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I was digging around in Sacha's wonderful Merritt Island matrix the other day and found this. First let me apologize for the fuzziness of some of the images. My curiosity over-road my patience. Because of the ball and socket, I'm thinking this is a salamander caudal vertebra? If that is correct, would this be a vertebra that would break in an effort to avoid predators? Or could this be where the tail grew back? Mind you, these are just guesses. Perhaps it's not even from a salamander. I will try to get better photos, but this little bugger is so small, I'm having a hard time getting clear images.

 

Thanks for your help!

 

@old bones, @MarcoSr 

Fused Vertebra.jpg

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Tidgy's Dad

I can't help with an id, but that's amazing! :)

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I think this is a lizard caudal vertebra and the thick whitish area is where the tail would break to avoid a predator. Here's an illustration from "Lizard tail regeneration: regulation of two distinct cartilage regions by Indian hedgehog".

lizard.JPG

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As Al Dente says, this is a lizard caudal vertebra designed to break. Great picture, Lori! These are so tiny and difficult to capture.

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Thanks a bunch to you both. I found this new paleo podcast (Common Descent) that I was listening to while picking through the matrix. They were discussing this type of caudal vertebra around the time that I found this. If not for that, I would have been totally baffled. I don't know why I was thinking salamander vs. lizard. Couple questions:

 

1. Since the example I found has color variations, do you think it is modern?

2. Does every caudal vertebrae in a single individual have the same fracture plane?

3. Julianna, photographing these little buggers is definitely a challenge. It looks like you fared better than I did. It was hard to tell from your photo. Did your example have a fracture plane as well? I thought I heard in the podcast that this fracture plane isn't as distinctive in older individuals. 

 

I never should have started looking through this matrix again - it is so addictive. I find myself wandering to the microscope at all hours of the day and night, only to walk away when I have red rings around my eyes.

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7 hours ago, GeschWhat said:

Thanks a bunch to you both. I found this new paleo podcast (Common Descent) that I was listening to while picking through the matrix. They were discussing this type of caudal vertebra around the time that I found this. If not for that, I would have been totally baffled. I don't know why I was thinking salamander vs. lizard. Couple questions:

 

1. Since the example I found has color variations, do you think it is modern?

2. Does every caudal vertebrae in a single individual have the same fracture plane?

3. Julianna, photographing these little buggers is definitely a challenge. It looks like you fared better than I did. It was hard to tell from your photo. Did your example have a fracture plane as well? I thought I heard in the podcast that this fracture plane isn't as distinctive in older individuals. 

 

I never should have started looking through this matrix again - it is so addictive. I find myself wandering to the microscope at all hours of the day and night, only to walk away when I have red rings around my eyes.

Lori, I don't think that the colour means anything in this case. I have plenty of bits from that matrix that are not solid black.

       From what I have learned, only a portion of the caudal verts have the fracture plane. I will see if I can dig up the PDF that I learned this from...

       Your photo illustrates the fracture plane much better than my black specimen does. On mine, the slight bump was the only dicernible clue.

 And it makes sense that the plane is not as prominent on older individuals. Cool, you can infer that your lizard was a young'n.

 

"I never should have started looking through this matrix again - it is so addictive"  Now you can understand why this project is taking me so long! LOL

 

Julianna

 

 

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Well the good news is that I got better photos. The bad news is I crushed the tiny little thing during the process. I guess I should have left well enough alone.  :doh!:

Fused Vertebra.jpg

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Well, they are designed to break! :(  (I've 'crunched' a few myself). At least you got excellent photos.

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Tidgy's Dad

Oh, what a shame. :(

We've all done it, can't resist a little bit more fiddling or prepping and wallop. :doh!:

But on the upside the photos are great. :)

 

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Just now, old bones said:

Well, they are designed to break! :(  (I've 'crunched' a few myself). At least you got excellent photos.

That's what I was telling myself when I did it. It really does give you a sick feeling. The first one I crunched was a little cotton rat tooth - luckily there were plenty of those in the matrix. I don't know if I'll be so lucky with this one. 

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29 minutes ago, GeschWhat said:

Well the good news is that I got better photos. The bad news is I crushed the tiny little thing during the process. I guess I should have left well enough alone.  :doh!:

Fused Vertebra.jpg

Hey Lori, where did you get the grid? 

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13 minutes ago, JohnBrewer said:

Hey Lori, where did you get the grid? 

I made a white grid pattern (see video). Then I scaled up the pattern and changed its opacity to 50% (see video) to match the scale bar. Once I had it the correct size, I turned off the scale marker graphic. It works pretty slick. 

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On 4/3/2018 at 3:49 PM, GeschWhat said:

Well the good news is that I got better photos. The bad news is I crushed the tiny little thing during the process. I guess I should have left well enough alone.  :doh!:

Fused Vertebra.jpg

 

Lori

 

Sorry I'm late to your post.  I've been busy puling lots of coprolites from Eocene matrix from Belgium and Morocco.  I hope to post some examples in a few days.

 

Great specimen and pictures.  I agree with the lizard caudal vertebra id. 

 

The salamander vertebrae that I see are socket and socket rather than ball and socket.  Reptiles like lizards and snakes have ball and socket.  See the picture below of a salamander trunk vertebra.

 

5ac53c6b0563b_Salamandervertebra1MiddlePitAreaL3mmW1mmH1_5mm.jpg.cd9dbe167f6a0529328ca9062fd1d8f3.jpg

 

Marco Sr.

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Thanks, @MarcoSr.  I look forward to seeing your coprolites! :D

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That is a really cool fossil.  As marco said, lizards are ball and socket, salamanders are socket and socket.  

Looks like you are taking the photos on the scanner?  (How else does one crush fossil by photographing them?) Maybe put something down on the scanner in four corners around the specimens that is bigger than the specimen so that the lid does NOT come to rest on the fossil.  Lego bricks for example. 

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39 minutes ago, jpc said:

That is a really cool fossil.  As marco said, lizards are ball and socket, salamanders are socket and socket.  

Looks like you are taking the photos on the scanner?  (How else does one crush fossil by photographing them?) Maybe put something down on the scanner in four corners around the specimens that is bigger than the specimen so that the lid does NOT come to rest on the fossil.  Lego bricks for example. 

:hearty-laugh:I wish I could use that for an excuse! I was taking them through my microscope with my cell phone. I broke it when I was removing it from the putty with the tweezers - just gripped a little too tight. So what connects the sockets with amphibian verts?

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cartilage, I imagine

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