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Jumped On The Band Wagon To Ant Hill


hardlyatwork

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left at 4am this morning for our destination. we arrive 3 hrs later at ant hill. the sun was up and though the weather app said partially cloudy, there was hardly a cloud in the sky. climbed the hill and set up shop in a random pit and went to work.

we didn't really know what we were doing or what to look for. we could see pick marks where others had previously dug and i quickly understood why using one was a good idea. man, that stuff was tough! i didn't bring a pick so we were limited to just the loose stuff. we made due and scored some teeth.

we found mostly micros and partials but we did end up with a few nicer models, some skate/ray teeth (i think), and cool pieces of bone. oh i also found what i thought might be a mammal tooth. its about 3 inches long, slightly curved, and looks like a smaller version of some sort of whale or dolphin tooth. i accidentally broke it and the inside was black. does anyone know if mammal teeth that size have been found in the area?

i'll try to post pics of it later as i'm having trouble loading the files which are apparently too large (any help would be appreciated)

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here are the pictures of what we found.

i didn't do a very good job of taking a picture of the object i hope is a mammal tooth but there seems to be a clearly defined tip and blunt root end.

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post-15230-0-36203600-1401034133_thumb.jpg

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Yeah, that rock is tough. Some people even bring out jackhammers. It's hard and time-consuming work just getting to the layer.

That 3-inch specimen might be a whale tooth. They can be larger than that. You should clean it more to be sure. The top part looks like it could be a worn crown. Whale teeth that large are very uncommon and a complete one that size is very rare. Bob Ernst found maybe as few as three complete ones in all his digging. I think all the complete ones I've seen showed some wear on the crown.

You can find Allodesmus (extinct relative of sea lions) canines that reach 4 inches or more but those are rare at that size as well - especially one that has a good crown. The big whale teeth can be curved like an Allodesmus canine (a banana shape) or straighter like yours. They have shorter (and less curved) crowns relative to the overall size than Allodesmus. Another distinguishing feature is that the big whale's crown enamel has embossed wrinkles while Allodesmus has smooth enamel.- not easy to see if the tooth is very worn. I have a very beat-up big whale tooth that was found in pieces but it still has a piece of the wrinkled enamel attached.

The big whale teeth don't have a name other than "sperm whale relative." Back in the Miocene sperm whales were more diverse than they are today (just one species left) and they have various tooth types with isolated teeth being mostly what are found. Unlike sharks, you cannot name a whale to genus and species just going by the teeth (sometimes you can't even do it with sharks). You can find a few different sperm whale tooth types in the Sharktooth Hill Bonebed - mostly smaller, more slender ones that lack enamel. It's not that the enamel wore away. They didn't have enamel even when the animal was alive. I think there are still whales today that lack enamel-coated crowns.

If you look around the web, you will see some of the big whale teeth given names like Scaldicetus or Brygmophyseter but without a connected skull (or a good part of it), you can't give a real name to a tooth.

we didn't really know what we were doing or what to look for. we could see pick marks where others had previously dug and i quickly understood why using one was a good idea. man, that stuff was tough! i didn't bring a pick so we were limited to just the loose stuff. we made due and scored some teeth.

oh i also found what i thought might be a mammal tooth. its about 3 inches long, slightly curved, and looks like a smaller version of some sort of whale or dolphin tooth. i accidentally broke it and the inside was black. does anyone know if mammal teeth that size have been found in the area?

i'll try to post pics of it later as i'm having trouble loading the files which are apparently too large (any help would be appreciated)

  • I found this Informative 1
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Nice finds!

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:popcorn: John

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