Wednesday, April 4, 2012

More teeth, and sometimes it's good to be pathetic

We continued on our quest to find more fossilized shark teeth. It's really just a good excuse to get outside and walk along the beaches, but I am really intrigued by this whole fossil thing. We're finding more and more of them, but all the ones we find are very small. My wife and I both keep thinking we'll find some bigger teeth sooner or later, but so far - just little stuff.

The interesting factor with this new "sport" has to do with the tides. The generally accepted principal is to go out on a falling tide, about halfway between high and low tide. We've been finding more, though, on high tides. Go figure. This past time out was a high tide so we had only a small section of beach to explore (the water goes tight against the cliffs at high tide and, unless you wear waders or the water is warm, you are stuck with a small piece of beach)

sand tiger shark (l), snaggletooth shark (r)

Fossilized porpoise tooth

Crushing plates (skutes) from Eagle Ray

All fossils are 13 - 15 million years old

Still, we were finding s lot of fossilized Sand Tiger Shark teeth and Gray Shark teeth on the short stretch of beach. We did, however, find our first fossilized porpoise tooth - pretty cool, actually. A local fossil guy came by and asked how we were doing - we replied with the usual "finding a few small ones". He reached in his pocket and gave my wife a "small" megalodon tooth he had just found about 50' away! "Small" was his verbage - not ours. I would have been doing backflips down the beach if I had this. He showed us pictures of one twice as big he found the week before.

Megalodon tooth. This one is not a "great" find (to the hard core fossil folks) because it is small, the point of the tooth isn't perfect, and a section of the serations on one side are missing. I think it's pretty darn cool, though.

Our best finds of the day

I guess that's what keeps you coming back. And why being a pathetic fossil hunter sometimes pays off.


Howard Levett said...

I don't think it's pathetic at all, but very cool. While you doing this any way, can you try to find my dentures. They're not small.

heyBJK said...

Those are really cool! I've never known anyone who has found teeth like that.

T. Brook Smith said...

I should have stopped in long ago. Didn't know you were getting into fossil hunting. Illinois got me started on fossils with the Paleozoic invertebrates in the coal formations there. About a month ago I found a fossilized horse tooth. When my son was small we found an Iguanadon fibia and shoulder blade that's at the Vernal Field Museum (not sure of the name, but it's the only museum in Vernal, Utah). I can't stop myself from looking now.

CrazyCris said...

Holy moley! That Megalodon tooth is awesome!!!

But personally I love the fact that you found a porpoise tooth! ;o)

How do you know they're fossilised and not just recent teeth?

Wolfy said...

Sorry for not answering sooner Chris - hadn't checked the older comments for a while.

The simple answer is the coloration.if the sharks teeth (or the porpoise tooth) were recent, they would be white, just like teeth in the shark's/porpoises mouth. The coloration - mostly black, sometimes brown - comes from an influx of minerals after being buried under tons of debris for millions of years