Mystery Fossil for National Fossil Day

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  • #13627
    Victor Perez
    Keymaster

    Hi Everyone! I found this fossil in Rattlesnake Creek here in Gainesville, FL after Hurricane Matthew. The way it’s broken makes it a tricky one to identify. Let me know what you think it is! I’ve uploaded photos from a few different angles to help you out. It’s about 2 cm vertical length.

    @jnance @lcone @cferrara @acurrier @bostickkw @jon-cartier @matthew-croxton @joyce-drakeford @evan-taylor @gsantos @mhendrickson @jkallmeyer @lmccall @maggie-paxson @michael-reagin @llundgren

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    #13632
    Lisa Lundgren
    Keymaster

    @vperez, weird! It looks like a completely different fossil from the ventral side (the 3rd image, no.3756, is the ventral side, right?). I’m thinking it’s broken and tumbled, so not the whole fossil. Doesn’t look like a shark tooth, too wide and too many bumps that aren’t sharp…I don’t think it’s a tooth from something else either. Hmmm. I am stumped.

    #13634

    @vperez Whoa. That’s a worn fossil.

    @llundgren. I agree. I don’t think its a tooth either.

    At first glance, because of the curvature of the fossil and what might be an articular surface, my reaction was I was looking at a phalanx or the distal end of a radius. Though, I’m not sure now after looking through some other photos I have. I don’t know how much of the shape is from weathering. But IMG 3756. If that is an articular surface, it looks weird, but might be the key to figuring it out.

    #13635
    Aaron Wood
    Participant

    @vperez, it appears to be a broken lower third molar of Metaxytherium, an extinct genus of dugong.  Image 3756 is the crown view whereas image 3737 looks like the anterior or mesial view with a nice facet showing where it wore against the lower second molar.

    Cool find!  Makes me jealous, because I used to live along Rattlesnake Creek in Gainesville.  All I ever found were shark teeth, which are interesting in their own right, but not as interesting as a dugong (note my bias as a mammalian paleontologist).

    #13637
    William Howat
    Participant

    The third photo makes me think that it may be a really beat up fish ballast bone (tilly bone)…

     

    I would also agree that it is probably not a tooth, since I see no enamel…

     

    Hope this helps!

     

    -Bill

    #13679
    Victor Perez
    Keymaster

    Thank you everyone for playing our National Fossil Day game! The fossil is in fact a hyperostosis from a fish (sometimes called a tilly bone as @william-howat aptly suggested). @jnance suggested it’s from a spadefish (Ephippidae).

    @aaron-wood you fell into the trap. When I first found this I thought I had found a dugong tooth and was very excited, but under greater inspection realized it was a tilly bone. It has a texture very characteristic of fish bone. However, don’t feel bad because I showed this to a lot of people here are UF and about half thought it was either Metataxytherium or a peccary tooth at first.

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