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Shellseeker

Got up early, went out hunting to a favorite location with good friends. I had searched this spot so often that I went in believing that I would have to prospect new locations before today was over.  Turned out not to be true.

After 5-10 small shark teeth in each of the 1st 2 sieves, this interesting fossil fell into my lap.

It is 6.5 inches long and 2.75 inches at its widest point.  Going to be a great day.

I will make some observations.

1) At 2.75 inches wide, it is far smaller than the width of an adult tooth and must be from a juvenile.

2) It consists of approximately 3 plates. A complete juvenile tooth might be 10-12+ plates

3) The section I have found has not been chewed upon YET.. It was likely un_erupted when the juvenile died.

4) Maybe redundant to #3, the section I have found is 100% enamel, 0% roots/dentin/cementum

 

Questions:

When one of my friends looked at the fossil, he said that I had found the "posterior" end of the tooth,  because the "fingers" you see, are only present in this volume on the posterior end.  News to me,  for Mammoth tooth experts,  is it true?

 

Here is a very interesting link

https://www.fossilera.com/pages/about-mammoth-molars

which includes this discussion:

Quote

mammoths had six sets of teeth, three deciduous and three permanent. These teeth are often labeled P2-P4 and M1-M3. These can be thought of as Premature molar 2-4 and Mature molar 1-3. Premature or deciduous teeth lasted from an individual’s birth until maturity in their mid twenties. P1 or “milk teeth” were lost shortly after weaning around age three, the remaining premature teeth lasted until maturity. Mature teeth take the place of premature teeth around the animal’s mid twenties and progress through stages 1-3 until about the time of the animals death around age sixty.

 

So, if there are 2 set of deciduous teeth between Age 3 and Age 20, let's speculate that each set lasts more or less 8 years... My find was being created as a "deciduous" tooth, and creation of a deciduous tooth happens around 4 years of age and 12 years of age. My gut feeling looking at a lot of deciduous mammoth teeth,  many medium in size and many larger in size is that my find is one of the larger "juvenile teeth" created at Age 12.

 

All comments appreciated,  especially from someone who knows about sizes of deciduous mammoth teeth.

 

p.s. I did take some comfort in seeing scientific papers that estimated modern elephant age based on tooth size... and the comments that it should also apply to Mammoths. 

IMG_8048crop.thumb.jpg.d110b3d43d628550416706e26e8cbd32.jpgIMG_8051.thumb.JPEG.ad7e11ebae51bd2a27c83be29c9c2802.JPEGIMG_8041.thumb.JPEG.3d94069dd72c0e92b6fd33f07fb6ae76.JPEG

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will stevenson

Great find! :) I am wondering, is that an unerupted juvenile as you stated or the end broken of an adult tooth, with the Dentin dissolved, let me know what you think ;) 

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Shellseeker
Posted (edited)
57 minutes ago, will stevenson said:

Great find! :) I am wondering, is that an unerupted juvenile as you stated or the end broken of an adult tooth, with the Dentin dissolved, let me know what you think ;) 

Here is and adult Columbian Mammoth tooth that @digit Ken found a few years back in the Peace River... It is 22 cm (8.7 inches) by 10 cm (3.9 inches) on the chewing surface.  Adult teeth are really large .  I based my estimate on the 2.75 inch width of my tooth. It would be hard for my find to reach these sizes..  Hopefully Ken will comment.   Thanks for your question.

 Adult

xx

post-7713-0-21436400-1432139554.jpg

 

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will stevenson
40 minutes ago, Shellseeker said:

Here is and adult Columbian Mammoth tooth that @digit Ken found a few years back in the Peace River... It is 22 cm (8.7 inches) by 10 cm (3.9 inches) on the chewing surface.  Adult teeth are really large .  I based my estimate on the 2.75 inch width of my tooth. It would be hard for my find to reach these sizes..  Hopefully Ken will comment.   Thanks for your question.

 

 Nice specimen there,

the bit in question is this part of the tooth if I am correct691265F5-D97F-448B-89A0-4783EE6F85CD.jpeg.a8c2fc746e12b56c0f247e8861bb77c6.jpeg

which is thinner than most of the tooth :) 

considering that mammoths have multiple sets of teeth as they age, it is likely that your specimen is a young adult I think, then again, I could be wrong. Having had a second look though, it doesn’t look like the Dentin has been dissolved as it is present at the base of the tooth so it is possible like you said that this is an undeveloped tooth :) 

hopefully Ken can clarify :) 

 

 

 

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I think Jack's tooth is the opposite end of the tooth (not the area circled in red). See this photo from this website:

 

Schematic-representation-of-a-mammoth-lower-molar-Anatomical-features-distribution-of.png

 

https://www.fossilera.com/pages/about-mammoth-molars

 

Good information here about how the tooth wears and the life stage of molars.

 

I think Jack's tooth fragment with the "fingers" are the unerupted plate tubercles illustrated above (distal side). The open end of Jack's tooth is the wide root openings on this side of the bottom of the tooth.

 

I generally learn just about what I need to know to explain the fossils I've found. When I see new fossils like Jack's it sends me to learning more about these interesting proboscideans.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Shellseeker
1 hour ago, digit said:

I think Jack's tooth is the opposite end of the tooth (not the area circled in red). See this photo from this website:

 

Schematic-representation-of-a-mammoth-lower-molar-Anatomical-features-distribution-of.png

 

https://www.fossilera.com/pages/about-mammoth-molars

 

Good information here about how the tooth wears and the life stage of molars.

I think Jack's tooth fragment with the "fingers" are the unerupted plate tubercles illustrated above (distal side). The open end of Jack's tooth is the wide root openings on this side of the bottom of the tooth.

I generally learn just about what I need to know to explain the fossils I've found. When I see new fossils like Jack's it sends me to learning more about these interesting proboscideans.  Cheers.

-Ken

Ken,  here is ONE of my questions from above!!!

Quote

Questions:

When one of my friends looked at the fossil, he said that I had found the "posterior" end of the tooth,  because the "fingers" you see, are only present in this volume on the posterior end.  News to me,  for Mammoth tooth experts,  is it true?   YES, and those "fingers" are called tubercles on the distal end.  :tiphat::yay-smiley-1::thumbsu:

@will stevenson

Will, Maybe the question we are after is what is the range size of EACH of the 6 sets of Mammoth teeth. There are lots of Mammoth teeth to look at online and on this forum. How do they "fit" into each. Set 1 (baby teeth are Small -- 1-3 inches).... Sets 4, 5 ,6 are Large, like Ken's example.... approximately 9x4 inches.  I would contend that the fragment I show is in the middle, set #2 or #3.  But I easily could be wrong....

 

Here is/are another example, both found in the Peace River... about 10 feet apart from each other. These are 6 x 3 inches (compared to 9 x 4, I think definitely juvenile. @digit Ken , can you provide width measurements of your tooth's occulusal surface at 3 points? The game is afoot.

IMG_8080.thumb.JPEG.adebfd36642539641d67b6686ddb3876.JPEGIMG_8082.thumb.JPEG.5e238bbf9ff3160fb341765564507848.JPEG

 

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If I remember correctly Richard Hulbert stated that the tooth was from an older juvenile (somewhere in its twenties--and probably with bad acne :P). I can see the tooth sitting on a display table just to the right of my computer screens. I'll have to grab a ruler.

 

Okay, here are some recent photos of this 13 pound monster. There are about 13 loops of enamel on this tooth. The left edge in the photo below ends without clear enamel loops and a more open section of the cementum which should be visible in the photo. This is from the shallow end of the tooth which would be forward in the jaw. The enamel loops break up into around 5 smaller circles at the narrow but deep end of the tooth in the right in the photos.

 

P4108319.JPG    P4108320.JPG

 

The distance across the occlusal surface at the anterior end of the tooth (left in the photo) is 8 cm. Three loops back in the tooth (about where my hand disappears under the tooth in the first photo) it is 10 cm across. At its widest extent in the middle of the tooth it is 10.5 cm wide. From there it narrows. The last complete loop (4th from the right in the photo) is 8 cm. At the last complete enamel loop (really 5 small separate circles of enamel) on the very posterior end of the tooth, the width narrows to 4.25 cm.

 

Most of the flared root openings have been worn off. This is what the tooth looks like from below.

 

P4108322.JPG

 

Let me know if you'd like any additional measurements. I'll see if I can dig up the email where Richard gave me information on the tooth. I originally assumed the more convex side of the tooth (the lower edge in the first photo above) would have been the outer (labial) side of the tooth but proboscidean jaws are weird. Instead of being rounded and convex they narrow rather quickly from the back to the front and then come to a rather narrow point at the symphysis in the middle of the jaw. From the shape (depth) of the tooth I believe I am correct in thinking that this would be an upper tooth. Knowing which end of the tooth points forward and the curvature leads me to believe that this is the upper left molar.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

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Ah, I've found Richard's emails from back in 2015 when this lunker was found. He said it was an upper 2nd molar. This was his follow-up text:

A mammoth (or elephant) with a fully erupted and worn M2 is a full-sized adult with an age of over 20 years.  I identified it as an M2 instead of an M3 based on the number of plates, which is too low to be from an M3.

So possibly counting the number of plates (when you have a complete tooth) is the easiest way of determining which tooth in sequence you are looking at.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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