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Vertebra, Shark, fish, or gator?


Shellseeker

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Went hunting yesterday.  Gorgeous day. Fast currents, deep water that is forecast to get deeper and faster by Monday.

 

Mostly small , broken shark teeth, but there were 4 that were fun to find. 

A partial Sloth tooth,  heavily worn at the chewing surface.  I am thinking Harlan's. I found it in the 2nd sieve , which kept me at that location for the next 6 hours. Note the heavy wear on the left side of the chewing surface.

SlothMergeText.thumb.jpg.6916523065caf14de0c7c9ba5ee3f08e.jpg

 

A couple of hours later, I just noted a nice Equus canine on the edge of the screen and grabbed it before it slid back into the depths. The lack of river wear on the tooth makes this one on my finer examples.

 

EquusWolftooth.thumb.jpg.23d37d9148b4270a61bcc7be9d450722.jpg

 

For a little while, I was finding some geologic material that glinted back at me.  It seemed calcified,  and could have been coral or sand concretions. L 34, W 27, H 22 mm, Comments appreciated.

IMG_6069sand.jpg.898d2298fd89deda281c1ea560e4b128.jpgIMG_6070sand.jpg.7b07815944f310751e67ecc3091c1fe6.jpgIMG_6073sand.thumb.jpg.ecfe1d9d0e234195ea7eb5de532a136c.jpg

 

Finally, the target of this thread. This is only the 3rd or 4th of this type of vertebra that I have found,  the others being smaller and more water worn. Convex/Concave ends,  lots of fine lines,  no obvious processes, L 25, W 23, H 18 mm

IMG_6057Vertebra.jpg.a9aafc799bd5457f8241b226f517c41c.jpg

IMG_6060Vertebra.jpg.e82762a37006077033f5f7cc215e72e6.jpgIMG_6061Convex.jpg.3a5b98f6ca0bdab8eabb1c8a46c6572a.jpgIMG_6062Concave.jpg.aa3e7b544a63d065644ce9f4304c39f3.jpg

zz

IMG_6063.thumb.JPEG.329b1c1d9c6f3fea5a1cf1b4a906dab5.JPEG

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20 minutes ago, Familyroadtrip said:

Could it be alligator gar?

:DOH::DOH:

Yes,  Maybe !!! So are there Alligator Gar in the Peace River today?  YES, I see them all the time...

Do Alligator Gar have verts that greatly resemble this one ?   YES, again. So I go to the UF_MNH website that has great photos of Alligator Gar vertebrae photos , and

https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/montbrook/blog/the-fishes-of-montbrook/

They have photos like these for the most common fish found at Montbrook  !!!!!

image.thumb.png.22d6f5f9b7e357d4f982e0c205aa87d5.png

and every single vert shows concave....

Still searching for the convex side.... @digit

 

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Update:  Here is an Alligator Gar Vertebra from Prehistoric Floirda:

https://www.prehistoricflorida.com/product/fossils-miscellaneous/uncommon-alligator-gar-vertebra/6566/

 

This looks like a match.. In the Peace River, it may not be possible to differentiate fossil from modern.  Both might look pretty much the same after 5-10 years.  I'll keep it anyways.  Thanks to @Familyroadtrip:fistbump:

image.png.33822730caefbc0da19e4afd0c74196c.png

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There is a good reason for that--to my (limited, but growing) knowledge all fish verts are amphicoelous. This twenty-five cent word is the technical term for vertebrae with concave ends on both sides--"amphi = both, both sides" (Greek) and "coel = hollow, cavity" so "amphicoelous = having concave ends on both sides".

 

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1096-3642.1976.tb00830.x

 

There are other types of shapes for the articulating ends of vertebrae:

 

https://inside.ucumberlands.edu/academics/biology/faculty/kuss/courses/vertbraeribssternum/amphicoelousETC.htm

 

It sure does resemble a fish vert from the sides but the convex end would seem to preclude any fish (even the Alligator Gar). I know that in fishes the atlas vertebrae have an interesting articulating surface that joins to the back of the skull but I believe all the rest to the tail are amphicoelous with little balls of cartilage cushioning and adding flexibility to the spine. 

 

The rounded end would suggest something possibly reptilian but it looks unlike any gator verts I've come across. If it does not quickly ring any bells for @Harry Pristis then I'd suggest dropping some photos to Richard Hulbert and sharing his reply here.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Was posting just as you found that image of an alligator gar vert. Here's a topic from some years back with a similar find:

 

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/54850-unknown-vertebra/

 

Gars must be doing something odd with their verts. I've picked hundreds of them from the Montbrook bone bags and have never seen one with a convex end. Obviously, there is a chance to learn something here which always makes for a good day. :drool:

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Brett Breakin' Rocks
13 minutes ago, Shellseeker said:

Update:  Here is an Alligator Gar Vertebra from Prehistoric Floirda:

https://www.prehistoricflorida.com/product/fossils-miscellaneous/uncommon-alligator-gar-vertebra/6566/

 

This looks like a match.. In the Peace River, it may not be possible to differentiate fossil from modern.  Both might look pretty much the same after 5-10 years.  I'll keep it anyways.  Thanks to @Familyroadtrip:fistbump:

Ha ! .. Jack I was just about to post those same exact pictures but then I got worried for the same reason Ken posted ... how can these look so different ?  .. Where are the growth rings etc.

 

product_photo_thumbs.jpg.327013ca5597a284da687c88518201af.jpg

 

Apparently it is true ?

 

Image Credit: Mt. Vernon - Midden Pile from the kitchen !

GarFish_001.png.385ed1a1c9de1520ba628ffaab03e7a1.png

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We find mostly smaller Longnose Gars (Lepisosteus sp.) at Montbrook but also the larger Alligator Gar (Atractosteus sp.) which can become real beasts.

 

Alligator_gar-1000px.png

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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1 hour ago, Shellseeker said:

Yes,  Maybe !!! So are there Alligator Gar in the Peace River today?  YES, I see them all the time...

Are you sure? I thought they were restricted to the Mississippi River drainage area. There are other species of gar you might be seeing.

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53 minutes ago, Al Dente said:

Are you sure? I thought they were restricted to the Mississippi River drainage area. There are other species of gar you might be seeing.

Let me respond to this one quickly.  I am out of my depth in discussing Fish Vertebrae, I have seen a lot of modern fish in the Peace River that I believed were Gar,  many in the range of 4-5 feet long. narrow snouts, sharp teeth, big bodies, flat tails, rear placed dorsal fin.  They resembled but on close inspection looked little like the photo of the Alligator Gar that Ken posted above.

We routinely find fossil Gar Fish scales in the Peace River.

I will have to research what type of modern Gar Fish we do have in the Peace River.

I think that this is the fish I am seeing in the Peace River,  A longnose Gar

image.png.58c2b5e4d5ad8add4d5109c2eb1e8e37.png

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Looks like a jumbo version of a Cretaceous gar vertebra that I have. They can be convex on one end, which is definitely weird for a fish vertebra.

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Here is what I believe that I have discovered by searching the internet:

https://seaworld.org/animals/facts/bony-fish/gars/

Alligator Gar includes both the Longnose Gar (which has existed for 100 million years) and Atractosteus sp, which is found in the Mississippi River Valley. 

Also, for both species, their vertebrae are opisthocoelous (anterior convex, posterior concave), which is a characteristic seen in reptiles.

 

There easily could be Longnose Gar fossils that go back 2 MYA, but I have to deal with the fact that I have modern versions in the Peace River that have existed in the Holocene. Might have both,  might only have modern..

@digit Ken, I am wondering what the experts are saying about Gar Vertebrae from Montbrook that are not opisthocoelous.  What is the identification of those Gars?

 

I definitely have learned a lot from finding this fossil.

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3 hours ago, Shellseeker said:

I will have to research what type of modern Gar Fish we do have in the Peace River.

I think that this is the fish I am seeing in the Peace River,  A longnose Gar

I think what we have in the Peace River are indeed the Longnose Gar and not the intimidating Alligator Gar.

 

11 minutes ago, Shellseeker said:

@digit Ken, I am wondering what the experts are saying about Gar Vertebrae from Montbrook that are not opisthocoelous.  What is the identification of those Gars?

 

I definitely have learned a lot from finding this fossil.

Isn't it grand! I love fossils that push at the envelope of my current fossil knowledge (which is limited but hopefully growing daily).

 

I'll likely see Richard on Monday when I'm back at the warehouse sorting bone bags from Montbrook. I'll remember to ask him then about gar verts. It will be quite easy to go to the drawer in the cabinet that has all of the specimens in the collection. Will let you know what I find out. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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More info: Different part of country.

image.png.d5fdc416e5686ee84a9b5b86e7a7a234.png

 

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Gars are pretty ancient fishes (but so are Bowfin). Good to know that gars had Opisthocoelous (rear-facing concave articulating surfaces).

 

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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  • 3 weeks later...

BTW: I remembered to ask Ricard about this last week and he confirmed that gars are rather odd in having opisthocoelous verts and not amphicoelus like most modern fishes. They are just weird relics that have always fascinated me. I remember staring at them in the tanks at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago as a kid and seeing them (Longnose Gars) in the wild in various Florida waterways. Went canoeing in Silver Springs (FL) last month and spotted some Bowfin which are another ancient lineage of "living fossils" that have not changed much from what we have in the fossil record. It's like a little time-travel treat when you can view a creature that has been inhabiting the planet for longer than we've been a species. :)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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