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...at least for me for this season.

 

I'll be out of the country over the next two weekends and then off to Greece on vacation for most of June so I'll likely not get another chance at hunting the Peace River this season unless something really unusual happens with the weather. I expect rainy season to have started by the time I'm back from Greece and the Peace will likely be several feet higher that it is at the moment. Currently, the Peace is as low as I've seen it this season. During a heavy drought several years back I've seen the Peace about a foot lower than it is now which made for a long trip from Brownville to Arcadia with a lot of time out of the canoe pushing it over shallow sandy areas. Yesterday, we had to get out a number of times and that combined with the headwind we fought all the way back to Arcadia meant we had to allocate more travel time which left less time for digging and sifting.

 

On the (Canoe Outpost) bus ride up from Arcadia to Brownville we spotted a couple sitting the seat in front of us who looked to be new to fossil hunting on the Peace. They had loaner sifting screens and a shovel from Canoe Outpost and I figured we might help introduce them to a fun (and addicting) passtime. We hadn't planned on spending much time at the large (well-known and hard-hit) gravel bed just downstream from Brownville but changed our plans to help Mike and Samantha (if I haven't misremembered their names by now--names, not my strong suit). After a brief stop before the main gravel bed we stopped at another area with very chunky gravel that is even closer to the boat ramp at Brownville. This area is well within walking distance from Brownville Park and I suspect it gets hit hard by walk-ins. Lots of gravel to be found at that spot but it wasn't even giving up small shark teeth so we soon moved down to the primary gravel bed near Brownville.

 

I gave some tips and pointers on how to hunt the area and let them use our larger sifting screen with 1/4" mesh while we poked around with the 1/"2 mesh sifter trying to find an area that was producing fossils. The gravel bed at this location is virtually from bank to bank and runs for somewhere between 100-150 feet so it is not a tiny area. Even though it is large it is by no means cryptic and it attracts lots of attention. Evidence of holes and piles litter the bottom here (till they are erased like a big Etch-a-sketch each summer during flood stage). The big trick to hunting this site is to find some place where you are not digging through someone's spoils. Prospecting lots of sites in this location till you hit an area that is producing some nice finds is the best way (IMHO) of working this location. We poked around without much luck till we found an area that my probe told me had some gravel under a topping of sand. Within a few minutes digging there I pulled out a rather large chunk of giant tortoise (Hesperotestudo) carapace that should have been identified and kept by any previous hunters. This made me feel more certain about spending more effort in this spot. Before long we were pulling out some larger shark teeth (and fraglodons) as well as a few other things like gator teeth and mammoth and mastodon tooth fragments. Every so often I'd bring over some donated finds to our new "students" so they could start to understand the diversity of finds that can be pulled from the Peace.

 

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I continued to dig in the spot we finally landed on as it was giving up a variety of small prizes which were useful in demonstrating the types of things to look for in the Peace. Shark teeth are relatively easy to find and identify but more obscure fossils require obtaining a search image to be able to spot effectively. Shortly after I had shown the river's two newest fossil hunters a small piece of mammoth tooth we pulled something interesting out of our sifting screen. Tammy got to it first (she works the sifter while I man the shovel). Initially, she thought it was an odd piece of turtle shell (a good assumption as the Peace has lots of varied pieces of turtle and tortoise carapace). She had picked it up and was holding it sideways. I took it from her to look closer and upon rotating it saw the occlusal surface. "Horse tooth," I said instantly seeing the crenulated enamel ridges on the top of the tooth. But something was odd about it--it just didn't look right. Lower horse teeth are more narrow and elongated (better to fit into the narrow lower jawbone) while upper horse molars are more squarish. This piece wasn't quite square nor was it as elongated as a lower tooth should be. It was the right size for an Equus molar but the square peg just wasn't fitting into the round hole. Finally, the penny dropped and I excitedly understood why this horse molar looked so odd--it wasn't equine at all! It was mammoth--BABY mammoth!

 

I went over to show this new find to our fossil partners do jour and while I was explaining to them how you could tell it was mammoth (by the very characteristic bands and loops of enamel sandwiched together with layers of cementum) Tammy came over and said, "Guess what I found?" I hadn't a clue--the Peace can give up a wide variety of items. She held out in her hand another chunk of baby mammoth tooth--one entire loop of enamel. It only took a few seconds to verify that this piece fit neatly into the chunk we had just found--the tooth was growing! You can be sure we dug around in that spot for another hour or more but never found another scrap of this tiny tooth. Likely it had previously fragmented on its path from where it was eroded out of the river bank to the spot we recovered it. The two pieces had probably recently separated but didn't make it far from each other--they may have even separated just with the agitation of shaking the sand out of the sifting screen. I'm glad we were able to reunite this pieces. Still, by no means a complete baby mammoth molar but a good size chunk and my trip-maker for the day. I had originally planned on skipping past this location and prospecting some other gravel spots we have hunted in the past but haven't tried for several years. I'm glad the decision to instruct some newbie fossil hunters paid off so quickly with fossil Karma. :)

 

P5062339.jpg.1dc0366bcdac2e49d1fd9619c495d055.jpg    P5062341.jpg.5e23cf08a3c2dd16300778b49d610b64.jpg    P5062343.jpg.12c31e714ad0cb896cfa50f0914e154b.jpg

 

Before too long our new acquaintances headed off down river and we soon gave up our search for any more of this molar and continued down as well. On the way down we spotted a large gator in the same spot as we saw one when we were there last time. It looked to be about the same size (9-10 foot) and I suspect it was the same individual in its current favorite sunning spot.

 

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We prospected a bit here and there but had spend so much time near Brownville that we wanted to make it down to our favorite spot near Oak Hill. We stopped again at this location to hunt for a bit because it has chunky gravel and sometimes gives up nice prizes. Mostly, it's just big chunks of matrix with lots of dugong rib bones and very few shark teeth but this is the same spot that gave up two nice gator osteoderms last time out. The water is quite low without much current at the moment. If fact, the wind that was blowing steadily from the south was actually pushing my sifting screen upstream. You can see from the photos below that the water is also quite cloudy as there is a major algae bloom going on presently. This is making the normally tea-colored clear river water quite opaque and greenish. Vertical visibility is less than a foot. This lack of clarity is not impacting fossil hunting too much but it makes the paddling downstream more difficult as it is making the sand bars and deeper water channels more difficult to discern. Hidden logs below the surface are also more difficult to see making for more dangerous navigation. We had to think more while traveling but since we know this stretch of the river pretty well we didn't have major difficulties.

 

Here I am enjoying the Peace for my final trip of the season.

 

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This second stop of the day didn't give up any large prizes but did produce a nice diversity of items. The second find of the day was this tiny jaw with several molars in place. It looks to be something from the a rodent or lagomorph but I'll need to spend more time getting an ID on this.

 

P5062348.jpg.ab0afda7dd2125e516dc9501a7141528.jpg

 

 

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Here are the day's two most interesting finds photographed back at home.

 

First the baby mammoth with the separated enamel plate glued back to the rest of the tooth.

 

P5072372.thumb.jpg.f3ee90147e2ed1933d1267f4354f188e.jpg    P5072375.thumb.jpg.7caa53a5062d31b1e4ee3d49f33f1cd5.jpg

 

And the little jaw bone with molars. At first I thought this might be another Florida Water Rat aka Round-tailed Muskrat (Neofibrini alleni) as I had found one of those earlier in the season and had it identified by Dr. Hulbert. When I pulled out that find and compared it to the new item I could see they were not even similar. I'll probably show this new one to Dr. Hulbert to see what he thinks of it.

 

P5072388.jpg.ef4b7624b62fb7d8c5312db287cc0499.jpg    P5072389.jpg.e863df080c8733826279a0773aa7837f.jpg    P5072393.jpg.43da591deaad62f7802d1f4ddc6fac27.jpg

 

P5072390.jpg.e3cdb9a8f8933ad2b073ea879d791152.jpg

 

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Here is a gallery of some of the other finds of the day showing some of the diversity of the Peace River (with shark teeth excluded). The large section of the giant tortoise (Hesperotestudo) carapace, a nice base of deer antler, a Holmesina osteoderm, and a nicely textured edge piece from a large turtle/tortoise.

 

P5072383.jpg.9019cb816cb77e9bd90a16fd0b634c5b.jpg    P5072354.jpg.65d81fdba06fc161f0a562bc14ee3e3b.jpg

 

P5072360.jpg.81f8279f30a43ae04e7d8fa6d88510dd.jpg   P5072370.jpg.f537824637ff9817571314e9732cacdb.jpg

 

Also managed to find a nice lower Equus molar as well a a much less common and much older 3-toed horse molar. The smaller 3-toed tooth is easily identifiable by the separate loop of enamel towards the bottom (as oriented in the photo) of the tooth. This may be another Pseudhipparion skinneri and I'll have to compare it to the ones earlier identified by Dr. Hulbert. He wrote the paper describing this species back in 1986 and, as such, knows just a little bit out this. :P

 

P5072361.jpg.84698713f6e80a2eed8de33b44aa2527.jpg

 

Also, found some more hose-nose molar fragments. Proboscidean teeth seem to be quite fragile as there are a whole lot more fragments than larger pieces found in the Peace. First a plate from a larger mammoth tooth showing some really nice texture and coloration. Then a small fragment of a mastodon molar showing the edge of a well-worn occlusal surface. Still on the bucket list--a reasonably intact mastodon molar.

 

P5072355.jpg.a6b4f630533e603df8eb341868d5e9d6.jpg    P5072357.jpg.c0f4437c78aae6478d5dbafe5014f533.jpg

 

P5072358.jpg.ad5e124b968bae0b30cb8ec51fd8d9f5.jpg    P5072359.jpg.812dce8dff93b06c803b9c9b61542588.jpg

 

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Great finds! Nice report and pictures!

Have fun in Greece.

Tony

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And now a couple of odds and ends from the day's finds.

 

I find lots of whale tympanic bullae but for some reason don't come across the periotic bones as often. Possibly, they more closely resemble odd shaped pieces of phosphate matrix and are more easily overlooked. I wasn't too sure about this one when I found it but kept it anyway for later identification. Pretty sure this matches up with a worn periotic but I'm sure @Boesse could make a positive ID.

 

P5072382.jpg.3bc8104de71da380f99050700171227d.jpg    P5072381.jpg.9b8360baa527e4b65cd8394db58e0f68.jpg

 

The other odd little piece seems to be the articulating and of a deer metapodial. Interesting shape that stands out from the gravel in the sifter but as it is far from a complete bone it will likely end up in my Peace River give-away gift bag.

 

P5072376.jpg.4cc60517266e254c2cebd52af11aafcd.jpg    P5072378.jpg.ceb87869a0eef57de8dca3415e71172e.jpg

 

The next tiny fragment I originally thought might be from the elusive Giant Beaver (Castoroides) molar that I've been hoping to find some day. Comparison to images online seems to indicate that this might instead be a tiny piece of molar from the Giant Capybara. Still an interesting find though a whole tooth remains on my bucket list.

 

P5072365.jpg.c9f84729212a7b41cc1d46cdb24073b8.jpg    P5072367.jpg.8a7163705227b3eaea05d3d6c27df59f.jpg

 

P5072362.jpg.1db7bb5d531a7a04ae73356ce274cf35.jpg

 

I think this last bone fragment might possibly be big enough to be part of one of the longer bones from something like a mammoth/mastodon. Though I guess I couldn't rule out something less common like sloth or even whale? I don't know that a bone fragment like this can even be identified to any extent. This came up in the sifter and splintered into several pieces and I had a little fun with a paleo-puzzle while I glued this back together this morning. I have no idea what I'll do with this but I thought I'd at least keep it long enough to photograph for your amusement.

 

P5072384.jpg.cf9051cd5ae7c73f332762cabe751d88.jpg    P5072385.jpg.124a57f6f1765bd781d2516872f8ccba.jpg    P5072386.jpg.ee8acddeac91151ae5700a380505e01c.jpg

 

Hope you enjoyed this little trip report. Until the Peace River season starts up again at the very end of this year I'll be amusing myself with other fossil hunting locations and will be bringing along my camera so I can illustrate my wordy reports.

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

 

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Great story and nice finds Ken:fistbump:  Very nice that you were able to help some folks new to hunting as well, I swear the karma from helping others out puts good stuff in my sifter with some regularity lol.I think you may be correct with a beaver tooth as well, I have one partial  capybara tooth but the plates are a lot closer than yours look:)

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I've sent off images of that small frag to Dr. Hulbert. Don't know if there is enough there to pronounce any identification with any confidence. I'll see what he says and relay that here.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Darktooth

Great report and pics! Thanks for sharing this! You scored some nice finds, and kudos for helping out the newbs!

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Hey Ken. Glad to see you could make it out for one more hunt. It looks like the Peace was good to you. You got some really cool finds. The little jaws are awesome! I hope you and Tammy have a great time in Greece. 

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Shellseeker
1 hour ago, digit said:

I've sent off images of that small frag to Dr. Hulbert. Don't know if there is enough there to pronounce any identification with any confidence. I'll see what he says and relay that here.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

Ken, Enjoy your travels -- You might check this thread o n the small mammal jaw.

Thanks for the great Trip report -- Even in these conditions,  The River is producing lots of fossils in lots of locations.  As e have discussed , my back would be screaming if I tried your methods of hunting, but with such low water, I am not sure that we have choices,

 

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So you are getting a lagomorph (rabbit) vibe from this as well? Hard to find good matching imagery on the internet. Hoping Dr. Hulbert is not too busy and has a chance to comment on this soon.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Fossildude19

Thanks for the great report and pics, Ken. 

Glad you found some neat stuff on the last trip for a while. 

Regards, 

 

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I see a rabbit in that little jaw.  Looks very much like Paleolagus we get in the White River Fm.  

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I was open to lagomorph as well after seeing Jack's find from a few years back (echoed above). When I first found it on the river I went back to the experience of what I'd pulled out of the river in the past and considered vole, cotton rat or muskrat. When I got home and compared it to the muskrat I'd found earlier in the year I realized I had to be thinking larger.

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

Bunny.jpg.7d26ca45d98154275987219785950c10.jpg

 

P.S.: I've been to the Tomnadashan copper mine in Scotland where they filmed the famous "bunny scene". https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_of_Caerbannog

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Calvin Jenkins

Love the baby mammoth tooth find (& story).  What fossils are you hunting in Greece?

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"Argh, and it's got fangies this big"

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1 hour ago, Calvin Jenkins said:

What fossils are you hunting in Greece?

 

None. I expect Greece with all of its antiquities is likely to take a dim view of anybody carting anything away. I've got a friend who has been to Greece many times and one day while we were eating at a Greek restaurant he asked us if we'd been to Greece yet. We said it was on our bucket list but we just haven't gotten to it yet. My wife is retiring this year (more time to play) and so we decided to plan a "Highlights of Greece" trip with our friend Paul as tour guide. We won't see everything buy will get a good enough sample of the sights to last us for a while. We'll be visiting Athens, Crete, Santorini, then down the Peloponnese Peninsula to see Corinth, Mycenae, Epidaurus, Nafplio, Monemvasia, and Olympia then on to Delphi before leaving from Athens.

 

53 minutes ago, ynot said:

"Argh, and it's got fangies this big"

 

Tim: Follow. But! Follow only if ye be men of valor! For the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel, that no man yet has fought with it... and lived! BONES of full fifty men lie *strewn* about its lair! So! Brave knights! If you do doubt your courage or your strength, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth...

 

(and later)

 

Tim: There he is!
King Arthur: Where?
Tim: There!
King Arthur: What? Behind the rabbit?
Tim: It *is* the rabbit!
King Arthur: You silly sod!
Tim: What?
King Arthur: You got us all worked up!
Tim: Well, that's no ordinary rabbit.
King Arthur: Ohh.
Tim: That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!
Sir Robin: You t@t! I soiled my armor I was so scared!
Tim: Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!
Sir Galahad: Get stuffed!
Tim: He'll do you up a treat, mate.
Sir Galahad: Oh, yeah?
Sir Robin: You manky Scots git!
Tim: I'm warning you!
Sir Robin: What's he do? Nibble your bum?
Tim: He's got huge, sharp... er... He can leap about. Look at the bones!
King Arthur: Go on, Bors. Chop his head off!
Sir Bors: Right! Silly little bleeder. One rabbit stew comin' right up!

    [after Bors is killed by the killer rabbit]
Tim: I *warned* you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you *knew*, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little *bunny*, isn't it?

 

And the moral of the story is always beware of bunnies guarding caves. Speaking of homicidal hares I got word back from Dr. Hulbert. The jaw is indeed lagomorph (rabbit). The Miocene 3-toed horse tooth is, as I suspected, an upper premolar from Pseudhipparion skinneri. There was enough of the small fragment of rodent tooth for Dr. Hulbert to conclude that it was capybara and not beaver. The quest continues for a better specimen of either of these unusual oversized rodents.

 

EDIT: Dr. Hulbert later replied that Giant Beaver (Castoroides leiseyorum) is pretty rare in South Florida and a bit more common in the northern part of the state so it would take a lot of effort (or luck) to find a specimen in the Peace.

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

 

 

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On 5/7/2017 at 7:04 PM, digit said:

And now a couple of odds and ends from the day's finds.

 

I find lots of whale tympanic bullae but for some reason don't come across the periotic bones as often. Possibly, they more closely resemble odd shaped pieces of phosphate matrix and are more easily overlooked. I wasn't too sure about this one when I found it but kept it anyway for later identification. Pretty sure this matches up with a worn periotic but I'm sure @Boesse could make a positive ID.

 

P5072382.jpg.3bc8104de71da380f99050700171227d.jpg    P5072381.jpg.9b8360baa527e4b65cd8394db58e0f68.jpg

 

 

Nice periotic! I'm not quite sure who this belongs to but it has numerous similarities with delphinid dolphins. If Miocene in age it may be a late surviving kentriodontid, or an early occurrence of a delphinid.

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It's the Peace River so anything from late Miocene through Pleistocene is possible in the jumble that comes up in each sifting screen. This is evidenced by finds ranging from Pseudhipparion skinneri to Equus sp. I tend to find lots of extremely worn cetacean tympanic bullae and occasionally a jaw fragment from the Long-beaked Dolphin but periotics are less common (for me). Either they are a bit more fragile and break apart into unrecognizable fragments or their intact lumpy and irregular shape helps them camouflage well with the other pieces of phosphatic gravel. I'm glad my search image for periotics is still functioning--I get to use it so infrequently. Whether delphinid or kentriodontid in taxonomic placement I guess I'm safe calling this a "dolphin inner ear bone" to those I show this fossil. Though not taxonomically correct, I use "dolphin" when describing smaller whale finds and "whale" for larger items like sizeable vertebrae.

 

Thanks for weighing in on this--it's nice to be able to go to a trustworthy source (and TFF is populated with many such sources from which my knowledge grows ever so incrementally). :)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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michele 1937

If you go to Milan Italy, I'm expecting you.
Hello Michele

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My wife and I have often talked about making an "eating tour" of Italy making sure places like Modena, Parma, Umbria, Tuscany, Cambania, etc. Possibly, we need to schedule this in 2018 (we've run out of room in 2017). Are there interesting fossil localities to visit in Italy as well? I don't know if there are issues with exporting fossils from Italy but it would be fun to hunt for them even if we had to leave them behind and only take back photos.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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michele 1937

ITALY and rich in fossil deposits.
Export is forbidden.
Fossiliferous locations
Bolca, Besano, Astigiano, Pietraroia, etc.

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Hey Ken, nice finds, I especially like the mammoth tooth. I'm crazy but the dang innocuous turtle stuff still intrigues me..I've got quite a few turtle chunks that cause my head to be scratched... Europe sounds really great! Have a safe trip! Regards, Chris 

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a fantastic recap thanks for sharing Ken! wish we got out there when i was vacationing in Florida, but theres always next year.

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Peace river rat

That large, hard hit gravel bed downstream from Brownville, yielded up two very nice mammoth plates and a whale vert for me yesterday (see thread "peace river") in hunting trips. The mammoth was laying on the surface! The whale vert was half exposed, both on a dry bed! I could scarce believe it!

 

Never discount an area! Nice finds!

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