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Mammoth/Mastodon Toe Bone?


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Found on the Brazos River just southwest of Houston. When I first picked this up, judging by the extreme river damage it had suffered being tossed around in the water for so many years, I simply assumed it was just another unidentifiable piece of Pleistocene bone to get thrown in the box with the others back at home. But since I've been going through the galleries of some of the members here to help identify the other bones I collected, this one seems to bear a resemblance to a mammoth metacarpal. Maybe the smallest one, although the damage on several spots is significant - the outer bony surface on one side has been completely removed. Am I just crazy, or is this thing the real deal? Any help on an ID is appreciated! 

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  • 3 weeks later...

That's a tough one. It's very suggestive but also very worn. It came from a larger animal, so that narrows it down some. If it's indeed Pleistocene, then that also narrows it down some more.

 

Here is a suspected mammoth toe bone from my misc. unidentified box -

 

 

mamtoe-3a.JPG

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Shellseeker

It might be a vert... Round circle -- the epiphysis never fused, oval circle -- those small holes are where we would expect.  As you speculated --- unidentifiable.

MaybeVert.JPG.a750edfbf30d628134fa2bd2227c608e.JPG

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It is indeed Pleistocene aged, as the gravel bars I hunt along the river carry rocks from the underlying Beaumont and Lissie Formations. Seeing as it's so large for just a single bone (or piece of a bone), which animals would that leave as possible suspects? Mammoth, obviously, but maybe mastodon and ground sloth too? Would anything else from that time period get that large? 

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  • 4 months later...

Was browsing the excellent collection of 3D fossil models on the University of Michigan Online Repository of Fossils (UMORF) and came across what could be the ID to this particular mystery chunk-o-saur - a mammoth carpal instead of my previous guess of a toe bone. The UMORF site lists it as an unciform, which I've read is synonymous with the hamate bone of the wrist. Here's the link: 

https://umorf.ummp.lsa.umich.edu/wp/wp-content/3d/viewer.html?name=RIL_L_UNC&extension=obj

Anyone willing to confirm this tentative ID or point me in the direction of some good references on mammoth anatomy that include the wrist and foot bones? The internet is being particularly cruel to me today. :(

@Harry Pristis @Shellseeker @Lorne Ledger @darrow

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I cannot confirm your tentative ID sadly, there are just not enough diagnostic features there to make that call I fear.  It could also be just a worn end chunk of a femur with what I can see.

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Unfortunately for me I feel like you're probably right Lorne, but I'll still post some of my comparison pictures just in case. Looking at the 3D model I was able to find areas on my bone that matched, and tilting the bone and model in the same directions yielded more similarities. The unciform on the UMORF website is from the left side of the animal's body, and since mine appears mirrored if it actually is an unciform it would be from the right side instead. Here are some of those pictures: 

IMG_1964.jpeg.4a0d2fb204aae75d771b7571f8c61901.jpegIMG_1965.jpeg.f6bd0b8b8203656db3f9f0fc7965c77f.jpeg

The only reason I even came to this conclusion wasn't because the two bones have a similar outline, but because I reasoned that even the worn down areas would still retain at least some of their original shape - for example, the one side of the bone that is completely shaved down to the porous insides likely possessed a similarly flat surface when it was unworn. Once again, I could be completely wrong though. :shrug:

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I can’t say this with any certainty at all; but my first thought was carpal

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