Jump to content

Recommended Posts

M Harvey

This has bugged me for years.  It's a small amphibian or reptile ( 8cm long) found at Fossil OR at the high school site.  The strata is tuffaceous siltstone famous for leaf impressions.  It's part of the John Day formation, oligocene in age.  I have read that salamanders are occasionally found there but cannot find any more information as to species or anatomy.  I was even wondering if it could be a snake with vestigial femurs.  I'm hoping that someone can provide me some specifics so I can finally finish cataloging this specimen.    

IMG_2520.JPG

IMG_2521.JPG

IMG_2522.JPG

IMG_2523.JPG

IMG_2524.JPG

IMG_2525.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites

This may be unidentifiable without better pix and/or some serious prep work.  It does look like a string of verts, though.  Great find.

 

  • I found this Informative 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, this is a salamander. John Jacisen published a paper on the salamanders of John Day a few years back, which should be easy to find. Most of that material is from the newt genus Taricha...the anatomy I can make out in these pictures is consistent with that, particularly the broad blocky neural arches on the vertebrae. So, probably Taricha oligocenica but it could be T. lindoei. It is conceivable that it could be something else too but, as I said, the anatomy is consistent enough with Taricha that I wouldn't overthink it too much.

 

Articulated Oligocene salamander fossils are relatively rare even in scientific collections. Congrats on a really cool little fossil!

Paper in question is here:

 

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-paleontology/article/abs/redescription-and-phylogenetic-analysis-based-on-new-material-of-the-fossil-newts-taricha-oligocenica-van-frank-1955-and-taricha-lindoei-naylor-1979-amphibia-salamandridae-from-the-oligocene-of-oregon/9688C7EA3BD357933B301355027DA274

 

Let me know if you need a copy of the pdf.

  • I found this Informative 8
Link to post
Share on other sites

I am of no help, but it is very interesting.

 

RB

  • I Agree 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
FossilDAWG

I am consistently amazed by the expertise we have within our community!

 

Don

  • I Agree 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
M Harvey
3 hours ago, FossilDAWG said:

I am consistently amazed by the expertise we have within our community!

I agree. I was unable to find any info on this find for the last 25 yrs.  This was fast and sooo easy.

 

12 hours ago, jdp said:

Yes, this is a salamander. John Jacisen published a paper on the salamanders of John Day a few years back, which should be easy to find. Most of that material is from the newt genus Taricha...the anatomy I can make out in these pictures is consistent with that, particularly the broad blocky neural arches on the vertebrae. So, probably Taricha oligocenica but it could be T. lindoei. It is conceivable that it could be something else too but, as I said, the anatomy is consistent enough with Taricha that I wouldn't overthink it too much.

 

Articulated Oligocene salamander fossils are relatively rare even in scientific collections. Congrats on a really cool little fossil!

Paper in question is here:

 

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-paleontology/article/abs/redescription-and-phylogenetic-analysis-based-on-new-material-of-the-fossil-newts-taricha-oligocenica-van-frank-1955-and-taricha-lindoei-naylor-1979-amphibia-salamandridae-from-the-oligocene-of-oregon/9688C7EA3BD357933B301355027DA274

 

Let me know if you need a copy of the pdf.

I would love to have a pdf of this report.  maybe I will contact J Jacisen to see if he is interested in examining this specimen.   

Link to post
Share on other sites

I've attached the pdf of Jacisin & Hopkins 2018 here. Hopefully this is useful to you.

 

In the light of day, I think your specimen might actually preserve part of the skull (the wider mass of flat bones by the edge of the rock). Hard to tell because it is out of focus in your photos but I think I can make out a few key features. A better photo would help there.

Link to post
Share on other sites
FossilDAWG

Just curious, did you mean to attach a php file?  Not sure what people will do with the source code.

 

Don

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is the PDF

jpa_2017.85.pdf

Link to post
Share on other sites
FossilDAWG

Thanks Kane.

Figure 2 looks like Casper the friendly ghost.

 

Don

Link to post
Share on other sites
M Harvey
4 hours ago, jdp said:

I've attached the pdf of Jacisin & Hopkins 2018 here. Hopefully this is useful to you.

 

In the light of day, I think your specimen might actually preserve part of the skull (the wider mass of flat bones by the edge of the rock). Hard to tell because it is out of focus in your photos but I think I can make out a few key features. A better photo would help there.

76 kB · 4 downloads

Thanks for the article.  I will reference it.  

Here is a better photo of the "skull"  As you can see it continues under the matrix but it is far too delicate for my abilities to further excavate.

fossil salamander skull.JPG

Link to post
Share on other sites
old bones

What a neat fossil! 

Link to post
Share on other sites
17 hours ago, M Harvey said:

Thanks for the article.  I will reference it.  

Here is a better photo of the "skull"  As you can see it continues under the matrix but it is far too delicate for my abilities to further excavate.

fossil salamander skull.JPG

 

Yes, I think there's some skull there. The long slender bone, for instance, looks like part of the lower jaw. It might make sense to get this to someone with some experience in micro-prep, because I bet there's a decent amount of the skull in there and it is probably reasonably nice.

  • I found this Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
M Harvey

Who would you suggest?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly couldn't make a recommendation (all the preparators I know are professionals at museums) but perhaps someone on the forum might be able to. You should get someone who has extensive experience with fine needlework under a microscope and who can show you a portfolio of completed work that is as difficult or more difficult than this fossil. 

 

I will also say that you shouldn't have any prep done on the specimen at all if you are considering donating the specimen. 

Edited by jdp
  • I found this Informative 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

If Jacisin is interested, this may be better suited for microCT than actual prep.  I have done a lot of microvert prep and could probably do this, but it would be labor intensive.  I am trying to remember what the matrix is like at Fossil High School.  I have prepped leaves from there, but bones are a whole different thing.  

  • I found this Informative 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I scanned a bunch of those salamanders for John back in ~2013/2014 or so and what I'll say is that there is not great bone-matrix contrast in the JODA salamanders. Might get better results from a larger scanner or from an alternate imaging modality like neutron scanning or synchrotron phase-contrast, but I'm not sure whether the juice would be worth the squeeze.

  • I found this Informative 1
  • Learned something new 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
38 minutes ago, jdp said:

I scanned a bunch of those salamanders for John back in ~2013/2014 or so and what I'll say is that there is not great bone-matrix contrast in the JODA salamanders. Might get better results from a larger scanner or from an alternate imaging modality like neutron scanning or synchrotron phase-contrast, but I'm not sure whether the juice would be worth the squeeze.

 

1 hour ago, jpc said:

If Jacisin is interested, this may be better suited for microCT than actual prep.  I have done a lot of microvert prep and could probably do this, but it would be labor intensive.  I am trying to remember what the matrix is like at Fossil High School.  I have prepped leaves from there, but bones are a whole different thing.  

I contacted Dr S S Hopkins at the Univ of OR ( author of the paper you sent me).  She is interested in doing a micro CT.  

  • I found this Informative 1
  • Enjoyed 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...