Sunday, November 26, 2023

Recent finds from lowcountry waterways - late October 2023

Second out of three posts for October fossil discoveries - October was a good month for several reasons, despite getting covid (for the second time) at the annual meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology (SVP).

Starting in late October, we transition to a different location with a somewhat different suite of fossils. We also transition towards nastier weather: my new boss, Ashby, bought the three of us personalized jackets and needless to say I'm pretty pleased with mine!

This nice inner earbone (periotic) was found by Mike while I was catching up with a colleague who surprised me one morning when she showed up for a tour - he gave me a pretty hard time for walking past this one, which I deserved!

This beautiful periotic is from a squalodelphinid - identical to squalodelphinid periotics from the Pungo River Limestone at the Lee Creek Mine of NC. This specimen is probably early Miocene in age.

This horse tooth was found rolling around in the surf - and capped with a cute little coral colony growing right on the chewing surface! Pleistocene, Equus.

A juvenile Carcharocles angustidens or C. chubutensis tooth, waiting to be picked up.


 A spectacular osteoderm (bony armor plate) from the back of an alligator, Alligator mississippiensis! This was found by client Lisa right when we were getting back onto the boat. Pleistocene.

An embarrassingly large mackerel shark vertebra, probably from a megatoothed shark (Carcharocles).

An interesting phosphatic coquina - coquina is a sort of limestone composed entirely of mollusk shells and fragments. We keep finding coquina that is either mixed with phosphatic sand or occasionally phospharized crusts forming on coquina.

Every day we leave past all of these shrimp boats, and it reminds me of Cannery Row in Monterey back home.

A nice tooth of Carcharocles angustidens sitting in a small stream - water pours out of the beach at low tide.


A nice delphinid dolphin periotic on the beach.

 On closer inspection, this one is probably bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops).


 A great white shark tooth - Carcharodon carcharias.

 It's worth picking up rectangular bones, even if they look like rib fragments.

 This one turned out to be a mandible fragment from Xenorophus! My colleague Kumiko Matsui went home with this specimen.

X marks the spot: this shark vertebra was broken somewhat so you can see the channels through the vertebra.

A vertebra from a lamniform (mackerel) shark.

A fantastic surprise! My marine mammal paleo colleague, Dr. Kumiko Matsui, came down to Charleston with a friend of hers and surprised the hell out of me when she walked down the dock to our boat.

 We had a great time catching up - we didn't have quite as much time to talk shop at SVP two weeks prior, so it was a great opportunity. Dr. Matsui ranks pretty high in my book because she is, as of yet, the *only* marine mammal paleontologist who has come to look at Coronodon since we published it in 2017.

A decent Carcharodon hastalis tooth - formerly "bigtooth" mako.

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