Holiday Hunting at GMRIf one’s prosperity and success during any given year were measured by hours spent fossil hunting, 2013 would be one of my more dismal. It certainly wasn’t a bad year, but the world of fossil hunting seemed to be in a land far, far away. I’m hoping to visit that land a little more frequently in 2014 and have a couple of irons in the fire that will hopefully make that happen. The first iron is simply that my daughter get her driver’s license in June. My wife works overnights which leaves me as the only means for my daughter to get through the seemingly endless obstacle course of volleyball games, practices and tournaments that occupy her every moment outside of school. The other iron is the Christmas present from my family, a trailer for my 17” flatback canoe. I’ve had the canoe and outboard engine for 15 years and used to car-top it back when we had the vehicles that it could be car-topped on. Since moving to NC it hasn’t seen the light of day from under my deck. My son and I are already planning trips.
I was able to slip in one trip just under the wire for 2013. The family calendar was exhibiting an unusually wide open square on the Saturday after Christmas. The weather looked good though a little on the cold side. I left the house at around 5:45 with the temperature reading a balmy 28 deg. As I drove over the Tar River I couldn’t help but notice the tree trunks at the top of the bank dropping into the murky water; the river was very high. I really hadn’t considered the water level being an issue but it suddenly occurred to me that my hour and a half drive might be for nothing. As I crossed the stream near Green Springs Park I breathed a cautious sigh of relief as the water level while high, looked collectable. I found my way to a familiar spot and started filling the screen. I spent about 3 and a half hours on the stream and aside from one particular find it was a fairly lack-luster morning. But as is usually the case at GMR the potential for a single great find keeps the blood flowing during a sub-freezing morning. The water was about a foot and a half high making it tough to keep my hands and forearms dry; a real downer in cold weather collecting. After about 45 minutes of screening, while washing one particular load of gravel, I caught a glimpse of a decent sized conical indent of a reptilian tooth. I immediately stopped to pick it out. It was a mosasaur tooth about an inch and a half long! Aside from the very tip being broken off, it was in very nice condition; most of the original enamel was still intact. I gave a fist pump and placed it into a small container so it didn’t get damaged. This was my third mosasaur tooth from GMR and the nicest of the three; any additional finds would be gravy. The remainder of the morning didn’t yield any spectacular finds though I did find what I believe to be a small (sperm?) whale tooth. The finds were very few and far between with a small fish tooth and partial sawfish rostral tooth being the only other somewhat notable finds. By the time I left, the temperature was 55 deg; another great morning on the stream.
Happy New Year All!!
|Green Mill Run, North Carolina, USA
|I almost threw this back in the water but after looking at it a little closer determined it wasn’t an arbitrary rock. It looks like a small sperm whale tooth with the various layers wearing away. It’s hard to see in the picture but it also has a grove that runs along one side.
|Even though the tip is missing this is one of the better sawfish (Ischyrhiza mira/Cretaceous) rostral teeth I’ve found at GMR.
|An isolated fish crusher tooth (Anomaeodus phasolus/Cretaceous)