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Myrtle Beach 8/8 - 8/16

While many believe that Myrtle Beach is just a place for finding pretty shells, my family and I have been going to MB each August for our annual vacation since 1998, and hunting the beach for shark’s teeth is the main part of each of my days. The past 2 or 3 years, the hunting has gotten notably worse, though, so we were happy to learn that another beach replenishment was scheduled for September 2008. According to a friend of mine who stays there, this time---- instead of dredging within sight of the shore as the Army Corps of Engineers did last time, around 10 years ago---- they went completely out of sight over the horizon. (He also noted that they could hardly stand to walk the beach for several days after the replenishment was completed due to the smell of the dead sea life carried in on the barges and shot up onto the beach) According to this guy, they filled-in out to the 3rd or 4th lightpole on the pier, but that the winter storms had washed much of the material back out.

Anyway, we went this year with high hopes that the hunting would be improved, and that the potential for a nice Meg or two was reasonable due to the above. While we weren’t rewarded with anything too large in the shark’s tooth department, we definitely had some nice finds (and did hear about a couple of nice Megs being found while we were there). The largest thing I saw found was about a 1 ½ inch upper anterior Mako, badly dinged-up (story about the guy below). I believe that the fact they had not had any storms in over 3 weeks prior to our arriving limited what was being unveiled by the tides, as they were just gently rolling straight in on the beach, and not reaching far even at high-tide. (Wish I could have been there as Bill rolled up the coast!)

The guy who found the Mako tooth was hunting in the surf. He and his wife (and usually both his teenage kids) were out there every day, and were using homemade strainers to catch the teeth. I was finding some stuff that I considered to be pretty neat and out of the ordinary (turtle heads, shark vert), so I finally walked up and asked him, “Are you finding anything besides shark’s teeth?” He said that they were all he looked for. I thought he might not realize how much other stuff was available to be found, so I showed him a few of the other fossils I had in my pockets. He barely gave them a passing glance, and said he wasn’t interested in anything else. (Fair enough!) I told him that I’d seen him pick up the big tooth, and that it was a nice find. At that point, he pulled out his bottle and showed me that tooth, along with the others he had found that morning. I identified the Mako for him, along with a pretty little GW and a couple of decent Sand Tigers. He said, “Ah, we don’t care what kind they are. We just like finding them.” (Fair enough!) He went on to tell me that they hunted down there every year, and that they counted their finds every day, and for every stay, and that they classified them only by size before sticking them in storage jars. (Amazing how the bug bites people in different ways!)

Anyhoo, I hope you enjoy the pics. In the photo showing most of our finds for this trip: Column left shows what the locals refer to as turtle heads (not really), and this was the first year that I found these in decent condition. [It's actually the 60 million year old fossilized snail (or rock-like cast formed by silt that replaced the snail) from an Ark shell (Cucullaea, a mollusk).  The casts have the look of turtle’s heads because of a spiny ridge on the rounded top-side, an indent that looks like the place where a spine might attach, and a line that looks like where the mouth would close]; a possible posterior meg (close up shown, but tip is broken off so I am not certain of this) + crow shark; some of our larger and/or more interesting teeth, including the nice brownish blade next to the dime, the row of GW’s, 3 decent mackerels, our nicer Sand Tigers, a couple of fairly large requiem teeth, drum teeth, shark vert, an unknown tooth, a croc tooth fragment, and a fish tooth (prolly a ‘cuda); our pile of other teeth; and a few fossilized crab claws.

Column center shows 4 items that I am not absolutely certain of (close ups provided), but which I think may be our best finds of the trip: a horse’s tooth (which we found lying out right by itself on the beach during extreme low tide!); a sperm whale tooth; and 2 pieces of what appear to be fossilized ivory.

Column right shows a pile of various fossilized bone fragments, including a piece of a vert; our fish noses and skull elements; palates; turtle shell, including a nice piece of carapace; stingray barbs; and the omnipresent batoid teeth.

Not like a trip to Aurora, but not a bad haul, and I enjoyed every minute of the searching!

 

Location Horry County, South Carolina, USA

ID3470
MemberFlex68
Date Added8/25/2009

Our major fossil finds
My 3 best turtle heads
Posterior Meg ?
Some of our larger and more interesting teeth
This pile filled one of the 4" round Ziploc containers to overflowing
Horse and sperm whale ?
Fossilized ivory ?
Fish noses / skull elements
Palates
Turtle shell
  

Links
Myrtle Beach Sept 16-20th
Myrtle Beach Sept 16-20th
There are too fossils in Myrtle Beach...Fat Boy!
There are too fossils in Myrtle Beach...Fat Boy!
  

Comments
Luv that beach! - 8/25/2009
Reviewer : Fat Boy from Maryland United States
Total Rating : 10
I have to say that this was the year that I've seen the most fossilized material, both on quantity and in variety, on the beach that I've seen in years. I have a report to post as well. I did OK considering the limited time that I could get out and hunt, but you did very well! Very nice report too. What techniques worked best for you? About your fossils, the serrations are pretty large on that posterior tooth, it could also be a GW maybe? I don't think that I've ever found as many fish skull components or ray spines as this year either. Also, your mackerel shark teeth, could be C. appendiculata or maybe even Otodus if there is a Paleocene or Eocene layer out there. I also found a good sized one with large cusplets like that. Nice report, mine to come soon once I can locate my missing camera memory card! Content Quality : 10 of 10

Drool Quotient : 10 of 10

Picture Quality : 10 of 10
VOTE! Agree  Disagree  1 of 1 voters agreed.

- 8/25/2009
Reviewer : Daryl from Maryland United States
Total Rating : 10
Awesome! I can't believe you found so many teeth/fossils. I agree with FB that the "posterior meg" is definitely a GW. Were you in North or South Myrtle Beach? Content Quality : 10 of 10

Drool Quotient : 10 of 10

Picture Quality : 10 of 10
VOTE! Agree  Disagree  1 of 1 voters agreed.

- 8/26/2009
Reviewer : Flex68 from Virginia United States
Total Rating : No Rating
Hey, FB and Daryl. Yes, those serrations on the posterior are very deep, and I hate that the tooth is incomplete. Thanks to both for your help in properly ID'ing it. Several of the locals used to refer to the large-cusped teeth as 'mackerels,' and talk about the material being 12-16 million years old (mid-Miocene). However, I am unsure how dramatically this last beach replenishment being completed by using material from further out may have effected this..... Regarding where I stayed/hunted: We always stay in S Myrtle, the past few years at The Sandy Beach Resort between 2nd and 3rd Ave South. We hunt on either side of Wither's Swash, going South to around Sea Crest, and going North well beyond the pier (always looking for nice areas of shell beds, and concentrating most in these areas). I am on the beach alot, hunting, regardless of tides, but 2-3 hours before and after high-tide are really the best times to hunt. The guy with the strainer, hunting in the surf, used a good technique. Whenever the tide is running out towards low-tide to the degree that it is no longer uncovering decently sized material, I'll change to hunting in the dry material left exposed during high-tide. Thanks to you both for your comments!
VOTE! Agree  Disagree 

Formations - 8/26/2009
Reviewer : Fat Boy from Maryland United States
Total Rating : No Rating
There is definitely a mix of formations, e.g. crow sharks are Cretaceous but IMHO I think that the recent stuff is Yorktown like in nature since there are no P. contortus teeth and instead you find G. cuvier, no Hemis (at least from what I've seen), and more GWs than you'd expect in mid-Miocene. However, who knows if they took material from further offshore, you are probably getting the full mix of formations from recent to the Cretaceous (which might explain Otodus teeth there if that's what I found). And that brings me to the question on my mind each year, has anyone on this forum found modern teeth (not yet fossilized perhaps) at Myrtle Beach? And, has anyone found Hemis and/or P. contortus teeth at Myrtle Beach? Maybe this is a good topic in the forum... LOL
VOTE! Agree  Disagree 

GW tooth - 8/26/2009
Reviewer : Fat Boy from Maryland United States
Total Rating : No Rating
Your GW posterior tooth (if that's what it is) almost looks like a pathological tooth. Is it chipped or are my eyes playing tricks on me?
VOTE! Agree  Disagree 

- 8/27/2009
Reviewer : Flex68 from Virginia United States
Total Rating : No Rating
Definitely good points, FB. I know that the turtle heads were remarked to be around 60 million years old, so there would have to be mixed matrices/formations if that is the case. I have never found any moderns on the beach, although I did see what possibly could have been a modern GW that a guy claimed to have found (cream-colored). Don't ever recall finding a Hemi or any Tigers except G. cuvier. And, yes, unfortunately the little posterior tooth is broken!
VOTE! Agree  Disagree 

Nannippus tooth - 8/29/2009
Reviewer : Flex68 from Virginia United States
Total Rating : No Rating
After looking at the pics of Land Mammals, here, and searching around a bit on the Web, I am much more confident that what was found is, indeed, a horse tooth. Looks very similar to the Nannippus westoni photos I have located. The first one that I have found!
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