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Pliosaur & Mosasaur Tooth Collection from Central Texas


LSCHNELLE

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Attached are pictures of my collection of four isolated teeth from Travis County, Texas with limited identifications.  I am not an expert on pliosaurs, plesiosaurs, or mosasaurs.  I just know fairly accurately in which member of a specific formation I found these teeth.  All of these were located in or near a shell hash layer associated with oyster fragments, Ptychodus, or other regular shark's teeth.

 

(1) 10/2/2017 - Upper South Bosque - ~91 mya - first picture (as cleaned). 

20171002_160624.jpg

 

 

(2) 6/15/2018 - Lower Bouldin Flags - ~95 Mya - first picture (as found), second picture (display). 

20181028_172747.jpg

20181028_172707.jpg

 

 

(3) 10/28/2018 - Lower Bouldin Flags - ~95 Mya - first picture (as found), second picture (as cleaned).

20180615_161345.jpg

20180618_115411.jpg

 

 

(4) 7/16/2021 - Lower Bouldin Flags - ~95 Mya - first picture (as found), second picture (as cleaned and bonded).

20210716_124437_copy_1287x1637.jpg

20210716_210013_copy_2061x1192.jpg

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That's amazing. Absolutely gorgeous finds. I am a little jealous right now! I have yet to find a Mosasaur tooth. But I will keep looking! :dinothumb:

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Awesome finds, Lee!  I've moved your photos beneath their descriptions.  Let me know if something is out of position.

 

Number one and four look 'mosasaurish'.

Number two has interesting flutes

I would say three is a pliosaur and a rare find.

 

Well done, sir.

 

@pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon

@LSCHNELLE

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Thanks Jamie LYNN, JohnJ, and Tidgy's Dad!   They are pretty fantastic.  That's why after (4), I thought that I should share with the community. JohnJ, the pics look to be in correct order. These are rare fossil finds associated with 100's of hours hunting my favorite Ptychodus locales. JohnJ, I believe that the (2), (3),& (4) finds were located in strata where 3' long Coniasaurs were the largest Mosasaur-like sea creatures.   So, it is not likely that the they are anything but Pliosaurs or Plesiosaurs.  (4) has some exposure wear due to stream erosion, muck, and algae.  It was my last part of the 2' x 2' shell hash conglomerate to clean off.  There are very fine striations on the last 6mm of the tip.  It was fragile, so I put a coat of sealant on it. It makes it harder to see.  So, I have added another pic. (1) definitely could be a mosasaur based on 4 Mya younger strata. 

20210716_205402_copy_1184x1490.jpg

Edited by LSCHNELLE
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pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon

Oh wow! Those are spectacular finds! Totally jealous! :envy:

 

As John already said, number 3 is definitely a brachauchenine pliosaur, likely Brachauchenius lucasi, to my knowledge the only pliosaur known from Cretaceous Texas.

 

Based on the striations - which are plesiosaurian rather than the more regular facet-lines or anastomosing ridges of mosasaurs - and the robust conical shape - not narrow or compressed enough for elasmosaurs or polycotylids - I believe tooth 2 to be another brachauchenine pliosaur. As American pliosaur teeth are very rare, this is a truly astonishing find. Moreover, them coming from the same layer at the same location (if I understand correctly), so closely timed, one after the other, may mean they're from the same individual...!

 

I wanted to say that for the first and fourth teeth additional photographs would be needed for proper identification. But as these have now been posted for the fourth tooth, I'd say that's indeed plesiosaurian too, as has been suggested, with me leaning towards another pliosaur tooth for its overall robustness and the vermicular striae - something set on pliosaur teeth, but not on plesiosaurian (elasmosaur, polycotylid) ones. So I'd say you've really hit the jackpot with your location!

 

Tooth 1, however, has a different root structure and appears laterally compressed, so I'd say that that's indeed likely to be a mosasaur tooth. Unfortunately, my knowledge on American mosasaur species is somewhat lacking, so other than stating it doesn't appear either plioplatecarpine or tylosaurine - therefore, I believe, most likely mosasaurine - I wouldn't be able to help (may be @Praefectus might know more?). To properly identify mosasaur teeth you need to have clear images of all sides of the tooth, meaning it would need to be removed from its matrix...

 

Again amazing finds! To dream off...! Certainly for most people! :default_clap2:

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4 hours ago, LSCHNELLE said:

(4) finds were located in strata where 3' long Coniasaurs were the largest Mosasaur-like sea creatures.   So, it is not likely that the they are anything but Pliosaurs or Plesiosaurs.  (4) has some exposure wear due to stream erosion, muck, and algae. 

 

11 minutes ago, pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon said:

I wanted to say that for the first and fourth teeth additional photographs would be needed for proper identification. But as these have now been posted for the fourth tooth, I'd say that's indeed plesiosaurian too, as has been suggested, with me leaning towards another pliosaur tooth for its overall robustness and the vermicular striae - something set on pliosaur teeth, but not on plesiosaurian (elasmosaur, polycotylid) ones.

 

Lee, thanks for the additional image of number four.  I agree with Alexander's analysis.   :fistbump:

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Thanks Alexander and JohnJ.  I can say that (3) and (4) were found from the same location within 5 meters of each other at the same stratigraphic level.  So they could be associated teeth possibly. The other teeth are a few miles away from (3) and (4) - each from separate locals. (2) is roughly within one meter of a strata correlating to (3) and (4).

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On 7/18/2021 at 6:54 PM, pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon said:

Unfortunately, my knowledge on American mosasaur species is somewhat lacking, so other than stating it doesn't appear either plioplatecarpine or tylosaurine - therefore, I believe, most likely mosasaurine - I wouldn't be able to help (may be @Praefectus might know more?). To properly identify mosasaur teeth you need to have clear images of all sides of the tooth, meaning it would need to be removed from its matrix...

 

Very nice tooth. I also think it is mosasaurine. The thick enamel closely resembles what is referred to Prognathodon, but I must admit that I am not familiar enough American mosasaurs to properly identify it and the resemblance may be superficial. Great find regardless. 

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1 hour ago, Praefectus said:

 

Very nice tooth. I also think it is mosasaurine. The thick enamel closely resembles what is referred to Prognathodon, but I must admit that I am not familiar enough American mosasaurs to properly identify it and the resemblance may be superficial. Great find regardless. 

Praefectus:  Thanks for your time.  In seeking out the fossil for a better shot, I found a nearly flawless 12mm conical tooth from the same Turonian Upper South Bosque layer that I had forgotten about.  Also, there is another smaller tooth from the Basal Atco that might be of interest. Not the best pic of that one.  It would need to be carved out of the hard matrix.  It seems slightly flattened, but has striations. I am still looking for the (1) fossil. 

20210720_220437_copy_1600x930.jpg

20210720_220747_copy_1600x998.jpg

20210720_215111_copy_1600x1289.jpg

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pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon
7 hours ago, Praefectus said:

The thick enamel closely resembles what is referred to Prognathodon, but I must admit that I am not familiar enough American mosasaurs to properly identify it and the resemblance may be superficial. Great find regardless. 

 

With what I now understand is a Turonian date, it seems more likely this tooth could've belonged to Clidastes sp., though I don't have any teeth to compare with and Clidastes is supposed to only have originated in the Coniacian. In any case, it's a closer match in time than Prognathodon, which is restricted to the Campanian and Maastrichtian.

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pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon
6 hours ago, LSCHNELLE said:

In seeking out the fossil for a better shot, I found a nearly flawless 12mm conical tooth from the same Turonian Upper South Bosque layer that I had forgotten about.  Also, there is another smaller tooth from the Basal Atco that might be of interest. Not the best pic of that one.  It would need to be carved out of the hard matrix.  It seems slightly flattened, but has striations. I am still looking for the (1) fossil. 

 

20210720_220437_copy_1600x930.jpg20210720_220747_copy_1600x998.jpg

20210720_215111_copy_1600x1289.jpg

 

Wow! The goodies just keep on coming with you, don't they? :o

This isn't the same tooth in all three photographs, though, is it? In any case, I'd say these teeth, especially the one in the last photograph, look distinctly more plioplatecarpine (the tooth in the first two photographs looks more mosasaurine, thus may be Clidastes again), which fits quite well with their Turonian age.

 

Astonishing finds again! :default_clap2:

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8 minutes ago, pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon said:

 

With what I now understand is a Turonian date, it seems more likely this tooth could've belonged to Clidastes sp., though I don't have any teeth to compare with and Clidastes is supposed to only have originated in the Coniacian. In any case, it's a closer match in time than Prognathodon, which is restricted to the Campanian and Maastrichtian.

 

Yeah, I skipped the chapter on Clidastes in Russell '67. I should probably go read that. :default_rofl: Thanks for the informative messages as always. Your ID is like a much closer match than mine. 

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On 7/17/2021 at 8:55 PM, LSCHNELLE said:

Attached are pictures of my collection of four isolated teeth from Travis County, Texas with limited identifications.  I am not an expert on pliosaurs, plesiosaurs, or mosasaurs.  I just know fairly accurately in which member of a specific formation I found these teeth.  All of these were located in or near a shell hash layer associated with oyster fragments, Ptychodus, or other regular shark's teeth.

 

(1) 10/2/2017 - Upper South Bosque - ~91 mya - first picture (as cleaned). 

20171002_160624.jpg

 

 

(2) 6/15/2018 - Lower Bouldin Flags - ~95 Mya - first picture (as found), second picture (display). 

20181028_172747.jpg

20181028_172707.jpg

 

 

(3) 10/28/2018 - Lower Bouldin Flags - ~95 Mya - first picture (as found), second picture (as cleaned).

20180615_161345.jpg

20180618_115411.jpg

 

 

(4) 7/16/2021 - Lower Bouldin Flags - ~95 Mya - first picture (as found), second picture (as cleaned and bonded).

20210716_124437_copy_1287x1637.jpg

20210716_210013_copy_2061x1192.jpg

Well, I found at least one more Pliosaur, Plesiosaur, Mosasaur Tooth and one other possible one. 

 

(5) 10/2/2017 - Upper South Bosque - Turonian - 12 mm long (nearly flawless) two pictures as cleaned. And, the last one (6?) from early Coniacian Basal Atco has striations but is a little flattened. 

20210720_220437_copy_1600x930.jpg

20210720_220747_copy_1600x998.jpg

20210720_215111_copy_1600x1289.jpg

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pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon
55 minutes ago, LSCHNELLE said:

Well, I found at least one more Pliosaur, Plesiosaur, Mosasaur Tooth and one other possible one. 

 

(5) 10/2/2017 - Upper South Bosque - Turonian - 12 mm long (nearly flawless) two pictures as cleaned. And, the last one (6?) from early Coniacian Basal Atco has striations but is a little flattened.

 

Both number 5 and 6 are mosasaurian in my opinion: the striae on 6 confirm to mosasaurian dental ornamentation, rather than plesiosaurian, whereas what's left of the root visible in the second photograph of 5 is consistent with a mosasaur tooth root (slight carination).

 

As already suggested above, I'd say 5 is a mosasaurine tooth - possibly something along the lines of Clidastes - whereas 6 looks plioplatecarpine to me...

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Thanks Alexander for your time!  I had tucked away those two smaller teeth. So, maybe three Cenomanian brachauchenine pliosaur teeth, two Late Turonian mosasaurine, and one early Coniacian plioplatecarpine tooth. 

 

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No. But, I've donated my squamata verts to him and I have his email address.  So, I could send him pics. 

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If you could prep and re-image that last tooth, it would be useful.

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Sadly :DOH: , the (1) tooth apparently got damaged near the root transition area while in transit back from a Fossil Show.  Oh well, here is a more recent shot of it from a different angle glued partly back together. It has always been only one half of the tooth preserved split along its length.  So, I can't get all the different angles because their only were a few available. 

20210721_162134.jpg

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16 minutes ago, LSCHNELLE said:

Sadly :DOH: , the (1) tooth apparently got damaged near the root transition area while in transit back from a Fossil Show.  Oh well, here is a more recent shot of it from a different angle glued partly back together. It has always been only one half of the tooth preserved split along its length.  So, I can't get all the different angles because their only were a few available.

 

Oh wow! That's such a shame! It looked so nice just sitting there on its matrix...! :(

 

Did the tip also break off, or is that just optical versus how I interpreted the first photograph?

 

Still, I guess these things happen...

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1 hour ago, pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon said:

 

Oh wow! That's such a shame! It looked so nice just sitting there on its matrix...! :(

 

Did the tip also break off, or is that just optical versus how I interpreted the first photograph?

 

Still, I guess these things happen...

I am not sure if the tip was ever completely there.  Maybe. It was an image taken from the best angle.  Basically, one half of the tooth appears to have been preserved originally with the tip slightly cut off at an angle.    Now, it just has one more missing part (a section at the root/crown interface).  Either lost due to impact or because it crumpled without a reinforcing bond coating. 

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