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Unearthing a Mammoth Tooth | Black Water Diving


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My diving day was filled with technical difficulties. But after a frustrating morning I dove down to a fossil rich spot. I had to wait a bit to get back in due to tide changes, but this mammoth tooth was sitting right there for the taking!

 

 

 

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A big old Columbian Mammoth tooth is definitely a trip-maker any day!

 

Looking forward to seeing your further exploits. ;)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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:default_faint:That mammoth tooth is out of this world!!!  Congratulations!!!

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Great find! How about a few close-ups of that tooth please.

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Now that's a still life fit for any museum.

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6 hours ago, Ludwigia said:

Now that's a still life fit for any museum.

Agreed! :)

 

Many years back (even before I discovered this forum), I was shallow-water diving off the west coast of Florida near Venice, FL which is famous for shark teeth and other fossil material washed out of the Bone Valley Formation onto the shallow gulf waters of Florida. I was only in about 10 feet of water which makes for nice long dives. The shallow waters make for a bit of surge (side to side movements) which tends to make my wife Tammy a bit queasy so she decided to sit in the shade on the beach and read a book while she watched my dive flag move around on the surface as I swam about underneath looking for the outcrops of black gravel in the white sand. It was an enjoyable 2 hour dive plucking a few shark teeth here and there from the sandy bottom. I discovered that fanning the sand where I had found some surface teeth never seemed to reveal any additional prizes from the material below so I just randomly wandered the bottom harvesting shark teeth.

 

I remember doing this once on my birthday because that was the day that I found one of only two Great White Shark teeth from Florida. While looking for the scattered patches of black gravel that were producing teeth, I remember passing by an algae covered rock sitting out in the middle of the sand slightly buried. It looked like a chunk of old dead coral as it seemed to be somehow layered. I pulled up this oddity and rotated it around trying to make it fit my concept of a coral chunk but it somehow was not registering correctly. It was way too large to fit into my gallon zip-top baggie and what did I want with an algae-coated chunk of dead coral anyway? :DOH:

 

After my morning dive, we grabbed some lunch and went to get the tank refilled at the Florida West Scuba & Charters in Venice. This is the same shop that runs dive trips out to the offshore bone beds in deeper water during the appropriate season. Their shop is (as expected) filled as much with local fossil material as dive gear--it's almost more of a museum than a dive shop. ;) While waiting for them to jam my tank with 3000 psi of fresh air for a second dive, I wandered the store looking at the fossil eye candy. It was then that I spotted a large Colombian Mammoth tooth sitting in one of the display cases. That roughly rectangular shape--that ridged surface! It was not a chunk of old broken coral I was contemplating underwater--it was a complete mammoth tooth! Needless to say, I spent every last breath of that second tank performing a search pattern trying to relocate that algae encrusted tooth where I had set it back down on the sand in my naiveté. Since I had no idea where I was when I found it, I had no reference of where to start the search. Alas, though the beach had tried to give me a much grander birthday present than a GW tooth, I was too ignorant at the time (and only slightly less so these days :P) to properly identify "the one that got away". At least it still makes for a good story. It wasn't till many years later that I was able to redeem myself by finally claiming a mammoth of a find while out fossil hunting with a friend in the Peace River.

 

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/54684-more-may-mammoth-mania/

 

I've since dived for meg teeth out on the Meg Ledges of North Carolina with another fossil friend and enjoyed that experience. I have not yet tried blackwater diving for fossils and assumed that was only something that was done up in the rivers of the Carolinas. Maybe one day we'll meet up and you can introduce me to near zero visibility diving for teeth--I always enjoy new experiences. My wife would definitely sit that one out as the thought of it creeps her out. :wacko:

 

Looking forward to seeing more of your videos and your finds. Not a lot of fossil hunters doing these sort of collecting trips and I think the members are enjoying seeing the novelty of this kind of fossil hunting.

 

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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11 hours ago, digit said:

Agreed! :)

 

Many years back (even before I discovered this forum), I was shallow-water diving off the west coast of Florida near Venice, FL which is famous for shark teeth and other fossil material washed out of the Bone Valley Formation onto the shallow gulf waters of Florida. I was only in about 10 feet of water which makes for nice long dives. The shallow waters make for a bit of surge (side to side movements) which tends to make my wife Tammy a bit queasy so she decided to sit in the shade on the beach and read a book while she watched my dive flag move around on the surface as I swam about underneath looking for the outcrops of black gravel in the white sand. It was an enjoyable 2 hour dive plucking a few shark teeth here and there from the sandy bottom. I discovered that fanning the sand where I had found some surface teeth never seemed to reveal any additional prizes from the material below so I just randomly wandered the bottom harvesting shark teeth.

 

I remember doing this once on my birthday because that was the day that I found one of only two Great White Shark teeth from Florida. While looking for the scattered patches of black gravel that were producing teeth, I remember passing by an algae covered rock sitting out in the middle of the sand slightly buried. It looked like a chunk of old dead coral as it seemed to be somehow layered. I pulled up this oddity and rotated it around trying to make it fit my concept of a coral chunk but it somehow was not registering correctly. It was way too large to fit into my gallon zip-top baggie and what did I want with an algae-coated chunk of dead coral anyway? :DOH:

 

After my morning dive, we grabbed some lunch and went to get the tank refilled at the Florida West Scuba & Charters in Venice. This is the same shop that runs dive trips out to the offshore bone beds in deeper water during the appropriate season. Their shop is (as expected) filled as much with local fossil material as dive gear--it's almost more of a museum than a dive shop. ;) While waiting for them to jam my tank with 3000 psi of fresh air for a second dive, I wandered the store looking at the fossil eye candy. It was then that I spotted a large Colombian Mammoth tooth sitting in one of the display cases. That roughly rectangular shape--that ridged surface! It was not a chunk of old broken coral I was contemplating underwater--it was a complete mammoth tooth! Needless to say, I spent every last breath of that second tank performing a search pattern trying to relocate that algae encrusted tooth where I had set it back down on the sand in my naiveté. Since I had no idea where I was when I found it, I had no reference of where to start the search. Alas, though the beach had tried to give me a much grander birthday present than a GW tooth, I was too ignorant at the time (and only slightly less so these days :P) to properly identify "the one that got away". At least it still makes for a good story. It wasn't till many years later that I was able to redeem myself by finally claiming a mammoth of a find while out fossil hunting with a friend in the Peace River.

 

http://www.thefossilforum.com/index.php?/topic/54684-more-may-mammoth-mania/

 

I've since dived for meg teeth out on the Meg Ledges of North Carolina with another fossil friend and enjoyed that experience. I have not yet tried blackwater diving for fossils and assumed that was only something that was done up in the rivers of the Carolinas. Maybe one day we'll meet up and you can introduce me to near zero visibility diving for teeth--I always enjoy new experiences. My wife would definitely sit that one out as the thought of it creeps her out. :wacko:

 

Looking forward to seeing more of your videos and your finds. Not a lot of fossil hunters doing these sort of collecting trips and I think the members are enjoying seeing the novelty of this kind of fossil hunting.

 

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

Ken,

 

That's a great story! Too many people wouldn't share it. But it's a valuable lesson. And that tooth you found in the river certainly redeemed you!

 

My first mammoth tooth was nearly the same. I thought it was just a rock and even put it down a couple times with the intention of leaving it. I kept coming back for it (luckily still there) because I didn't want to wonder "what if?".

 

I actually moved from the area, so blackwater diving videos will slim out for the time being. I'll be diving Venice for the next few months and then moving onto the Peace and others once the water level comes down a bit. But in any case, I'm certainly up for diving or digging with you!

 

This is the video from that first tooth. Notably absent is the clip of me grabbing the tooth, since I really didn't think it was anything or worth recording.

 

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19 hours ago, Ludwigia said:

Now that's a still life fit for any museum.

Thank you! I feel extremely fortunate to have found so many nice pieces so quickly. I try to do them justice through photography. 

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