychodus anonymous The most common Ptychodus teeth found in both the Bouldin Flags and South Bosque. P. anonymous can be distinguished from other co-occurring Ptychodus teeth most easily on the basis of having a defined marginal area where the transverse ridges will merge instead of bifurcating and running all the way to the end of the crown. P. anonymous is known to have two distinct morphotypes (Cenomanian vs. Turonian), both of which are represented in this post. The Cenomanian morphotype is common in the Bouldin Flags and are typically smaller and more robust than their Turonian counterparts (however my Turonian specimens are just as small as my Cenomanian ones). Another key difference in the morphotypes is that Turonian teeth have an apparent concentric ornamentation of the marginal area whereas Cenomanian teeth have no such feature. It is possible, in the future, these differences may lead to the creation of a new species between the morphotypes. *Ptychodus decurrens This larger specimen in the lower 3 photos was misidentified. I now believe it to be a P. decurrens from the Upper Bouldin Flags. Ptychodus decurrens is a low crowned tooth that is also numerous in this formation. Like Ptychodus occidentalis, the transverse ridging gradually bifurcates to the edges of the crown as opposed to terminating at a distinct marginal area. These teeth are often broad and have the ability to get quite large in size. The bottom specimen shown was originally misidentified as P. marginalis. I have taken another look and now realize P. decurrens is a stronger ID. Despite it being a fragment, I do not think the tooth shows signs of a concentric orientation of transverse ridges and instead seems to follow the hooked on one side and straight on the other ridge pattern more typical of larger P. decurrens. Also, I initially misidentified the formation the tooth came from as being South Bosque based on visuals alone. After getting the chance to process the matrix for micros, it shares much of the same microfauna with the Lower Bouldin Flags and has little faunal overlap with the South Bosque outcrop. I now believe the location to be Upper Bouldin Flags. Ptychodus occidentalis Ptychodus occidentalis is rarer in the Bouldin Flags than the other Ptychodus. They can be identified by the bifurcating nature of their ridges as they travel through the marginal area of the tooth to the edge of the crown. The crown height tends to be higher than that of Ptychodus decurrens. In comparison to P. anonymous, P. occidentalis generally possesses finer and more numerous transverse ridges. This species is also capable of producing some very large teeth. Ptychodus rhombodus is a smaller-toothed species that commonly occurs in the Cenomanian WIS that also shares bifurcating ridge features. It has been suggested, however, that these may represent a juvenile form of P. occidentalis. Orectolobiformes *Cantioscyllium decipiens Common little teeth that belonged to a Mesozoic nurse shark. The teeth look similar to Chiloscyllium, but have striations present on the labial face. Sclerorhynchiformes *Onchopristis dunklei Although not the rarest to find, Onchopristis dunklei represents an order of sharks that hardly seems to be found in the Bouldin Flags. This species tends to preserve both oral teeth and rostral teeth. The rostral teeth are quite iconic, being best known for the multiple barbs decorating its edge. These teeth are fragile and rarely collected in one piece. From the Lower Bouldin Flags, I collected a handful of oral teeth and broken rostral specimens. In my small sample of Upper Bouldin Flags material, I only collected one O. Dunklei rostral and it happened to be the single complete one in the collection. Hybodontiformes Indet. Hybodontiformes Only a singular specimen of a Hybodontiformes tooth fragment was recovered. I don’t believe enough is present to make a confident determination as to whether it belongs to Meristodonoides or some other genera. It has striations on both sides of the tooth and a slight curvature. Other Fauna Amiid? A single, tiny arrow shaped fish tooth was collected. It is difficult to confidently lay down an identification, but Amiid is a candidate for this morphology. Coniasaurus crassidens Coniasaurus crassidens may be found in the Bouldin Flags on rare occasion. Most commonly, teeth, jaw fragments, and vertebrae are found disarticulated amongst shark teeth and shells. Because of their position within the order Squamata, Coniasaurus vertebrae share many visual similarities with larger mosasaur vertebrae from younger strata such as the Ozan. Although Coniasaurus teeth exhibit heterodonty, most of their teeth have a characteristically bulbous shape that distinguishes them from all co-occurring sharks and fish (though anterior-most maxillary teeth may be quite gracile in contrast). While Coniasaurus seems to be restricted to the Cenomanian in England, American specimens cross the Cenomanian-Turonian oceanic anoxic event (OAE 2) and reach the Middle Turonian with some reports even further beyond. Enchodus sp. Typical of just about every Cretaceous exposure in Texas is the saber-toothed Enchodus. The Bouldin Flags is absolutely filled with them. The teeth are generally quite small and vary in shape. Most commonly, they are flattened and take on a recurved shape. Sometimes they may be conical and completely straight. They may be smooth or have striations. Pachyrhizodus minimus These are very small and resemble miniature mosasaur teeth. They are smooth around their circumference and have a strong distal curvature. Pachyrhizodus is a genus known for having relatively large heads, similar to modern Grouper fish. Protosphyraena sp. Protosphyraena was a genus of fish that heavily resembled modern swordfish. Their teeth are common finds all over Texas. They generally take on a flattened shape and bear two cutting edges. They can sometimes have a slight curvature or stay completely straight. The ones I collected were among the larger fish teeth found. Known but missing sharks Pseudomegachasma comanchensis Despite not having personally collected one, Pseudomegachasma comanchensis is known from the Bouldin Flags. Similar to Cretomanta, these sharks are suspected to have been the oldest elasmobranch planktivorous filter feeders. The lingual protuberances on these teeth are so large, they almost look like backwards root lobes. Ptychodus marginalis Ptychodus marginalis is better known from the South Bosque, but has been previously found in the Bouldin Flags, though it is on the rarer end as far as Ptychodus go. They can get large, sometimes to the size of a golf ball. P. marginalis is distinct from other Texan species of the genera in that its ridges go on to form concentric rings as they travel towards the edges of the crown.
  20. JamieLynn

    Austin Texas Creek Hunt

    In Central Texas you don't have to go very far to find fossils. But the Austin Chalk Formation is a little tricky finding good spots which are fairly fossiliferous. Fortunately, the Paleontological Society of Austin visits a couple of good spots and the fossiling was pretty decent this time, because we've had some good rains! This particular creek is really lovely, too....white limestone with green ferns and even some Mustang Grapevines! Although it was a hot day (as per the usual in Texas Summertime) the creek was at least shady and a bit cool and it felt great to stick my feet in the water to cool off, all the while keeping an eye out for that good fossil....... The Exogyra Oysters are the main thing found here, but there is a special one called a tigrena that have some of the original coloring on them. They are really fascinating, with their "tiger" stripes! 1 1/2 inch 2 1/4 inch 2 1/4 inch This one has both valves. 1 1/2 inch Nautiloids and ammonites are there, but rare. I happily procured one small slightly squished and not very well preserved nautiloid. 3 inches (one of the other PSoA members found a perfect little one, in a recent rock fall. He was faster up the creek than I was!) And this beauty was found even further upstream by my friend Melvin who let me borrow it to photograph. I thought y'all might like to see it. I think it is a Barrioceras dentatocarinatum Size 3 inches And one more big honking Oyster; Exogyra erraticostata 5 inches Wild Mustang Grapevines!
  21. Mikrogeophagus

    Basal Atco Double Reptile Trouble

    Took a short visit today to my Basal Atco site for the third time. Seems like every visit yields something new and totally unexpected (first visit = Acrotemnus prearticular tooth, second visit = huge assoc. fish verts, and now these). I'm fairly confident both of these are reptilian, but unfortunately I don't know much about identifying tetrapods. The first specimen I found is now my only non-Campanian mosasaur tooth. It's quite small (1 cm tall) and broke into 3 pieces, but the b72 seems to have done the job in making it presentable. Not amazing quality as expected for the Basal Atco, where much of the material is reworked. I'm not completely familiar with the genera present in the earliest Coniacian. I have read about a chunk of Tylosaurinae maxilla being found near if not in the Basal Atco of Grayson county and the subfamily is thought to have started in the Lower Coniacian altogether. I want to say Russellosaurus made it to the Atco although I believe my tooth is a little large for this ID. I think Clidastes was also around in the Coniacian, although not sure how early. And there's a lot of genera I am not mentioning, so hopefully someone in the know can fill in. The tooth itself seems to have both a mesial and distal non-serrated carina. The enamel isn't faceted as far as I can tell. I know it's not much to go off of and a precise ID is unlikely, but my hope is to at least cross off some of the genera that don't fit the description with yall's help. Mosasaur tooth (1 cm tall) Going from a relatively old mosasaur, the second specimen is a surprisingly young Coniasaurus (or so I think). This might be surprising to some, but Conisaurus is found beyond the Cenomanian. It actually has been documented to extend through the Coniacian all the way into the Middle Santonian (though the documentation is few and far between I must admit)! In other words this is a rare sort of find, but not necessarily unheard of. I don't believe any species have been named extending past the Turonian, so this may be an undescribed species. My specimen has that classic bulbous shape as well as textured enamel. It sure pays to look closely at every chunk of matrix. Coniasaurus sp.? (3 mm tall) One thing I would like to note is that I have since found a paper that helped to clarify the geology of this site which was a point of confusion in my previous trip reports. I made the mistake of referring to this place as the "Fish Bed Conglomerate" when it turns out that title has been used for at least a couple different layers, namely the base of the Austin Chalk and a phosphatic pebble bed that exists a short ways below the base documented by Taff and Leverett way back in 1893. This mixup has caused some confusion it seems in old academia. Anyways the stratigraphic chart (Fig. 2) in the source below shows these two phosphatic layers and some info on them. I kinda had a mind blown moment as I have actually visited both of these layers while looking for the Basal Atco at a couple of locations. The site where these teeth were found along with all my other written Atco adventures did actually in fact occur in the Atco or earliest Coniacian. However, the "second location" noted in the report I've linked below was actually at this Arcadia Park phosphatic pebble bed. These two layers are quite distinct and my "Atco" site definitely better fits the base. The sea levels paper specifically notes the layer as being ripple bedded which I coincidentally took a picture of in my old report! So satisfying when everything clicks into place... Hancock, Jake M., and Ireneusz Walaszczyk. “Mid-Turonian to Coniacian Changes of Sea Level around Dallas, Texas.” Cretaceous Research 25.4 (2004): 459–471. Web. As a bonus for reading through this, here are a couple of nice sharks teeth I found from the same layer. They are my first larger complete Cretalamna from the location and a new species on top of that. They compare best with Cretalamna ewelli which Siversson notes as being present in the Late Coniacian. I have some less impressive Cretalamna from the location that I previously identified as C. gertericorum, but I may have to double check those since it would be weird for two species to show up on top of one another in my opinion. They are very similar-looking species so I wouldn't be surprised if I was mistaken before. Cretalamna ewelli with beautifully splayed cusplets Looking forward to hearing yall's opinions! Thanks
  22. Jared C

    Pycnodont oral tooth

    From the album: Texas Santonian stage (Cretaceous)

    Pycnodont oral tooth Santonian Austin Chalk
  23. The weather's finally warming up here in DFW, and with that, it's time to move on from the comforts of dry land and return to the ways of creek stomping. These past few months, I've been mostly hanging around cuts and construction sites within the Washita Group, and to be honest, I've gotten a little sick of it. During that period, I steadily accrued a sizable list of potential Eagle Ford and Atco locations within the metroplex, and I was itching for the opportunity to finally go and check them out. Yesterday, I circled a few spots on the map and hit the road. Well, the first couple of sites were more or less complete duds. Stop 1 was situated in the Turner Park Member of the Britton. Lots of cool stuff can be found here and it's one of the more prettier formations, but I'm still trying to figure it out. I only spent about 30 minutes there, and nothing really impressed me. Nevertheless, I was at least rewarded with my first ptychodus from DFW (yeah it took awhile). Stop 2 was a famous site within the Camp Wisdom Member of the Britton. There were some interesting cephalopod specimens to be had, but nothing worth taking home. I did not lose hope, though. I knew that my third site was the most promising of the bunch and I accordingly saved most of the day for it. Stop 1 in the Turner Park, and my first ptychodus from DFW (P. anonymous) The Atco lies just above the Arcadia Park Formation of the Eagle Ford Group in DFW. It's famous for being densely packed with a diverse array of vertebrate material dating to the Coniacian, mostly concentrated within a thin layer dubbed the "Fish Bed Conglomerate" just at the contact of the Eagle Ford and Austin groups. The key to finding this layer is to look for matrix that is highly concentrated in phosphatic pebbles and fossils. Down in Austin, I think it gets a bit overshadowed by the Eagle Ford. In DFW, however, I would say the Atco reigns supreme. After a decent drive and trek, I stepped into the creek and began my descent through the Austin Chalk in search of this coveted conglomerate. It was difficult to tell where exactly I was stratigraphically since the Arcadia Park seems to be a bit calcareous whereas the Austin Chalk can be a bit marly. Where the calcareous marl ends and marly chalk begins is tougher to differentiate in practice, especially for someone less experienced like me. I eventually reached a large gravel bar and decided to pause the walking and have a look for any clues. I didn't find anything out of the ordinary in my initial scan, and almost picked up my backpack to move on. However, I took a moment to take a closer look at what I had first subconsciously written off as concrete. In this chunk of rock, I saw hundreds of tiny rounded phosphatic pebbles. Once my eyes reached the edge of the block, I spotted the unmistakable serrated blade of a Squalicorax falcatus tooth. There was no doubt, this was Atco matrix! The material was noticeably greyer than I had expected. Down in Central TX, the Atco is about as white as the rest of the overlying chalk. With all of the odd bits and bobs intermingling with the grey rock, it really does look like something manmade. I pulled out the rock hammer and began searching the bar for more chunks of fish bed conglomerate. It's amazing the things your eyes can miss when you unknowingly tune things out. There were very obvious shark teeth encased in many of the rocks I had walked by earlier. I collected several larger pieces and sat down to begin extracting teeth. Found my nicest shark vert yet. Unfortunately, it was super fragile and lots of it broke apart in cleaning. My first oddball tooth from the Atco. It has the shape of Cretalamna appendiculata (in the strict sense), but the presence of labial striations pushes me towards a posterior tooth of Cretodus crassidens. It also notably has doubled cusplets on one side. That same tooth post extraction. It broke in half by the time it got home, so I'll be doing a bit of consolidating. Funky little guy. There were some very large slabs of Atco conglomerate washed out atop the gravel bar. I did some hammering to break them into more manageable chunks so I could rinse them in the flowing creek. As I split one of the large slabs in half, I let out an annoyed sigh as I saw a decent Cretalamna appendiculata tooth crumble from the point my hammer had hit the stone. I tried to push that misfortune out of my mind as I perused across the newly exposed surface for any other teeth. I quickly spotted some fine serrations poking out of a chip of matrix that had just come loose. It was a Squalicorax falcatus doing its best chameleon impression. Please don't break please don't break Voila! By far the largest Squalicorax in my ever-growing collection! Florida megs better watch out... My constant hunt for micros at home adequately prepared me to keep an eye out in the field. I was able to spot a couple of Ptychotrygon triangularis oral teeth throughout the day. I also managed to find a mediocre Scapanorhynchus raphiodon and my first decent Ptychodus whipplei! Managed not to lose it in the gravel. Ptychotrygon triangularis Lots of beat up Scapanorhynchus raphiodon that day Ptychodus whipplei. The bits and pieces I have from Austin look like they were crapped off a cliff by a coyote as some Texas fossilers like to say. After getting a nice sunburn, I decided to get up and explore more of the area to perhaps find a source for this matrix. I spotted a little tributary that seemed promising and had a gander. Some outcrops have a beauty that only fossil hunters can truly appreciate... You who are reading this, I know your mouth is watering A little ways farther, the source is found. As I walked up the small feeder creek, I periodically inspected the pieces of fish bed conglomerate that were scattered in the way of the flowing water. One ball of matrix had an unsuspecting appearance, but something about it wouldn't let me leave it alone. There was what initially seemed to be some part of a bivalve erupting from it, but the color and texture gave off enamel vibes. After hammering off some chalk, I still couldn't figure it out. I eventually extracted the entire thing. It was extremely smooth and came to an edge at the top. The surface was mostly bluish gray and semi translucent. It took a second for the cogs in my brain to start working and realize I'd seen something very similar before. @Jared C and I have been recently discussing Hadrodus, and, of course, one of his best discoveries is a large fragment of Hadrodus hewletti of which shares many visual characteristics with the object in my hand. I was excited to realize I was holding the tooth to a gargantuan pycnodont fish. Just after extraction Occlusal view and side pics For scale. Stay tuned for the identity of this monster After this discovery, my stomach growled, signaling it was about time to head back. This was only my first excursion in the Atco of North Texas, and it had already proven to be one to remember. For sure, this will be a site to return to. As I walked along the banks towards my exit, my eyes were still honed in on the ground as is the curse set upon every fossil hunter. I usually don't find anything on my return walks, but I was delighted to see the sheen of black enamel poking out of some Atco chalk just several feet above the fish bed conglomerate. I popped it out and quickly identified it as Ptychodus, though the species I was unsure of. At the moment, I think it is P. atcoensis as it seems to be a good match with a specimen in Hamm's paper on the Atco. It's got radiating ridges and a marginal area similar to some P. anonymous. That paper mentions Meyer (1974) suggested that the taxon could be transitional between P. mortoni and P. anonymous and I certainly understand that reasoning. It's a little beat up, but that's a rare species and a special one. In situ Radiating ridges and concentric ridges in the marginal area as expected for P. atcoensis Once I got home, I began researching more on my fish tooth to try and pin an ID. My initial idea was that it could be a Hadrodus incisor like what Jared had in his collection based on size and coloration alone. Jared was quick to point out that the morphology differed greatly between my tooth and most incisors. This was a valid hole in the argument and I went back to the drawing board. The tooth was most certainly pycnodont in origin, but the world of pycnodonts is much deeper than most people realize. When examining the edge of the tooth I noticed a characteristic I couldn't come up with a name for until I saw it in one of the papers on Hadrodus Jared had shared. "Papilla-like tubercles" were the things lining the edge, and thankfully the author of the paper offhandedly brought up another genus of pycnodont that shared this trait: Acrotemnus. After some searching, I found a recently published paper by Shimada on a newly discovered specimen of Acrotemnus streckeri from Big Bend in the Ernst Member of the Boquillas Formation. And wouldn't ya know it, Hamm stated that the Ernst Member can be correlated with the Atco Formation (though I should mention a discrepancy in that Shimada places the Ernst Member in the Turonian and not the Coniacian which Hamm asserts the Atco + Ernst to be). The Acrotemnus paper had some high quality images of the dentition of the specimen, and I found the most similarity in size and morphology with the prearticular teeth of their fish. The Shimada paper mentioned that most pycnodonts are small, only reaching about 25 cm in size. To people who are unfamiliar with pycnodonts, these teeth may not look all that crazy, being measured only as 1-2 centimeters . However, scaling the body with the size of the dentition shows that Acrotemnus streckeri reached lengths of at least 1 - 1.3 meters, making it some of the largest pycnodonts to exist at the time! This definitely shattered my preconceived notions about pycnodont fish. Already, the Atco has proven to be one of the most interesting formations in North Texas. This site is a bit of a laborious drive for me, but I'm certain many future adventures will be had and many more fascinating discoveries with it. Thanks for reading!
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