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Rhino!?

One of the most fulfilling aspects of fossil hunting is finding an obscure item that looks like “something” and being able to identify it at home after spending a couple hours doing some research. One of the most frustrating aspects of fossil hunting is finding an obscure item that looks like “something” and not being able to identify it at home after many hours of research, and then having to throw it into the black hole that is my unID’d bin, almost certainly never to be seen again. It’s a very fine line. Way back in February I was able to make a fossiling trip in between all the cleaning and other pleasantries associated with selling a house. The fruits of the day were fairly ordinary: a nice little lateral mako was the only shark tooth worth looking at twice, there were the usual sand tigers - nothing outstanding, and finally an unusual piece of mammal tooth. I hadn’t paid much attention to the mammal tooth or a should say fragment, when I found it, mainly because it was just that - a fragment of a tooth. Another “piece of something” that would be added to my other never-to-be-ID’d fossils. However the more I looked at the tooth, the more my interest was piqued. The root margin was partially intact on the bottom giving the impression of a root lobe in the 3/4" diameter range - fairly large when you factor in the 3 or 4 more that probably went with it, and there was also a very prominent ridge that ran across it’s width. I emailed some pictures to a couple of friends for opinions hoping that someone would recognize it. The responses were all plausible but none totally conclusive (though I must tip my hat to DW as Woolly Rhino was on his short list). Well the opportunity presented itself to have a professional paleontologist from the State Museum give it a look (Thank-You JP!) and the results were conclusive - Diceratherium matutinus or True Rhinoceros! It was additionally determined to be from a lower tooth. This piece of something as it turned out, may be one of the rarest fossils I’ll ever have the pleasure of finding!
Location Monmouth County, New Jersey, USA

ID597
Memberxiphodan
Date Added5/13/2006

  

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Partial Rhino Tooth
Partial Rhino Tooth
7/8" Mako Tooth
7/8" Mako Tooth
  

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