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Possible Tooth from the Triassic Cumnock Formation of North Carolina (Metoposaurus?)

Echinoid Express

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Hello everyone,


After struggling to obtain material from the the local Triassic formations, I was fortunate enough to obtain some material from a fellow collector and friend after trading some things with him. This included not only Pekin Formation plant specimens from an inaccessible spot, but also some Cumnock Formation grey and black shales from a different site that were collected long ago.


I was splitting one piece when I found this. Unfortunately, due to the age and condition of the material, whatever this is split into several fragments. I pieced together the two larger fragments with a small dab of adhesive, but I was having trouble with the smaller fragments. I could not get a good measurement of it because of this, but it is likely under 7 mm in length if it were intact, and probably around 3 mm  in diameter. I have no good ideas on what it is, but it appears similar to a tooth from a undescribed Metoposaurus from the formation. I figured I would get additional opinions on it. There do not seem to be serrations on it.


I apologize for a lack of pictures, the condition of the specimen made me nervous about moving it around too much. I kept the fragments of shale and coal it came from separate to look for more fragments. (Edit: I took additional photos, see my reply below - 12-7-23)





Edited by Echinoid Express
Fixed some formatting
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Wow! Fantastic find!  Congratulations.  :SunFace:
I can't help with an ID, but am impressed that you found a Triassic aged tooth of any kind!

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"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
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I agree! Congrats. I spent the whole summer searching VA's triassic basins to no avail. What a great find!

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Out of curiosity, do you mind showing me the rocks it came from if you have any pieces left? And how exactly was it found within the split shale? Feel free to PM if you don't want to answer here. This info could help me narrow down my search up here in VA if I have some examples to compare with.

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Thank you all, I am excited to have found this! The chances of finding spots with fossil material around here in the modern day is pretty rare, and vertebrate material is very hard to find! I was fortunate my friend shared these shales with me. Even though it is a bit fragmented and I'm still not 100% sure on the identification, I can say I have some sort of vertebrate fossil from my home region! I took some additional pictures with my handy(?) microscope, they're not super high quality though. I also found some additional suspected fragments and put them in the case.














10 hours ago, patelinho7 said:

Out of curiosity, do you mind showing me the rocks it came from if you have any pieces left? And how exactly was it found within the split shale? Feel free to PM if you don't want to answer here. This info could help me narrow down my search up here in VA if I have some examples to compare with.


I do not mind at all! Unfortunately, I did not catch exactly where it was in the rock, as it was in the small "scraps" that were flaking off. Just based on this, I think it was on the edge of the material already, and given the state the shale was in I am not surprised it fell apart. Here are the remaining pieces from that chunk of shale, you can see it was very layered, and it was very lightweight and fissile, which I imagine might have been due to high amounts of carbon. It made it very easy to split, but on the negative side of this it meant the outer edges kept falling off while I handled it. I think the tooth was pretty bonded to the shale in two specific spots on the edge, since some of it came off with the fragments. As far as a location in the formation the rocks came from I could not tell you either, these came from very old spoil piles that no longer exist, and I imagine it varies between the various members of the Newark Supergroup. The Cow Branch Shales I have picked up in the northern reaches of North Carolina were not as fissile or lightweight and were actually much harder to split, but I believe they came from a much less fossiliferous layer overall, with more brown shales and less black shales (Although I know for a fact there are fossils that can be found in that particular exposure).


There were shiny inclusions in certain parts, which I believe could be fish scales, and this piece had a lot of rounded and fragile coal inclusions as well (which are a fossil of sorts within themselves). The third image is an unsplit piece; it is more solid than the other, and I realized my splitting methods leave a lot to be desired, so I am saving a couple for the future when I find a better way to do it. I kept a majority of the scrap pieces of what I already split as well since I learned they could potentially contain other things, given the size of what I found recently. I also included the "scraps" I have been looking through, although I am starting to think the remaining pieces are too small to locate or reattach eventually.









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Congrats on a fantastic find! :yay-smiley-1:
It seems that you are coming ever closer to finding some great spots out there. 

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