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Help with ID of fossil found on Florida beach


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Was wondering if someone could help me correctly identify this fossil.  This was found on a beach in Destin, FL this summer and appears to be maybe an eel or serpent like creature, it measures ~2 5/8" long and ~1" wide and tried to picture best I could.  Any help would be appreciated and can send more pictures but could only post one due to size constraints.  Thank you very much for your time!

 

 

IMG_0270.JPG

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Welcome to TFF!

It looks like a fish skull plate. 

Pictures of the back and sides would help.

Tony

  • I found this Informative 1
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Agreed on Prionotus (sea robin) - I just picked up a nice one from Folly Beach SC yesterday (Plio-Pleistocene).

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History Hunter02

Definitely a sea robin/ other fish species.  Is it fully fossilized?

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If unclear about the state of fossilization, try a flame test - bone with collagen remaining will strongly stink like burning hair if you momentarily hold a flame to it; if there's no collagen, it will just smell like the match or lighter. One caveat is that collagen can remain in bone for a long period of time, including Pleistocene fossils.

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Uncle Siphuncle

I like to supplement the flame test with a "sound check", since my olfactory is out of calibration, and I tend to smell "stream stink" no matter what age of bone I burn.  I tap on suspected fossil bones with a rock, screwdriver, or something hard, then note the resulting tone.  I tend to equate a dull thud with collagen laden, recent bone.  A glassy ring makes me smile.  This is not very scientific as described, but is one non destructive test I employ at times to help me decide whether a Bos/Bison bone, for instance, goes home with me, or finds a trajectory terminating above terrace level.  Note:  This test is probably more reliable with thoroughly dried specimens.

 

If the scales of field judgment are leaning toward recent, but I want further confirmation, destructive testing comes into play next.  I'll often attempt to snap a low confidence "fossil" bone in half in my hands or across a rock.  The way "the cookie crumbles" tells me what I need to know.  If it bends before it breaks, I equate this with collagen = too recent for my interests.  If you see just a surface river stain with bone white wall, this also lines up with recent bone.  Brittle or crumbly fracture raises my eyebrows, especially when funky colors are evident permeating the bone wall.  Couple this with mineral deposits inside the marrow cavity and you'll see me reaching for the superglue and hoping I have all the pieces.  

 

My point is that I can't always age a bone from outward appearances alone.  I've never seen the techniques noted above in print, so they are simply my own real world observations, and you are free to take them with a grain of salt.

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