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2008 Fall Season - PCS Aurora “Lee Creek” Bounty – Making a living off of other peoples trash

Fall 2008 PCS Aurora “Lee Creek” Bounty – Making a living off of other peoples trash

This is a composite of just the best of the Fall’s season haul. I’ve been very lucky lately with finds at the mine and this season was no exception. The weather over these days ranged from cool and a breeze to near ungodly heat and humidity. That’s the way it goes in early Fall in the south.

Last season I found a hunk of gomptherium tusk that someone had mangled that I was able to piece back together. This season I continued the streak of making a living off of other people’s trash by find a porpoise skull with three of the four earbones with it. Someone had flipped it out of a pungo hill and must not have known what they had. All that was visible was a busted yet cemented to matrix bulla. The occipital condoles were busted off nearby so I picked up all the busted pieces that I saw and place the block and them into a one gallon Ziploc bag. Turns out almost the whole skull is there!!! It was just barely covered by some of the pungo contact sand. Needed almost no prep work at all to expose all of the bone. Many Thanks to BRF member Paleobum for assisting with reconstructing this find. It is small but very cool.

Another “trash” find was a very nice enamel tipped whale tooth that had been kicked and broken in numerous pieces. I was able to locate nearly all of them and that glued back nicely as well.

The rare find of the trip is an extremely rare Aturia sp. Nautiloid fragment. According to LCII there are only four known specimens from the mine and they are all at the Smithsonian. I asked one of the veteran guides who loves invertebrates if she has ever seen any. To her knowledge only two other specimens have ever been found in the mine. Finds like it are more common in the pre-pungo material elsewhere in the state but from the pungo on up it gets hard to find. This little find might now be the rarest piece in my collection. Quite a blow to a professed “invertabiggot” to now have an invertebrate specimen be “the find” in the collection.

Also found a really neat, nearly complete Tautog fish jaw section with over 30 teeth. By far, this is the coolest fish fossil find in my collection. Raked it out of some prime looking Yorktown.

No trip to Lee Creek is complete without the hope of find a nice meg and this season did not disappoint. It’s not a honker but at just three inches and no damage it’s made it way into the meg keeper case.

Rest of the finds included numerous bird bones (more than normal for me) and lots of the common stuff: cuviers, makos, lots of sand tigers this season and all of the “normal” smaller pungo teeth. Did find a bunch of cool porpoise teeth and a shamer of a squalodon. Weird thing this season - not a lot of large whale bones. I dug out two associated ones and they were gone when I got back to pack them out. I did dig out numerous small ones including a nice porpoise humerus and ulna.

Well, I was sad to see the season cut short but glad that all of the Friends trips were able to collect before it had to be closed. You’ve got to take what you can get in times like these. If you want to help out and do your part to make sure that this site can continue to be a resource check out the Friends of the Aurora Fossil Museum’s website and contact any or all of the politicians listed and urge them to support PCS’s approval of their current Alternative L mining permit.
Location Lee Creek Mine, Aurora, North Carolina, USA

Date Added12/19/2008

Here's a comparision shot of a Aturia. I looked, not a lot of readily available information on these guys from the site
Here's the porpoise skull after some work by paleobum - what an awesome job he did!!
Earbones that were sitting on the nasals of the skull.

meg challenged
meg challenged
My travels through time…Day 4 the Miocene
My travels through time…Day 4 the Miocene
My toothing bags are no longer empty.
My toothing bags are no longer empty.

How do you find this rare stuff? - 12/28/2008
Reviewer : Daryl from Maryland United States
Total Rating : 10
Hi M4. I'm always amazed at the rare stuff folks find in the mine. The skull is awesome. Curious about your nautiloid fragment, I found some pics at: http://ir.library.tohoku.ac.jp/re/bitstream/10097/28986/1/KJ00004163219.pdf Image #9 shows where your fragment came from - I think. Daryl. Content Quality : 10 of 10

Drool Quotient : 10 of 10

Picture Quality : 10 of 10
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