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Ellis County creek, September 8th


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I have been wanting to make it back to the Ellis County creek where I found so many teeth, but by the time I could do it, it had rained enough to raise the creek quite a bit. The water level has just now dropped again. I was working near Ellis County this morning, and when I finished very early, it seemed the perfect time to go back. Rain is forecast for this evening and the next couple of days that will likely bring the creek up again.

 

Below is what I found that was either loose, or easily removed from matrix.
 

 

ellis02102.jpg

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Once again, most of the Ptychodus teeth I found were tiny, but I did find this decent sized one. I brought home plenty of matrix, so I'll have some more fun hunting teeth after this trip.
 

 

ellis02103.jpg

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And, a week later, here is what came out of the matrix I brought home. If you add these teeth to what I had already posted, that's a total of 88 Ptychodus teeth and 102 other teeth from this trip. To someone like me, who never seemed to find many teeth in the past, that's pretty amazing.  As I posted in my report on my first trip to this creek, the teeth all came from a very thin layer of very fossiliferous matrix between layers of the blue-gray shale. That sounds typical of Eagle Ford, according to hunting trips by @Uncle Siphuncle that I had read. What surprised me more is that something like 80 percent of the teeth came from two very small (like two foot by two foot) areas, and everywhere else in the fossil layer, teeth were few and far between. Is this something that others find, concentrations of teeth in a very small area, and not very much everywhere else? I also never found a single tooth anywhere in the bottom of the creek on the gravel bars.

 

I have to confess to not spending a lot of time looking there, since I was finding so many in the matrix, but at Post Oak Creek, the vast majority of what I've found was on the gravel bars, with only a few teeth found in sand that I had shoveled into a bucket and taken home, and no teeth at all found in the matrix at the creek. I guess you have to learn the ins and outs of every spot you explore, if you want to find much.

 

At the end of my second trip to this new creek, I left with the feeling that erosion from high water is really needed to uncover more matrix, if I want to find lots of teeth again, so maybe it's time for me to go back to exploring new spots for a while, and come back to this creek at a later date.  I'm new enough at this that I have very few really good hunting spots, but this one is definitely on that list now.

 

 

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Looks like you had a great hunt! Thanks for sharing!

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Uncle Siphuncle

Teeth often end up in lenticular lag deposits that are limited in extent.  Essentially a shallow depression in the sea floor that accumulated teeth etc when currents and/or wave action swept them into the lowest spot in the vicinity.  This is a common scenario in all ages of marine sediments.  I once found a 2 x 3 foot Eocene lag deposit that contained dozens of inch plus Galeocerdo and Brachycarcharias plus lots of smaller shark teeth, cutlass fish and barracuda teeth, my best ever shark vert, croc osteoderms, teeth and a nice croc vert, plus 50 big, thick gar scales.  These little lenses can be wet screened with a course and fine mesh screen to reveal treasures of all sizes.

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Uncle Siphuncle has a good answer.  My wife and I found a pocket of 150 Ptychodus teeth (mostly rice sized) plus a medium mosasaur tooth and big xiphactinus vert with a few nice regular shark's teeth in a 3 foot by 1.5 foot by 0.1 foot thick area. Definitely, it was in a lowermost bedding plane depositional shell hash of the Eagle Ford in that immediate area of the South Bosque Member.  I believe that you are better off digging for vert fossils in the formation (if acceptable by local laws or the landowner) than you are surface hunting or sifting. This is because only the most durable (medium to large) vert material survives high energy stream erosional processes and even then such vert material is often beaten up by other rocks/gravel. But, extracted from a soft formation matrix, teeth more often have roots attached and the material generally is in much better condition.

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On 9/8/2020 at 6:44 PM, BudB said:

Once again, most of the Ptychodus teeth I found were tiny, but I did find this decent sized one. I brought home plenty of matrix, so I'll have some more fun hunting teeth after this trip.
 

 

ellis02103.jpg

BudB, can you send a couple of closeup side views of this Ptychodus tooth?  Try propping your cell phone on the counter or on top of a short glass. It helps with focus.  I am guessing this tooth is either a large P. anonymous or something else.  A side view would help. 

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On 9/18/2020 at 1:40 PM, LSCHNELLE said:

BudB, can you send a couple of closeup side views of this Ptychodus tooth?  Try propping your cell phone on the counter or on top of a short glass. It helps with focus.  I am guessing this tooth is either a large P. anonymous or something else.  A side view would help. 

 

I had a tough time getting clear side view photos.

 

 

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1 hour ago, BudB said:

 

I had a tough time getting clear side view photos.

 

 

ellis02105.jpg

Thanks.  Yes, this has the classic shape and higher crown of a Cenomanian morphotype of Ptychodus anonymous.  They typically max out at ~20 mm tooth width (TW). Higher up in the younger Turonian age in Wyoming, I found many with a regular TW closer to 16 to 20 mm.  Those I find in the Texas Eagle Ford average maybe 10 to 12 mm TW. My largest at 20 mm.  I suspect that your other teeth are mostly P. anonymous with maybe a few P. occidentalis thrown in (they have more finer ridges that branch outward toward the crown edges with a more rounded crown and no distinct margin or nearly flat crown with a little bump in the smaller posterior teeth).  P. anonymous posterior teeth are nearly flat with a ridge or two near the center only. 

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