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Woodbine (Middle Cenomanian) Dinosaur(!), Plesiosaur, and Fish Tooth Plate For Identification


Mikrogeophagus

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It took awhile, but I can finally say that I have discovered some Texas dinosaur material! Nothing really museum worthy, but the idea that these teeth came from a walking, breathing land animal 96 million years ago is simply insane. It seems that Protohadros byrdi is the go to identification for Woodbine hadrosaurs, but I would like some confirmation or at least second opinions from the experts on here. Both dino teeth are pretty worn because they had to travel some distance out to sea.

 

Tooth 1 is the most obvious tooth fragment. It has the cross-shaped pattern normally seen on the occlusal of hadrosaur teeth. It is pretty worn from reworking and parts of the cementum region are missing/filled with sand. This is obviously hadrosaur, but is it a Protohadros? Normally, the Protohadros teeth I see online have serrations/crenulations? (perhaps wrong terminology) along the cutting edges. The cutting edges also usually reach to the apex of the crown. My specimen is different in that I don't see the serrations/crenulations and my crown has an occlusal table instead of an apex. Could this tooth just be from a different tooth family or maybe its a bit older in the dental battery and got weathered down? Also, I read on a random site that hadrosaurs don't have spit teeth because they stay in the dental batteries for the entire lifespan... is this true?

 

Tooth 2 is almost unrecognizable, but the presence of enamel, symmetry, and those serrations/crenulations I mentioned above have personally convinced me. Though, the exact shape of the tooth is a bit confusing to wrap my head around. It is more like a sliver of tooth, so I don't expect anyone to really make much out of it. The presence of the single middle ridge makes me think this is Protohadros and not some nodosaur which are also known to occur in the Woodbine.

 

@Brad84 @ThePhysicist @Ptychodus04I would ping Troodon, but it seems he has left the forum sadly. Please ping anyone else you think knows a thing or two about Texas dinos!

 

Tooth 1:

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Tooth 2:

 

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Next on the menu is a fragment of plesiosaur tooth also from the Woodbine that has some really neat ornamentation. On the lingual side, the ridges branch out and anastomose. This tooth is much larger and ornamented differently than my previous plesiosaur of the same geological group. The cross section is tear-drop shaped with a single edge. In looking around on the web for a similar tooth in hopes of an ID, I found one really good match. Go figure it came also from the Cenomanian, but interestingly it was found all the way in Russia. Here's a link to that thread:

 

 

So what do the experts think here? @Anomotodon @pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon @Praefectus.

 

 

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And finally we have the tooth plate. When I first picked it up, I thought it was a broken piece of plastic. Its toughness surprised me and, when turning it over, I noticed that the trabecular pattern of spongey bone blanketed the underside. I think it is a tooth plate from Paralbula or Albula, but I know very little on fish plates. Would appreciate any guidance here.

 

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Had some other fun finds, but I think one day I will create a trip report covering all the bases for the site. 

 

It's been a real journey, trying to find my first dino. I'm appreciative of all the wrong turns I took along the way and the fun little avenues they took me down. I also can't help but be thankful to have had the opportunity to live in such a fortunate time and place. It's crazy to think that random people like me can just walk outside and find such neat little tidbits of our ancient past. Of course, I am not entirely finished. There are still some other kinds of dinos I would like to find (Hadrosaur material wouldn't hurt too). Hopefully I won't have to wait as long, but I am prepared to stick it out for the long haul if need be. Until then, I hope you all have enjoyed reading through this log of my travels and continue to do so as I follow the scent of fossils wherever it takes me.

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Awesome finds! Tooth #1 is certainly an ornithopod spitter tooth. There are two known from Woodbine - Protohadros and Ampeloganthus (no teeth known for that one), so I think Ornithopoda indet. is the most accurate ID. Your tooth is shed, a “spitter”, so it’s hard to tell if there were denticles since they could just be worn. I’m not sure if tooth #2 is a tooth.

 

I'm not great at identifying plesiosaurs but I think yours is a Polycotylid, based on how thick it is and how pronounced the ridges are.

 

I think you are spot on with Paralbula for the fish.

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The Tooth Fairy

 

 

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Glad you finally found some dinosaur! :yay-smiley-1:

I agree the first is hadrosauroid (the features you mention let us be more precise than ornithopod). Protohadros is the only one described from the Woodbine, but there could be yet-discovered genera in a poorly sampled unit, so Hadrosauroidea indet. or cf. Protohadros if you're feeling bold. I have a hard time with the second item, not sure I can say anything about it without seeing it in-person or sharper photos.

 

5 hours ago, Mikrogeophagus said:

Also, I read on a random site that hadrosaurs don't have spit teeth because they stay in the dental batteries for the entire lifespan... is this true?

I've heard this too from paleontologists, and it's said in LeBlanc et al. 2016, "...unlike most vertebrates, hadrosaurids did not shed their teeth..." The teeth aren't shed as in sharks etc., but are continuously ground down root and all. They seem to have been connected and advanced by ligaments. Like yours and millions of other hadrosaur "nub" teeth found, I think they were indeed lost/shed. My guess would be that there's not much left at that point holding them in, so occasionally they fell out. This would perhaps explain why they are vastly more common that more complete teeth. After all, they make up a small fraction of the number of teeth in the mouth at a given time, and you can certainly only find complete/semi-complete teeth from a dead animal. I have a friend studying hadrosaur teeth, maybe I'll check my theory with them.

 

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Mallon JC, Anderson JS (2014) The Functional and Palaeoecological Implications of Tooth Morphology and Wear for the Megaherbivorous Dinosaurs from the Dinosaur Park Formation (Upper Campanian) of Alberta, Canada. PLoS ONE 9(6): e98605. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0098605

 

LeBlanc, A.R.H., Reisz, R.R., Evans, D.C. et al. Ontogeny reveals function and evolution of the hadrosaurid dinosaur dental battery. BMC Evol Biol 16, 152 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12862-016-0721-1

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Wow, man, Tyler! Those are some very cool finds you made in the Woodbine! :default_clap2:

 

I'm absolutely no help with the dinosaur material, but the partial plesiosaur tooth is awesome! I agree with your own suggestion and Tym's that it's polycotylid, based on the - indeed really cool 😎 - anastomosing enamel; the triangular/subtrihedral shape; and labial face with little - or, in your case, no - ornamentation. Though, I'd say, of a different species than your previous find/the other ones described in this thread:

 

 

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Cool finds. I can’t add anything more to the identifications but, depending on what member of the Woodbine you’re collecting in, you tooth might not have traveled far to get to the sea. When the latest woodbine was deposited, we were at a period of lower sea levels before they started rising again to deposit the Eagle Ford.

 

Areas of the Upper Woodbine are interpreted as coastal fluvial deposits.

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Posted (edited)

@Anomotodon @pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon Thank you both for the opinions on the plesiosaur! Hopefully I can find a more complete one like the Russian specimen I linked after some rain goes through. 

 

@ThePhysicist Just the sort of info I was looking for on the dino side of things! Thanks for the thorough and thoughtful explanations!

 

I'm away from my collection for now, but once I'm back I will try to think of a better way to show the second tooth fragment which seems has so far generally not convinced anyone. 

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On 5/24/2024 at 2:16 PM, Mikrogeophagus said:

And finally we have the tooth plate. When I first picked it up, I thought it was a broken piece of plastic. Its toughness surprised me and, when turning it over, I noticed that the trabecular pattern of spongey bone blanketed the underside. I think it is a tooth plate from Paralbula or Albula, but I know very little on fish plates. Would appreciate any guidance here.

 

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Reminds me of a Plethodid material

Here's a middle cenomanian example:

 

 

And also worth comparing to Pentagomius. I'm not sure about the woodbine, but the genus has at least been found in the lower Britton formation (probably Cenomanian). That knowledge exists thanks to the discoveries of @Ptychodus04 and co.

 

Oceans of Kansas example. Each pit would have housed small, round teeth. 

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@Jared C the lower Britton (lower Eagle Ford) is Late Cenomanian. 
 

Pentanogmius fritschi was too articulated to expose any tooth plates (those stinking well preserved specimens). But you definitely can infer that they are there based on the Santonian specimens from Kansas. The only teeth visible on P. Fritschi are on the dentary, and they are microscopic and hook shaped.

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Wow, great finds and congratulations! Super cool to see you finding dinosaur material out there. Hope you find more. Looking forward to the trip report

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5 hours ago, Ptychodus04 said:

The only teeth visible on P. Fritschi are on the dentary, and they are microscopic and hook shaped

 

12 hours ago, Jared C said:

Each pit would have housed small, round teeth

I thought a little about plethodids initially, but I discarded the idea because I was under the impression they had conical teeth rather than bulbous ones like my specimen. Perhaps I was too quick to do that? Was it the case that the parasphenoid had bulbous teeth while other areas had conical?

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2 hours ago, Mikrogeophagus said:

 

I thought a little about plethodids initially, but I discarded the idea because I was under the impression they had conical teeth rather than bulbous ones like my specimen. Perhaps I was too quick to do that? Was it the case that the parasphenoid had bulbous teeth while other areas had conical?


Mike Everhart said on his site that the Santonian specimen I included above had the same kind of teeth in the parasphenoid and jaws, but following the link he attached, those jaw teeth are indeed hook-like. 
 

Should have checked before I spoke!

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“Not only is the universe stranger than we think, it is stranger than we can think” -Werner Heisenberg 

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Congratulations on your finds! I told you it would only be a matter of time if you kept looking. I know the zones you have been looking in and it has the correct stuff. Watch for nodosaur and theropod teeth also 

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1 hour ago, Brad84 said:

Congratulations on your finds! I told you it would only be a matter of time if you kept looking. I know the zones you have been looking in and it has the correct stuff. Watch for nodosaur and theropod teeth also

Hold up, is this a tyrannosauroid premax?? Or is it broken?

 

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“The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.” - A. Einstein

 

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2 hours ago, Brad84 said:

Congratulations on your finds! I told you it would only be a matter of time if you kept looking. I know the zones you have been looking in and it has the correct stuff. Watch for nodosaur and theropod teeth also 


I too have more questions about this assemblage: are they all from the same formation? Especially the nodosaur teeth? Are they from the Woodbine like the fossils @Mikrogeophagus found? Or elsewhere in Texas?
 

Out of curiosity is there a paper that covers all the dinosaur material in this collection or is this a personal collection?

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All of them are from one site. Yes all Woodbine… been hunting it for 25 years .

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As for the tooth you asked about. It is indeed a premax . I showed it to the Perot in Dallas and they are very interested in it. I just haven’t seen any from the woodbine in all my years of hunting so I keep hanging on to it lol

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8 minutes ago, Brad84 said:

As for the tooth you asked about. It is indeed a premax . I showed it to the Perot in Dallas and they are very interested in it. I just haven’t seen any from the woodbine in all my years of hunting so I keep hanging on to it lol

That's understandable, it's an incredible fossil. It's one of the earliest instances of tyrannosaurs in North America.

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If I recall correctly there are some older ones found out west. I still think it’s interesting and this tooth looks almost exactly like the one I have from Hell Creek formation….of course the larger one is not Woodbine but still amazing the similarities. 

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Mikrogeophagus , sorry for all the threads on this post. I just get excited when I see new things from the formation I focus on. 

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Posted (edited)

@Brad84 No problem at all, I love seeing Woodbine discussion as well! I definitely need to find me some tyrannosaur and nodosaur material in the future. I scoured this site thoroughly (many many hours) and these two hadrosaur bits were all I could come up with, so by no means are they common at this spot. Hopefully the rains turn up something new. I know 0 when it comes to dinos, so all of this talk is very informative to me.

Edited by Mikrogeophagus
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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Brad84 said:

If I recall correctly there are some older ones found out west.

You're probably thinking of Moros which is the only other known early (Cenomanian) N. American tyrannosauroid, it's comparable in age. 

 

21 hours ago, Brad84 said:

I still think it’s interesting and this tooth looks almost exactly like the one I have from Hell Creek formation….of course the larger one is not Woodbine but still amazing the similarities. 

Makes sense, many juvenile tyrannosaurids reflect plesiomorphic traits - it's why they tend to be placed more basally in the family tree when not recognized as juveniles.

Edited by ThePhysicist
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“The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.” - A. Einstein

 

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