The Summerville Scoop…..
With my job completed mid afternoon it was time to find some teeth. I navigated through the streets of Summerville to begin my second fossil expedition in South Carolina. I found the location where DW took me on my first trip in Dorchester County and with his prior “blessing”, I proceeded to “claim jump” hunting solo.
It was hot, mid 90s and with a heat index reportedly over 100. This reminded me to invest in some summer hip boots / waders because there was no way I would have survived in my thermal chest highs. I noticed right away that the drainage creek was low and trickling water. I popped open my truck, scanned of the neighborhood around me and did a quick change into some shorts and put on some “river” shoes. My Northern® boots stayed in the truck as my feet anticipated the cool water.
I geared up and proceeded up the creek feeling naked. What was I missing?… oh yeah, my shovel. As I made my way up the creek I couldn’t help but feel that the DNR were watching in the tree line ready to give my a $400 fine. Since I purposely left my shovel I home, I tried to put my mind as ease. As soon as I entered the tree canopy of the creek I was intercepted by mosquitoes. These weren’t the normal ones I was used too, but some mutant breed that I believe escaped from the Charleston Naval Station from a biological weapons experiment that went awry. They looked like a cross between a tiger mosquito and a crane fly. I could have used a badminton racquet to swat the ones circling me. Luckily I remembered to bring my OFF. I must have looked like person possessed as I flung my arms in all directions fending them off and swatting the ones on me while trying to find my OFF and getting it out of my backpack. Success!!! With a deep breath I closed eyes I depleted half of the canister around / on me and ended up fogging a twenty food radius from me. I was turning purple as I opened my eyes. No more mosquitoes around me; however, I couldn’t tell if it was the humidity in the air or the lingering OFF….. (inhale….it tasted like a combination of both).
I continued my journey upstream in a covert manner. That was until a back yard dog became aware of my presence. So I back tracked and decided on a spot that subsided his barking. I unpacked and pulled out my Summerville Scoop, a modified scoop ball toy (had to tape up the holes on my daughter’s one). It made me wonder if a Jai alai cesta would work slinging gravel.
So with a small three prong hand rake and my scoop, I filled up my smaller plastic graduated screens with material. The scoop worked great (other than the amount of material you can fill versus a full shovel). One advantage was how it could scoop water to flush out the sand / gravel material since the creek was too shallow in most areas to sift out the material.
I know most people stick to one screen size, usually the ½” to go through more material / find bigger teeth. However, since this was more labor intensive in addition to the fact that I can’t bare the thought of teeth / fossils that I just scooped going back in the creek, most of my finds were all from the lower ¼” screen. After screening only an hour, the heat and humidity was becoming unbearable. I stuck it out for another hour with the help of drinking numerous water bottles.
I finally decided that once I found an Angy I would quit. I found my first one that last time I was here and wanted to come home with my second one. Fifteen minutes later I finally found a monster one in the ½ inch top screen. Considering I was picking out small / micro ones out of the ¼ mix for the past two hours, it looked like a monster to me even though it was beat up. I ended up finding another smaller one. Now I debated continuing to scoop some more thinking I might have found a “teeth seam”, but decided I would end my “expedition” after I go through the ¼” mix.
I picked out a couple of teeth from the lower screen and then placed the spoils on the bank. I got a couple of scoops of water to “wash” the spoils to make sure I didn’t miss anything / micros (as I did with my previous ¼” spoils). As soon as the water subsided, there it was looking right at me….my first “true / without a doubt” pathological tooth that I have found. I believe it is a Bull Shark; however, any thoughts / correct ID would be appreciated. So before heat exhaustion / malaria sent in, I packed up and looked forward to a cold hotel shower. Anyway, this tooth put the icing on the trip and made me glad that I continue to use my graduated screens.