My fossil finds...

Friday, June 4, 2010

Here is a nice 2 in great white shark tooth (carcharodon carcharias) I found this morning. This was found by climbing up on some fallen boulders, I had no idea what it was until I uncovered the shiny enamel of the tooth.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Bakersfield fossils 2.

We went back to the amazingly fossiliferous temblor formation near Bakersfield at the sharktooth hill. Amazingly we found 47 shark teeth last time and 47 shark teeth again! The picture to the left shows the 16 teeth we found the first day. These teeth include shortfin mako( isrus desori), the bigtooth mako ( isrus hastalis), the tiger shark (galeocerdo aduncus), and much more! So the first day went well.

The next two photos are of the second days finds, the second day was much better, coming in with a total of 22 teeth. We went to a different part of the sharktooth hill, and this much larger area withheld much more shark teeth than the first area.

Nice tiger shark tooth (galeocerdo aduncus) from the second day.

Nice indian ocea n shark (hemipristis serra) tooth from the second day. What's really cool is that these teeth are rare and I found one two trips in a row!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

MGS Gallery: Recent Finds

Here's an extremely short post, but it's all worth it, this site has some amazing fossils on it! I suggest checking out the video on the 2010 gallery, it's pretty cool. MGS Gallery: Recent Finds.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Purisima fossils Jan/Feb 2010.

In all 2010 was and is still to be a very successful year, here is some pictures from some of those fossils! First of all, here is a dolphin humerus ( parapontoporia sp.) This specimen is currently in the Santa Cruz Museum Of Natural History! The reason this bone is black is because it was found in a phosphatic gravel rich bonebed, due to phosphates black color, the process of fossilization turned it black. This fossil was found when intending to excavate a vertebra, these "accidental" finds are always nice.

And here is a beautiful great white shark tooth ( carcharodon carcharias). This fossil was found with my colleague Robert Boessenecker who got it out of a concretion for me. Here is a link to his blog Anyways this is a fairly well preserved, 95 percent complete tooth.

Here is a fossil that was very exciting to find, it's a dolphin skull! (Most likely parapontoporia sp.) This fossil is in a concretion (a very hard rock), that along with the fact that it's a skull makes it require special tools to prepare. It will most likely end up with my colleague previously mentioned, who is at Montana State University, this find will be used study in the taphonomy of the Purisima formation.

Here is a picture of a quite exciting find, it's an articulated cervical vertebral column from a dolphin! Articulated vertebrae are pretty rare in the purisima formation, and most anywhere, the fact that these are cervicals (neck vertebrae), means that somewhere there could be a skull associated! Though I picked a horrible time to excavate them. When I was excavating, waves were crashing against me. When I started excavating I had no idea what it was, it wasn't until I hacked the first piece rock off until I realized that it was an articulated vertebral column, but I knew I couldn't wait until a lower tide to get it because then it would have washed away with the waves. So I had to try to excavate with the waves crashing against me. I hope I'll never make that mistake again... As a result, they're not in that good of shape...

Here is an example of what an articulated vertebral column looks like still in matrix, this one did not get excavated. But it might in the future. This was found right next to the excavated vertebral column, making me think these bones may be associated with each other!

Here is a pretty cool vertebra I excavated, I set it up so that you can see the pattern from the epiphyses on the bone, and the imprint from the pattern on a piece of rock.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Dinosaur excavation 2009.

Last summer I took a trip up to the plains of Wyoming to excavate dinosaur fossils, in this picture is a tooth from an edmontosaurus, (a type of duck-billed dinosaur), now I'm not that interested in dinosaurs as I am in marine vertebrates, but when I get a chance like this, I'll make an exception. I went on this trip with South Western Adventist University or SWAU. Info on how you can go on this trip is at Back to the picture, the teeth from the edmontosaurus is definitely the most common tooth found. Here in the Lance Formation of Wyoming you can find anything from a shark tooth, to a tyrannosaurus rex tooth! Also found is the Nanotyrannosaur, a smaller t-rex like theropod.

Speaking of theropods, here is a picture of a nanotyrannosaur tooth,You may see the anomaly in the tooth, they believe this was most likely from when the animal was feeding.They believe that all of these tens of thousands of dinosaurs died from yearly river crossings where weak dinosaurs were swept away and drowned, the dead bodies stopped at a river bend, they're bodies decayed and there scavenged by theropods, crocodiles and other carnivores from the late Cretaceous.

Here is a really cool picture of a partially excavated edmontosaur chevron on top of a maxillary, a dentary, and a ossified tendon. Ossified tendons are the most common fossil found at the site! Despite their common occurrence, they're pretty cool. The reason they can fossilize is because they have a more bone-like build up. You might wonder what HRS in the picture means, well it stands for Hanson Research Station. Named after the Hanson family who allows the university to recover material from their land.

Here is a very nice example of a small vertebra, they didn't know what species it was from so they took it for study. And this was just found lying in a dump pile of an abandoned quarry.

Sorry the pictures a little blurred, but here is a picture of the mandable and maxillary of a nanotyrannosaur. They had found this the year before, but they brought it to show us. Never thought I'd see a nanotyrannosaur partal skull so up close before! And it is one of only three in the whole world!

Here is a really cool find! This is a crocodile tooth, and if that's not cool enough, they (SWAU) have never found this species of crocodile with a root on it! Personally, when I first saw it I thought it kind of looked like a seed. really cool find!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Shark teeth in the margarita formation.

The beautiful fossiliferous sand dunes of of the Margarita formation in Scott's Valley California. Not only are they beautiful, but they are famous for their shark teeth and other vertebrate remains. This is a nice picture of the scenery from a little site I know. From here I have recovered 19 fossil teeth, ranging from Carcharocles Megalodon to semicossyphus (sheapshead fish) teeth, not including the sea cow bones and many other bone fragments recovered, Below is a picture of the hole I always dig at.

Below is what you might find in one hour of sifting. Preservation in the Margarita formation is fairly poor, so the teeth might look water worn or can be fragmentary.

Bakersfeild fossils.

We stopped by Bakersfield a couple weeks ago and searched for shark teeth. We found a total of over 47 fossilized teeth, pretty phenomenal considering we found every one of our shark teeth from just searching over the ground on one single hill! To the left is a picture of a shark tooth we found sticking out of the hill side. What a wonderful surprise, it turned out to be a "hooked-tooth mako", or isrus plana. This was the biggest shark tooth I found, measuring at a little more than 31/2 inches! actually quite big! Well we'll get this straight, these fossils actually aren't from the purisima formation, it is actually from the Mountain Silt Member of the Temblor Formation near Bakersfield California. But the people who know the location of the "sharktooth hill" site aren't very fond of telling it's location.

And here is a picture of just one of three drawers full of cataloged shark teeth!

Here I will list the names of, and how many of that kind I found: Myliobatis (bat ray)=13. Carcharhinus sp. (grey shark)=9. Hemipristis serra (Indian ocean shark)=1. Isrus Hastalis (big-tooth mako)=1. Isrus Plana (Hooked-tooth mako)=1,(tooth in pictures above). Galeocerdo Aduncus (tiger shark)=3. Squalus Occidentalis (dogfish shark)=2. Galeorhinus sp. (soupfin shark)=7. Isrus Desori (shortfin mako)=2. Squalodon errabunus (porpise)=3. And 2 unidentified teeth of some sort.