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Few Finds From Capitola Beach, Ca


Saurier

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Thought I'd join in on the fun and share a few pics of some of my collection found while scouring the beach in Capitola, CA. Lower Purisima Formation. Age; lower Pliocene, 3-5 million years old.

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I've noticed Capitola mentioned in the forum before, but if some of ya reading don't know, the marine mammal and shark fossils are mostly found within a dark gray mudstone... the consistency of which is akin to concrete... which is exactly what it looks like. Here's a pic of me standing against the cliff within a field of boulders/concretions... that be the stuff.

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Just like it looks, you can only access the area at low tide... There are the stereotypical CA "houses falling off the cliffs and into the ocean" right above my head.

These concretions come from a layer found below a shell layer, which you can see in one of my photos running along the base of the cliff. Other rocks along the beach/cliff exposure sandstone and talus. In the sandstone, you can find fish and crab bits and pieces.

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Here are some isolated cetacean bones in their concretions.

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Other goodies you can find include bivalves, slipper shells, and gastropods.

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The cetacean dorsal vert spine pictured was hammered out of a concretion, as well as the large rib piece (I included a pic of the concretion that shows what it looked like before I split it open).

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My pride and joy is the carcharodon carcharias I literally stumbled on. Funny story... my wife and I were walking back to the car after searching the beach for hours. Tide was coming in, which drowns the beach all the way to the cliffs. Well, I was walking over some car-sized boulders buried at the end of the beach (near the surf), and I happened to catch a glimmer of something that was a different color... My finger is pointing to it in the photo. Turns out,... that lil something was a fossilized great white tooth. I bent down, realized what it was, screamed like a little girl, and made my wife stand guard while I beat it out of the rock with my hammer and chisel in a race against the incoming tide. Luck for me, I extracted it without jacking it up... or drowning. Minus the root, that sucker is nearly perfect. The color is pretty cool too... grading from blue to a red hue.

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I found one other that consists of about 2 cm of the tip. Basically, I saw an odd, cigar-like shape in a concretion the size of a TV remote. I split it open and there was the remains of a tooth. Nice solid black color.

I'll post more photos of our other goodies when I get another minute...

Kris

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Welcome to the Forum, 'saurier'!

Thanks for the photo-tour of your hunting-ground at Capitola. I now can better appreciate Capitola fossils!

http://pristis.wix.com/the-demijohn-page

 

What seest thou else

In the dark backward and abysm of time?

---Shakespeare, The Tempest

 

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Yes, very informative site pictures. Even this small familiarity gives me a point of relevance to which I can attach new information. Thanks!

Oh, nice tooth!

"There has been an alarming increase in the number of things I know nothing about." - Ashleigh Ellwood Brilliant

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” - Thomas Henry Huxley

>Paleontology is an evolving science.

>May your wonders never cease!

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love the report and the finds and that screaming like a little girl moment i can connect to. nice job!

did you take home the block with the verts in it, it would be a great display piece

Edited by bmorefossil
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That's a huge Carcharodon for the Purisima! A friend of mine (a local collector in the area) has a couple dozen about that large. I'm currently preparing a small baleen whale cranium preserved in one of those concretions, which I lugged off the beach last summer. I'm currently studying the vertebrate assemblage of the Purisima, and the preservation of fossil vertebrates from said unit for my Master's thesis. Bobby

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Great photos, Kris. Welcome to the Forum.

The human mind has the ability to believe anything is true.  -  JJ

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love the report and the finds and that screaming like a little girl moment i can connect to. nice job!

did you take home the block with the verts in it, it would be a great display piece

Yeah, sometimes you just can't contain the excitement. :D

Oh, no... that block was much to big to even move let alone pick up.. However, I was able to drag out a good 45lb block with two verts in it as well as other fragments of bone. I'll snap a picture of it this weekend and post it.

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Yes, very informative site pictures. Even this small familiarity gives me a point of relevance to which I can attach new information. Thanks!

Oh, nice tooth!

You're welcome. I try to take/get good documentation for every location I collect. It's like they say about any fossil... without the information on stratigraphy, taphonomy, etc, it has little if any real scientific value.

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That's a huge Carcharodon for the Purisima! A friend of mine (a local collector in the area) has a couple dozen about that large. I'm currently preparing a small baleen whale cranium preserved in one of those concretions, which I lugged off the beach last summer. I'm currently studying the vertebrate assemblage of the Purisima, and the preservation of fossil vertebrates from said unit for my Master's thesis. Bobby

Very, very cool about the Master's work. I wish I would have had more time to really study the area myself. But, I only visited the location about 4 times... even though I was living in Monterey at the time. Unfortunately, I discovered the site within 3 months of leaving CA. Still upsets me thinking about it...

Kris

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Great pictures and finds.

Thanks. I'll take a few more shots of the rest of the finds and post them this weekend.

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Welcome to the Forum, 'saurier'!

Thanks for the photo-tour of your hunting-ground at Capitola. I now can better appreciate Capitola fossils!

Glad you liked it :D

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nice report and photos looks simmilar to finds i have here in nz . happy hunting

Thanks... and love the theropod eating the Ichthys :P

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  • 4 weeks later...
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Wow, thats a really nice carcharodon tooth, i've found three of those from the purisima, but I don't think i've ever found one that big.You can see some of these at my website:marine fossils..

- Forrest..

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Your photos brings back some found memories for me. I use to live in Eureka and went to capitola once a year, sometimes with the intire family. My youngest son picked up a portion of bone one day and asked me what it was. I told him it was a part of a rib from a whale. Me being his hero and wanting to sound like his dad named his find, 'honkus ribus'. Thanks for the photos.

RB

Here are a couple of things weve found there.

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