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Peace River fossil trip ID questions and recap


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Hello everyone, 

 

I would first like to preface my post with thanking three members who replied to many emails with advice and insight into my past week hunting the Peace River in Florida, @shellseeker (jack), @digit (ken), and @Sacha (john). A very big thanks to John for allowing me to join him on 2 separate days and honestly, really show me how to harvest fossils the correct way. I wouldn't have 3/4 of the fossils I collected without his assistance. That being said, I was able to find my first megs, some horse material, Scutes, tons of awesome hemis, and a few other odds and ends. There were a couple of pieces I wanted ask about on the forum. I'll start with what John and I leaned towards being whale teeth and go from there...note the striations.

 

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This second specimen may very well be a rock, but I couldn't toss it back due to the symmetry. No striations.

 

 

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The third is a flat piece. I don't know how else to really describe it. Same sort of striations on the bottom side.

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Last one I'm fairly sure is an armadillo scute but notice the pyramidal rise in the scute makes me wonder in this is from the outer part of the armor.

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By outer, I meant most posterior portion of the overall shell/armor

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Just some suggestions (mostly guesswork to be honest) on the ID's:

 

1st one: Looks like whale tooth to me too.

2nd one: Kinda resembles the thick part of a bony fish Cleithrum we sometimes find here. But yeah, might be a rock.

3rd one: Do you ever find mammoth stuff on that spot? Looks alot like a lammela from a mammoth molar.

 

4th and 5th no clue, but that scute is cool :)

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Tyler, the 2nd one is a tilly bone or a hyperostatic bone from a fish. The third is probably turtle. The last one looks familiar, but I can't find anything like it.

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Peace river rat

A pic of the edge of #3 would be interesting, I also suspect mammoth tooth, partial.

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Ya done great on your first time out to the Peace!

 

It's always more beneficial to have a guide to a new hunting area. You couldn't go wrong with John (sorry our schedules didn't mesh and I was out of country during your visit).

 

Whale teeth on your first visit is something special and I hope you appreciate that. The Holmesina osteoderm is in really good shape and that's another great find. I agree that your third flat piece with the ridged texture could possibly be a plate from a larger mammoth tooth. A picture from the edge so we can look for the telltale enamel would be a good way to confirm ID on this one. I think your last curious pieces may be endocasts of gastropod mollusk shells (called steinkerns).

 

Hope you had a great time on your trip and thanks for sharing.

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Harry Pristis

 

That osteoderm appears to me to be glyptothere rather than armadillo.

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Harry Pristis said:

 

That osteoderm appears to me to be glyptothere rather than armadillo.

 

 

As I understand it, glyptotheres are now considered part of armadillos, so both IDs are correct.

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Harry Pristis
1 hour ago, Carl said:

As I understand it, glyptotheres are now considered part of armadillos, so both IDs are correct.

 

Do you have a reference for this claim, Carl?  I know this was an early idea -- relationship to Dasypodidae -- but that didn't stand for very long.

 

 

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@Harry Pristis is right that the osteoderm does appear to be from a Glyptotherium and not Holmesina. Without noticing the usual tessellated "rosette" pattern my instinct was to think Holmesina. The glypto osteoderms around the edge of the "carapace" are more subtly peaked rather than flat and lack the tessellation.

 

As to the taxonomy, these are all part of an interesting superorder and order. The superorder Xenarthra includes many favorites (fossil and extant) including armadillos, sloths, and anteaters. Virtually all of the large (megafaunal) xenarthrans went away at the end of the Pleistocene. Within the Xenarthra are two orders, the Pilosa (hairy) and the Cingulata (armored). Within the Pilosa order are the two favorite families of giant ground sloths (Megatheriidae and Mylodontidae) that we are (when exceedingly lucky) able to find bits of in the Peace River (and other sites in Florida).

 

Now, within the order Cingulata we have (at present) three familiies: Pampatheriidae (the pampatheres), Dasypodidae (the long-nosed armadillos), and finally Chlamyphorida (containing the glyptodonts as well as some other species of armadillos). The Holmesina osteoderms we find occasionally in the Peace belong to the Pampatheriidae family. This family is totally extinct and evolved in South America before migrating north (Pampa is a Quechua word for "plain" where these beast likely roamed, and were first described). The Dasypodidae contains our most well known extant species the Nine-banded Armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus) like the one that frequently digs holes in my backyard looking for grubs and worms. This family also contains the very similar extinct species Dasypus bellus which has very small and delicate osteoderms that are often either overlooked or just do not fossilize well--I only have only 2 in my collection.

 

Then we are left with the last family and the source of the question above (I do take the long way around in my explanations). The family Chlamyphoridae was originally a separate group that contained the glyptodonts but recent DNA work has determined that a wide ranging collection of modern armadillos (basically all but those in the genus Dasypus) should be grouped together with the glyptodonts. So, for now, the family Chlamyphorida contains one subfamily (called Glyptodontinae) which contains all of the genera of glyptodonts--separated from (but included alongside) a number of other subfamilies and genera of modern armadillos. So glyptodons are currently regarded as an extinct group of large, heavily-armored armadillos but given their distinctiveness from modern day (tiny in comparison and less well armored) armadillos, it is probably best to refer to them as glyptodonts rather than as armadillos. I think of this as similar to how it is (usually) more useful to speak of ourselves and recent ancestors as (proto-)humans rather than "apes". The latter may be correct in more general terms but the former is more precise.

 

Time to step down and put my soapbox away for another day. I'm always willing to be corrected (part of the fun) but this is my current understanding of the superorder Xenarthra. I've studied it a bit since it contains so many of the much sought after fossils from the Peace River that make my day when I find them.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Harry Pristis

 

In short, here is the taxonomical organization at the moment:

 

Family CHLAMYPHORIDAE:  armadillos & glyptodonts

                               . . . 

            Subfamily GLYPTODONTINAE

                              Genus Glyptotherium

                               . . . 

Family DASYPODIDAE: long-nosed armadillos

                              Gen. Dasypus 

                               . . . 

Family PAMPATHERIDAE:  pampatheres   

                              Gen. Holmesina

                             . . . 

From this we can say that a chlamyphorid may be an armadillo

(but none we're familiar with in the USA fossil record) or a glyptodont. 

However, a chlamyphorid is NEITHER a pampathere NOR a dasypodid.

 

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Peace river rat
9 hours ago, digit said:

Ya done great on your first time out to the Peace!

 

It's always more beneficial to have a guide to a new hunting area. You couldn't go wrong with John (sorry our schedules didn't mesh and I was out of country during your visit).

 

Whale teeth on your first visit is something special and I hope you appreciate that. The Holmesina osteoderm is in really good shape and that's another great find. I agree that your third flat piece with the ridged texture could possibly be a plate from a larger mammoth tooth. A picture from the edge so we can look for the telltale enamel would be a good way to confirm ID on this one. I think your last curious pieces may be endocasts of gastropod mollusk shells (called steinkerns).

 

Hope you had a great time on your trip and thanks for sharing.

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

Truly so, in 2 years of LOTS of hunting ( keep in mind, I can ride my bike to the river in ten minutes) I have found as many as one finger, can count.

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Nice! The paper linked to in the above reference has some interesting techniques explained for recovering and assembling ancient (~10,000 year old) DNA.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Holy cow! Really appreciate the feedback from everyone. The whale teeth were definitely major highlight finds from me. I will be posting a shot of the other MAIN finds from my trip. What left me content was the fact I was able to gather at least one nice specimen of many different species/fossils, including 3 beautiful small megs (thanks again John). More pics to come.

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Nice examples of some of the neat critter remains from Florida. Good thread! congrats.  Regards, Chris 

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