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Mammoth Fest Destiny: An Itinerant Texan's Perusal of Florida Fossil Resources


Uncle Siphuncle

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Uncle Siphuncle

Years ago my wife and I hunted the Arner Ranch in NE for Oligocene vert material.  The trip was led by Frank Garcia, and a number of collectors that came with him were from FL.  I cultivated some new friendships on that trip, and one was a gentleman named Rob.  Having collected previously with some of the same guys, Rob and I became fast friends.  Last year I guided/pointed Rob around Texas for 2 weeks.  His trip was well timed in the aftermath of massive statewide flooding, and he went home with huge amounts of varied material.  His truck was literally sagging in the rear end on the way home.

 

One hand washes the other in this business.  My trip to FL was perfectly timed to capitalize on seasonally dry conditions, leave Valentine's Day alone, and beat the crush of Spring Break.  The last week of Feb resulted in optimal conditions.  I drove not only to haul finds home, but also to deliver ammonites to my hosts without the hassle of airlines.  

 

Anyway, Rob has some honey holes on the Peace River, and we hit several.  The first put us on a collision course with varied Pleistocene material, including mammoth.  A sampling is shown below.  We grabbed busted Megs, and good examples of Hemipristis, mako, bull, sand tiger, tiger, and lemon sharks, glyptodont, Holmesina, llama, horse, turtle, whale, gator etc.

Qt Dan 4 Site 838 022617 - Copy.JPG

Qt Rob Carlson 4 Site 838 022617 - Copy.jpg

Qt Mammoth Teeth Vert Whale Vert Site 838 022617 - Copy.jpg

Qt Mammoth Tooth Site 838 022617.JPG

Qt Pufferfish Mouth Plate 1b Site 838 022617.JPG

Qt Aetobatis Barb Rob Carlson Site 838 022617.jpg

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Uncle Siphuncle

We detoured a bit for Pliocene echinoids to round out our first day.  I believe the cassiduloids we found were Cassidulus evergladensis (possibly reassigned).  The regular echinoids present were Lytechinus, I believe.  All brought welcome variety.

Pta Cassidulus evergladensis Volutamorpha Site 837 0217.JPG

Pta Cassidulus evergladensis 1a Site 837 0217.JPG

Pta Cassidulus evergladensis 2a Site 837 0217.JPG

Pta Lytechinus 1a Site 837 0217.JPG

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Uncle Siphuncle

All that digging with feet the first day was hard work as fluidized sand constantly backfilled the holes we dug in the river bottom to get to the gravel.  We switched gears and hunted Eocene and Oligocene echinoids on our second day.

 

First, Eocene, dominated by Eutapagus antillarum (some discussion currently regarding validity of that assignment).

Eol Eutapagus antillarum 5a Site 840 022717.JPG

Eol Eutapagus antillarum 7a Site 840 022717.JPG

Eol Eutapagus antillarum 8a Site 840 022717.JPG

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Uncle Siphuncle

I didn't need all those echs, nor feel like cleaning them all, so I just prepped the easiest ones and earmarked the rest for buddies back in TX.  

 

Next we stepped into the Oligocene, and got a few Rhyncholampas gouldi echs.

Osl Rhyncholampas gouldi 1a Site 842 022817.JPG

Osl Rhyncholampas gouldi 1b Site 842 022817.JPG

Osl Rhyncholampas gouldi 2a.JPG

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Uncle Siphuncle

After a day of respite for the legs, we headed back to the Peace on our third day.  Different stretch, different bunch of finds.  I've shown a few below.  The meg was cool, but Rob's baby mammoth tooth and eagle claw were killer finds.

Qt Carcharocles megalodon Rob Carlson 1b Site 839 022817 - Copy.JPG

Qt Juvie Mammoth Tooth Eagle Claw Rob Carlson Site 839 022817.JPG

Qt Juvie Mammoth Tooth Rob Carlson 1a Site 839 022817.PNG

Qt Carcharocles megalodon Rob Carlson 1c Site 839 022817 - Copy.JPG

Qt Meg Sand Tiger Snaggletooth Bull Shark Teeth Sites 838 839 0217.JPG

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Wow- now those are some really nice finds- thanks for sharing.

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Uncle Siphuncle

I had a great time with Rob, and it was a full workout.  Traveling to collect is fun not just for variety of finds not present back home, but observing equipment and techniques is fun too.  Sometimes you pick up knowledge that applies well back home.  

 

One such takeaway was canned octopus for lightweight protein in the backpack without the stench of sardines.  

 

Another takeaway was a pile of unprepped gift echinoids from Rob.  I've shown a few below.  Amblipygus, Macropneustes, Clypeaster and Rhyncholampas(?) all came home for prep.

Amblipygus.JPG

Clypeaster 1a.JPG

Clypeaster 2a.JPG

DSCF4320.JPG

DSCF4328.JPG

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Awesome finds Dan:fistbump: 

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Uncle Siphuncle

As much as I knew I'd miss my time with Rob, I was excited to finally meet someone I've jawed about fossils with for many years...our own Root Administrator, Cris.  I kicked things off by offloading a little bit of Texas Cretaceous his direction.  Then he opened the flood gates of Florida's fossil riches for me...and I must admit, it was an embarrassment of riches.  Good gator material, my first Holmesina claw core, first peccary hoof core, glyptodont osteoderms, rare Pachyarmatherium (small, rare armadillo) osteoderm etc.

 

Qt Glyptotherium Holmesina Daspyus Sites 838 839 841 02-0317.JPG

Qt Holmesina septentrionalis Claw Core 1a Site 841 030117.JPG

Qt Holmesina septentrionalis Claw Core 1b Site 841 030117.JPG

Qt Holmesina septentrionalis Claw Core 1c Site 841 030117.JPG

Qt Platygonus compressus or Mylohyus nastatus Hoof Core 1a Site 841 030117.JPG

Qt Platygonus compressus or Mylohyus nastatus Hoof Core 1b Site 841 030117.JPG

Qt Alligator mississippiensis Osteoderm Tooth Site 841 030117.JPG

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Uncle Siphuncle

Even the turtle material was impressive at this site.  I shoveled up several nice Hesperotestudo leg spurs and my first turtle jaw among other things, like my first decent tapir teeth.  Lots of things crossed off the Pleistocene faunal list on this day with Cris.

Qt Hesperotestudo Spur Site 838 022617 Turtle Mandible Site 841 030117.JPG

Qt Tapirus veroensis Incisor Upper and Lower Molar Enamel Caps Site 841 030117.JPG

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Uncle Siphuncle

Cris was not on skilled in guiding the uninitiated to a cornucopia of quality vertebrate fossils, but he is a fun guy to hang around with as well.  He is available for hire, his day rates are quite reasonable, and I would not hesitate to hire him again.  His time, expertise, equipment and sites are well worth it.  (He didn't put me up to this plug...he really provides an excellent hunt)

 

Once home, I put together a couple Riker mounts to organize the smalls from the trip.  These Rikers are a combination of finds with both Rob and Cris.  Whenever I whip out these frames for a look, I admire not just the finds, but the reinforced friendships with a couple very cool guys.

Qt Bones Teeth 1a Sites 838 839 841 0217.JPG

Qt Bones Teeth 1b Sites 838 839 841 0217.JPG

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fossilized6s

You're going to need a bigger house, Dan. Nice trip/s report, sounds like a blast!

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Awesome finds.  And I liked the title of your post.  Sounds like a good book title.

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Nice report, finds and story!!

Thanks for sharing.

Tony

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Dan, you always manage to come up with the greatest stuff no matter where you go. That ray barb alone is impressive to say the least!

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Hi,

 

Very nice finds and a great trip !

 

Coco

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Ahhhhhh...it's just a bunch of old dead stuff!  I think you should box up those Riker mounts (with their contents, of course) and send them to me before all of those corpses and partial corpses start to decompose and smell up your house!  I have a place where I can dispose of them safely!  :ighappy:

 

-Joe

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Wow very nice! I also spent a day with Cris recently and agree with everything you said. 

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You've seen and hunted Florida fossils better than most who live here. Impressive echinoids (I'd expect nothing less from you) and some really envious vertebrate material. I have to confess that the ray barb is what actually caused my jaw to hit the floor. I've found hundreds of small fragments of barbs over the years but none even remotely complete--that specimen is a stunner!

 

Your trip report is proof positive that going out with local TFF members is a great way to be introduced to a new area far from home. I try whenever possible to learn about fossils from other areas that I might travel and the social network provided by TFF can really make out-of-state fossil hunting a great experience. I can see why you drove as I'm sure you gave your shocks and springs a workout for the trip back home.

 

Fascinating view of the fossil resources of my own state--it motivates me to want to explore what I have (relatively) nearby even more.

 

Thanks for taking us along on this trip--don't worry about that puddle of drool next to my keyboard, I'll clean it up. :drool:

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Shellseeker

Fantastic trip and finds!!! Like digit I drool over the ray spine.  After 10 years of successfully hunting the Peace River I have exactly 1 whole one.

Great trip with great friends... Life is good!!

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Congrats on your Florida expeditions. Those echs are just amazing.  Are they from a northern Florida river? I've only managed to find them in Citrus county myself.  

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