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Where's the Teeth? And 2008 recap

I made my first trip of 2009 on February 7, but I would first like to recap my 2008.

Last year was the first time I have ever gone fossil hunting. I have found a few by accident, but this was the first concerted effort to actively find them. My first trip was in late May and the last one was December 21st. I probably went about a dozen times and never needed a kitchen pass (I do most of the chores around the house which gives me lots of leeway). After starting off a little slow I started to get the hang of it. I only went to Purse as it was a convenient one hour drive from Crystal City (Arlington).

I never found any of the big, for Paleocene, teeth, but I was pleased with what I did find. For the year I found about 1500 decent teeth. Included in that count were at least 3 paleocarcharadons, a paraorthacodus, goblins, otodus plus the typical sand tigers and I am sure some other species. As with everyone else I had my share of ‘If only’s, as in if only it was a whole tooth. That goes mostly for croc teeth as I found quite a few split teeth or partial teeth. Along with the teeth, there were some bone fragments, scute, ray plate fragments and a vert that appears to be the tip of a tail. Three times I found at least 350 teeth in acceptable or good condition. One of those times was the Sunday before Christmas.

It was cold on December 21st at about 30º. The other posters had been complaining about the hydrilla washup. What they said was true for about the first 50 yards past the first bog, but once past that it was a gold mine. It was a dead calm day with a dead tide, similar to the day in September after the hurricane. Fortunately the water was also very clear. I started seeing teeth right away in the water and they were visible in as much as one foot of water. I made it all the way down to the point at the second bog, but no further as the water was quite high and the waders would not have helped as there would have been no beach to search. I just headed back and if not for it getting dark at 4:15 I probably would have found more. Quite a good day.

As for 2009, I made my first trip down on Saturday. It was supposed to be in the 50’s so I planned to make a day of it. As I got there, there were a few cars so I expected to find a few collectors. What I did not expect to find was the ice!!! The water was low and the ice extended from the waters edge out into the inlet for about 75 yards. My first thought was that this was going to be like a hillbilly reunion – not a lot of teeth. I decided to give it a go anyways. I walked past the first bog and decided to check along the tree line rather than the water. I found a few, but not much. Made my way past the second bog on the way to the southern cliffs. Still did not find much. I had hoped to go along the cliffs, but there was ice at the waters edge and icicles in the cliffs that were falling down in the warm weather. I bumped into another collector down there by the cliffs with all of the turitellas. He was not a familiar face and so I figured he was a (Calvert) ‘cliffie’ or a ‘Westie (Westmoreland). His comment “I wanted to find some big teeth” gave him away. I find that the other collectors are disappointed with the Paleocene site when they don’t find the big teeth. I just think (to the tune of Life During Wartime by the Talking Heads) ‘There ain’t no makos, there ain’t no meglas, there’s just ‘toads’ and stratos”. I picked up a few turitellas that still had some shell on them and headed back. The turitellas that still have shell remnant are falling from higher up the cliff, sorry don’t know much about ‘zones’ and instead of crumbling as they usually do they were staying intact. Headed back and found a few decent teeth at the sandbar, but it turned out to be the shortest day I have spent down there. Here’s hoping for better days.

I am posting some photos.
1. I don’t know what it is and any help would be appreciated
2. Vert with bone fragment. Looks like the end of a tail.
3 Paraorthacodus
4. Turitella – I find a few like this. They look pretty neat compared to the normal ones
5. Finds from 2008 including 3 paleocarcharadons upper left.
6-7 Saturday Feb 7. The micro tooth in the upper right appears to be a paleocarcharadon. It is partially white and has some paleo style serrations.
Location Potomac River, Maryland, USA

Date Added2/10/2009

What is it?
Like this type of turitella
2008 finds
Saturday Feb 7
Saturday close-up

Saturday on the Potomac
Saturday on the Potomac
Fossils for Fathers Day
Fossils for Fathers Day
Getting Nasty
Getting Nasty

Pics? - 2/11/2009
Reviewer : AlwaysLooking from
Total Rating : No Rating
Nice report. Need to repost the pcis though, they did not work.
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- 2/11/2009
Reviewer : atropicallondon from
Total Rating : No Rating
Nice finds. The first looks like a mammal tooth of some kind. No idea about the second. Love the multi-cusped teeth. You'll want to change the images to jpeg instead of tif. They can be viewed by clicking and downloading but it takes a while for some of the 4 mb pics.
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Nice Finds! - 2/11/2009
Reviewer : Tom from Maryland United States
Total Rating : 10
Hi Michael, those are some nice teeth! The tooth at the top right looks like a Houndshark tooth (Pachygaleus lefevrei) to me. Not as rare as a Paleo, but still a very nice find! Content Quality : 10 of 10

Drool Quotient : 10 of 10

Picture Quality : 10 of 10
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