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There's teeth in them there hills!

I got an invite back to Digger-Daddy's place and that is mighty tough to pass on. I invited some other members of the BRF brotherhood to attend and only got 1 taker - Rivrdigr. The trip started when we got there on Thursday and met Digger-Daddy over at the museum, which is basically a storehouse for his personal collection. He gave us a personal tour of the collection and caught me up on the changes since my last trip out. We were so tired that we thought about heading back for a nap at the hotel, but instead decided to head out a make a dry run to the hunting grounds in preparation for the Friday dig. Friday's dig started early - Caldigger, Digger-Daddy, Rivrdigr and myself headed over to get the tools (hammers, spikes, shovels, jackhammer and generator) and then headed over to the collecting area. We got a quick overview of the area, everyone picked their spot, and we did a little 'site cleaning' and got to work. Each of us was finding some small stuff and rivrdigr was keeping pretty quiet. The first emotion we got to see out of him was when he said 'you need to see this'. We knew it was something good and went over to spot a monster tip sticking out of the clay. He got to work exposing it and taking pictures, and Caldigr and I went back to work with new inspiration. As it turns out Rivrdigr had a charmed day and the big meg was just the tip - check out his post, but it also included a free beer at the restaurant and a $1 bottle or Motrin later on. Caldigger was next to hit a big tooth - a large mako and I was left thinking i had picked a pretty crappy spot. Eventually, I put the spike in the right spot and when I pried up the chunk, a big upper hatalis fell out (pics included). That got me going again and I was sure it had family nearby. As it turns out, it was the biggest tooth in my hole for the day. However, there were lots of other good finds for the day and any day hunting is better than not :) Other neat stuff included a cool whale tooth (aulophyseter morricei) which is lower right and thin/curved and 3-toed dear phalange (so i am told) which is upper left in the picture and looks like 2 dog bones fused together.
Day 2 of the hunt. The sore hands and back had set in and it was time to overcome and focus on the teeth. We got there early to help DiggerDaddy set up for the public dig. We looked over and marked off the whale skull that was exposed in the area. It was unusual because full skeleton's are not usually found in this layer, but here it was. The rostrum had broken free from the rest of the skull and the body was scattered behind, and it made for a cool sight. When the people arrived for the dig, we got down to business. My spot started off very hot. My first 3 chunks I worked off had a nice tooth in them or exposed. After that it was a lot of work for not a lot of teeth to follow. I came across a pretty decent hemi and it was funny because unlike on the east side of the US where they are plentiful, they are very rare and usually small when you do find them. Ironically enough, both RivrDigr and I found nice ones that seemed to really excite everyone but us. Anyway, other finds for the day were a nice shark vert, angel shark teeth, and dog-shark teeth. My hope when i go to STH is always for big hastalis every day, and today i failed to come through.
Day 3 of the hunt. On top of the sore hands and back, the bruises from all of the missed hammer swings are compounding the issue. The public dig moved to a new location 'slow curve' which was our dig location from last year. DiggerDaddy had the loader come through and remove a new scoop width so there was fresh area. RivrDigr and I started in what we thought was promising area of fresh scrape. After dorking around thinking we had to dig down, we found the layer in the hill instead. I was not getting much, so i moved around the corner over by CalDigger. The other major advantage of this area was that it was in the shade, and with temps up around 90, that was a welcome change. When I met up with RivrDigr later - or more to the point got 'down-wind' from him, I realized what a great move the shade had been :) Over in my new area i worked into the hill and hit a bunch of bone layer. I was getting frustrated because all I was getting was bone. Then I saw a piece of bone sticking out and took a closer look because it didn't look like the rest of the bone I was pulling out. Luckily for me, it turned out to be a tooth, and a nice big juicy lower hastalis at that (pics). It was nearly a perfect match for the upper i found previously. The section where that tooth was turned out to be pretty productive, and i pulled a number of nice teeth from a section about 2 feeth wide. The trip was about over and it was time to head for the airport. Rivrdigr and I took a quick roadside shower for the benefit of our plane-mates and headed out. I am anxious to go back again.
Location Sharktooth Hill, Bakersfield, California, USA

Date Added10/21/2006

the take from day 1.
The haul from day 2
The baleen whale skeleton
The skull of the whale; the rostrum has broken free.
One of the matrix shots
favorite matrix piece of the day
The haul from day 3

Lovely lower
Lovely lower
Juicy Mako
Juicy Mako





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