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Found 6 results

  1. Kaypot

    Turtle with knobbed plastron?

    Found this while kayaking in Hubbard County, Minnesota. Cleaned the sediment off half of the top and the bottom. The carapace has knobs that are features similar to a black knobbed map turtle or fake map turtle but what is odd is the knobs on the plastron (bottom plate of a turtle. It's heavy. Thanks for any ideas/suggestions.

    Peace River Find

    When I hunt the river I always try to do a walk around of the area where I plan on working for the day. I have found numerous nice fossils this way that are just sitting on the riverbed waiting to be picked up. About 4 weeks ago, as I did a morning walk around I spotted some very white looking bone material in very shallow water. Upon picking it up I believed I had two nice size pieces of modern turtle plastron. I didn't see anything else in the immediate area and went about my search for fossils. I decided to take the bone material home and later came to the conclusion they were turtle plastron. On my next visit to the same location another walk around turned up numerous additional turtle pieces that looked to make up most of a carapace. Photo of the carapace and some additional pieces in the sifter - These pieces, along with the suspected plastron were fresh enough that they were too new to even bring in the garage. I decided to bury the bones and let nature take its course in ridding them of their odor and any material that would cause problems. This morning I retrieved the pieces from the backyard flower bed, rinsed them off and assembled them as best I could. I've got most of the carapace, the lower mandible a few bones yet to ID and what I believe are pieces of the plastron. I believe the plastron parts are the two large pieces above the carapace and the two smaller pieces at the bottom of the photo. While I have found a number of photos and diagrams that indicate the carapace is from a fresh water turtle I have not been able to find any photos pf a similar plastron. Anyone with an idea on a turtle plastron that would match? Here are the plastron pieces with a ruler in inches and MM - The walk around is a regular part of my routine on the river and has turned up everything from full Meg teeth to mammoth teeth. I highly recommend it!
  3. Had another busy and enjoyable afternoon volunteering at the FLMNH vertebrate paleontology warehouse which was part of the reason why Tammy and I moved up to Gainesville. This afternoon started out with sorting the bones from non-bone for the last couple of bags of the > 1/4" chunky matrix pieces from sandbags collected at the Montbrook site in 2017. Now they can start screen-washing 2018...and then 2019...and maybe someday get caught-up to the present. In some of my first 1/4" matrix bags, sorting the complete bones (to be cataloged) from the scrappy broken bones, I had missed identifying a dentary (lower jaw) piece of the very common slider turtle (Trachemys inflata) and while pieces of the shell (carapace and plastron) are ubiquitous at this site cranial bones are much more rare. Armed with a new search image for this bone I was able to keep my eyes peeled and recognize it not mistaking it for a broken fish skull bone this time. The first bag provided me with first the left dentary and then the matching right dentary split into two pieces along the symphysis (mid-line). I wasn't going to allow these to slip through my fingers again. Turtles have no teeth so they have rather edentate (toothless) dentaries. They just have a rather sharp ridge along the top edge instead of individual teeth. When I got to the second bag I spotted an even nicer specimen complete across the symphysis with both halves connected. That bag also produced a really nice alligator claw core (ungual). Having finished sorting the last of the chunky matrix bags from 2017 I moved on to picking through some bone bags from March of 2019. This bag had several smaller bags with associated fragments that were bagged separately in the field by the collector to keep them from getting disassociated. The first small bag had the end of a gator bone with the articulating end broken off as it was poorly mineralized. It didn't take too long to orient the end piece and smaller chip to restore this to as good as it will get. Isolated slider turtle bones (Trachemys inflata) have to be virtually complete to make the collection as the Montbook site (and now the FLMNH collection) are chocked full of them. Gator bones are not as common and so even an identifiable gator bone with one reasonably complete articulating surface are still of interest for the collection. There is a layer at the Montbrook site that we call the "Turtle Death Layer" which is virtually paved with Trachemys shells. If we ever discover a similar "Alligator Graveyard Layer" with an embarrassing abundance of gator bones we may grow more choosy but for now we take what we can get. The next little bag of associated fragments turned out to be fragments of the Xiphiplastron and articulating Hypoplastron from the left side of the bottom part of the shell (plastron) of the slider turtle (Trachemys inflata). While I started with quite the bag of puzzle pieces, the individual fragments started lining up. Armed with a very VERY slowly growing knowledge of this part of the turtle's anatomy (having seen a few of these already) I'm beginning to recognize where the various bits should be going. Before long all of the two fragmented bones had been Frankensteined together as best as could be from the pieces. I ended up with virtually the complete left Xiphiplastron and Hypoplastron and the few remaining bits that were bagged in the field turned out not to be from these bones and were mixed in with the rest of the bones from this batch to see if they might connect to some other bone. This last bag of bones I was sorting through this evening turned up an odd bone that I couldn't place (not that my knowledge of fossil bones even scratches the surface of what there is to know). It had some characteristics of a vertebra but it was not symmetrical in any way and it seemed to be a complete (unbroken) bone so it had me confused. At this point it was only Richard Hulbert (the vertebrate paleontology collections manager) and me left at the warehouse--the few other students had gone home around 5pm and I was still trying to finish up this bag so I could put things away and go home for dinner as well. I showed the bone to Richard and told him I had failed to make the bone a vert since clearly it was not and asked him what the heck it was as I'd not seen anything like it before. (There are still so many many bones I'm unfamiliar with so this is not at all surprising.) He looked at it and his eyes quickly widened as he pronounced that it was a carnivore bone. Carnivores are relatively rare in most ecosystems and are likewise rare in the specimens found at fossil sites--other than places like the ancient tar pit site called La Brea ("tar" in Spanish) in downtown Los Angeles which is noteworthy for the many Saber-toothed Cats (Smilodon californicus) found there. And saber-tooth cats proved to be the key to this strange bone. A few years back at the Montbrook site an ancestor was discovered to the large and and fierce predatory cat with incisors that were indeed saber (or at least dagger) shaped. This cat was a formidable predator but its incisors had not yet evolved into the very distinctive dentition of its descendant. The Small Saber-toothed Cat (Rhizosmilodon fiteae) is known from this site from the initial partial skull that was found in 2017 and several additional bones that have turned up over the years including a femur and several wrist and finger bones. https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/science/news-saber-tooth-cat-skull-find-in-montbrook/ Richard and I located the cabinet and the particular drawer containing the collection of bones for this species and the preservation coloration of this mystery bone was clearly very similar to the other bones already cataloged. Additionally, we checked the collection label and the grid coordinates indicated it was found right at the epicenter of where the other bones were recovered so it was another clue that our hunch was looking promising. We compared it to the existing Small Saber-tooth Cat wrist bones but weren't finding a match. We went back to another cabinet in the back of the warehouse where the comparative material is stored and pulled out a drawer with a disarticulated modern skeleton of a Florida Bobcat (Lynx rufus). We looked through the box that contained the complete set of wrist bones for this cat species and none of them looked a match for the mystery bone. After consulting some osteology books with drawings of cat wrist bones we still weren't finding a match and so Richard figured he'd have to take the specimen back to his office at Dickinson Hall on campus and consult additional books and collections to get an ID on this bone though he was sure it was felid. We went back to look at the drawer where the Montbrook saber-tooth was stored and found a small bone from a second smaller species of cat that was found at the site and it was a match for the shape of our mystery bone--not a wrist bone but an ankle bone known as the ectocuneiform. We then went back to the drawer with the modern bobcat and looked through the box with the foot bones in it and found the matching (but much smaller) bone from this species and the articulating third metatarsal (toe bone) for comparison. This confirmed that we had the first recorded ectocuneiform for the saber-tooth from the Montbrook site. It is difficult (likely impossible) to find a good diagram of saber-tooth cat foot bones so here is a much more readily available human foot bone with the cuneiform bones labeled. The Medial cuneiform bone (aka entocuneiform or "inner" cuneiform) is attached to the first (big) toe bones counting from the mid-line of the body. The Intermediate cuneiform bone (aka mesocuneiform or "middle" cuneiform) is next connected to the second toe bones. The Lateral cuneiform bone (aka ectocuneiform or "outer" cuneiform) connects to the third (middle) toe bones. Oddly, there are no additional cuneiform bones and the last two sets of toe bones articulate with a bone called the Cuboid is not surprisingly the most cube-shaped of the foot bones. Always fun to learn something new each day at the warehouse. This bone had been dug up by another volunteer and had been sitting in a bone bag for over 3 years till that bag's contents were recently retrieved from storage, rinsed, dried, and re-bagged awaiting another volunteer to pick through the bag to see if any interesting specimens were hiding within that needed to be cataloged. In this particular case that volunteer was me and the specimen was an exciting one and an important one for the collection. It won't be cataloged with my name associated with it in any way but I'm happy to have been fortunate enough to have played a minor role in seeing it make its way safely into the proper drawer with the other associated bones from this particular Small Saber-toothed Cat. Cheers. -Ken
  4. RescueMJ

    ID Fossil Turtle Shell ?

    Found this cool fossil today. Measures 6 1/2" x 5 1/2" x 2 inches high. Venice, FL construction site. Located 5 feet away from a nice Meg tooth. Pleistocene material recovered within 50 yards. My first thought was small tortoise shell fully intact. Located close by was another larger size tortoise shell that was not fully fossilized. Hoping someone can confirm this is a fossilized turtle shell. Regards, Michael
  5. hadrosauridae

    Hell Creek turtle prep

    Earlier, I posted a box of some of my older material I found hiding in my garage. Included in that box were a couple of turtle bits including a partial carapace and partial plastron. This bit is a hypoplastron (if my research is correct) of Basilemys Axestemys?. This poor thing was in terrible condition when I opened up the foil pack. Here are the pics as I opened it and the opposite side (disintegrating even worse) after I glued back together. I took 30 minutes of cell phone video of the initial cleaning and then compressed it down. Sorry, theres no audio. This was a "quick and dirty" video and edit. Here are pics of both sides at the end of the day. Still a little bit left to do, but its very hard glue and delicate spots.
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