January 8, 2018 at 10:26 am #30142
Hi Fossil Experts! @tom-piscitelli found these specimens in North Myrtle Beach, SC in November 2017.
Here is some info about the finds:
They were all beach finds with no natural outcrop. After a recent hurricane, the beach has been replenished, and Tom was told that the material was from 3 miles off shore. Tom also found more than 300 bryozoa-covered snails, which a user on The Fossil Forum suggested could be recent, or could have come from the James City or Waccamaw Pleistocene formations. He found 5 examples of blister pearls in total.
Tom would like to:
- Confirm whether or not they are fossils
- Find out their possible age
- Ask if anyone knows if Quahogs (Mercenaria) are also found in the James City/Waccamaw formations?
The photos would not all fit into a single post, so be sure to look at the additional photos in replies below. Thank you to all in advance for your time and expertise!January 8, 2018 at 10:41 am #30156
Here are some additional photos, which go with the above post, the last one being a modern oyster blister pearl for reference:January 8, 2018 at 11:51 am #30163
Hi Ms Mills Thanks for posting for me. I do not want to confuse the responders by the modern oyster with a blister pearl DSCN4930-1. This my wife found while we were eating oysters out while we were there on vacation. I know that it is modern. You did not include (at least that I saw) that info in the write up So I wanted to clarify. Thanks again. I look forward to everyone’s thoughts. Thanks in advance. Tom PiscitelliJanuary 8, 2018 at 12:11 pm #30164
Thanks so much for clarifying, @tom-piscitelli! I had trouble seeing the photos as I uploaded them, so did not notice the modern oyster. I’ll add a note to my original post to help make it more clear. Please feel free to chime in with any other helpful details/corrections.January 8, 2018 at 12:31 pm #30166Michael ReaginParticipant
They could be fossil but SC beach finds are not my expertise. I can however confirm that Mercenaria is found both in the James City and Waccamaw Formations.January 9, 2018 at 1:01 am #30167Lee ConeParticipant
I am not an expert on inverts, but I am somewhat familiar with the James City Formation from my collecting time in the PCS Mine in Aurora. <i>Mercenaria</i> is quite common along with a lot of other shelly material and a few great whites. It was not the prized hunting material for those of us interested in mammal and pliocene sharks, so I did not spend a lot of time there. Linda McCall is the one that you need to contact, though, since she is very knowledgable about invertebrates. I am sure that she could help you. I’ll be interested to read what she posts.January 9, 2018 at 9:55 am #30169
@lmccall wanted to add this information to the conversation: “Mercenaria of this type are common in the Waccamaw Formation. I’ve also seen similar ones from Lee Creek Mine (so could be James City). The bryozoan covered gastropods look very like the ones from the Pleistocene, SMR Quarry.”January 9, 2018 at 6:40 pm #30170
While no one has questioned my identification of the host shell as being a Mercenaria, I thought I should at least raise the question since I am not an expert at shell id. The shell portion that has the large blister pearl may not be identifiable but there is a whole half shell that has multiple “pearl warts. I will attach pictures showing both sides as well as one showing the shell valves with the large blister. Is my id of Mercenaria correct? Thanks TomJanuary 9, 2018 at 6:44 pm #30174
Messed up . here’s the insideJanuary 10, 2018 at 8:06 pm #30178
I have been looking on the internet for any information on fossil pearls in Mercenaria. I do not have access to paleontological research but it is interesting what I have found. “To conclude, Pleistocene pearls have so far only been found in Europe and North America from three mollusk species: Modiolus modiolus, Scotland (25); Mytilus edulis, Sweden (22) and Canada; Anadara transversa, Maryland. This paper reports the first occurance of fossil pearls from the Pleistocene of Asia. Freshwater Fossil Pearls From The Nihewan Basin Early Early Pleistocene SuPing Li, Jin-Fen Li etc. 10/19/2016 PLOS 0164083.
I have not been able to find any references to any fossil pearls from a Mercenaria of any age. Nor for that matter from any Atlantic Giant Cockle. This article has an example of a shell with multiple pearl “warts” and it describes how this may have occurred. The finding of this number of shells with pearls within a very limited time period and within a limited physical range –a mile at most for the Mercenaria. The cockle was found about 3 miles from them. I am trying to find a way to determine in they are modern or fossil. Even if modern, Mercenaria pearls are rare and I have not seen any listings for cockle pearls. Although any mollusk can produce a pearl under the right circumstances. I thought I would put this out there for comments and suggestions. Thanks Tom
Here is some additional information:
The intact left valve with the pearl warts is not smooth at the umbo and as can be seen in the picture it has an interior that is pale violet or lilac in color. US Geological Survey Professional Paper 199 pp132 plate 20 describes Mercenaria carolinensis from the Waccamaw Formation Cape Fear River NC. Interestingly plate 20 #1 shows the interior left valve of M carolinensis with at least to my eyes appears to have small blister pearls or pearl “warts”. However NO MENTION is made of their presence. Since it is a black and white photo, whether color is present is unclear and not that i can tell no mention of color is made in the description. Plate 20 #2, the umbo does not appear to have any smooth areas.
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