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My Days Are Numbered

As my days of regular collecting in NJ draw to a close, I’ve been hoping to find just one more really killer tooth before I relocate to North Carolina. My short list included any one of a nice Chubby, Ric or P. Benedeni. Not that I don’t appreciate the all of the great teeth I’ve found here, but I know that finding nice teeth of these species in NJ requires time and a lot of luck. Well I’m just about out of time and with only one or two trips left before I go, today was a day of exceptionally high hopes. I decided to spend my time on the stream revisiting some old hot-spots where I did well in the past. My first stop was where TM and myself had pulled out 3 complete chubbys, a complete ric and more than a dozen nice makos - there had to be more. The layer we had been working was full large green sandstone rocks that had shell impressions scattered on them. I worked this area for about an hour only finding a couple of broken blades but the material looked too good to be completely devoid of nice teeth. As thoughts of moving began running through my head, I hit pay-gravel with a nice 1 3/4" mako and a small chubby landing in the same screen-load of gravel. The chubby was missing a root lobe but otherwise nice and the mako was close to perfect. I continued through about 10 more screen-loads picking up a nice lateral mako amongst them. Being that the trip was now a successful one, regardless of what else I found or didn’t find, I decided to move on to some other spots where the collecting would be a bit easier - shoveling through those rocks for an hour is hard on the back. I wanted to move up to where JP had found the nice Xiphodolamia tooth on the last outing, but I decided to first load a couple of screens just upstream from where I was working. On my third or fourth screen-load I saw what I initially though was a partial shell mold but soon realized was half of a hyplural (tail) vert. This was my first one and complete or not, it was gravy. I made the move up to where JP scored his Xipho tooth and he happened to arrive shortly afterwards. I showed off my earlier finds like a proud parent and we went to work. It wasn’t long before while loading my screen, a 2 3/4" chubby appeared lying on top of the unwashed gravel. I didn’t have my camera but oh what a sight! The tooth had a nice tan color, a great blade, both cusps and other than a tip of one root lobe missing, complete. JP and I agreed it was probably one of the largest teeth either of us had seen come out of the stream. I packed the tooth away in it’s own container, since it didn’t fit into the one I normally use, and loaded a couple more screen before moving on to one last spot. I intended to spend the last half hour at a spot that I had found on my first ever trip to the area, but after finding nothing in the first couple of screens, my impatience led me to a small channel slightly upstream. The low water made the channel a little more accessible than normal and on the second screen, came the largest complete sand tiger I have ever seen - this thing was huge! I happily packed it away with the other finds of the day. As I loaded the last two screens before leaving, I pondered the thought that I would probably never have another day like this in NJ, and could only hope I would enjoy collecting in NC as much as I have here - I’m sure I will, but I am going to miss it.
Location Monmouth County, New Jersey, USA

Date Added4/4/2006

This tooth and a large mako landed in the same screenload of gravel ending an extremely slow first hour of collecting.
My first hyplural (tail) vert. Its a little more than 50% complete but I was happy as ever to find it.
Shell molds seem to mark one of the more productive reworked layers in the stream. I've only seen one other similar to this one but not nearly as complete.

2.5" Eocene Sand Tiger Shark Tooth
2.5" Eocene Sand Tiger Shark Tooth
2 3/4" Chubutensis Tooth
2 3/4" Chubutensis Tooth
1 3/4" Mako Shark Tooth
1 3/4" Mako Shark Tooth





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