Monday, August 19, 2013

Excellent Day for FOSSILS on the Beach

Yesterday, instead of going to my regular Sunday morning Yoga class at Yoga Soup, I felt the pull to take a Fossil Walk on Hendry's beach. I was not disappointed. This rock is usually buried to the level of it's surface. Today, the entire rock was exposed, at least 20-24 inches of sand removed to expose all kinds of rocky gems and bony stories.

This pic was taken a few weeks ago. It is usually buried in the sand to a great extent and is identified by its circular  vertebrae in the rock.

This is my first viewing of this specimen but I have found similar fossils.

This wrangled bony mess is completely unidentifiable except for the tissue type. It bore the tell tale bony texture.

Here is a close up

Some smaller bones

My dolphin or whale skull that I can find almost every time.

Some interesting bones

I really wish I had a more solid foundation in comparative anatomy. 
I can't even begin to guess what part of the body these bones are from or from what kind of animal. The problem with fossils is that after the animal dies and becomes buried in the soil and sediment that becomes the rocky matrix that allow the bones to become fossilized (actually become minerals themselves), much movement can and does happen. Bones can become crushed and misshapen while they are still "bones" or can become distorted as fossils during plate tectonic uplifting, which is very obviously a possibility on Hendry's (AKA Arroyo Burro Beach). It becomes a three dimensional puzzle with many missing pieces.

I was  most excited about the following stone which was small enough for me to carry home for detailed analysis. It is laden with bony tissue and contains what looks like a tooth! I have been actively looking for teeth for six months now. I am very excited.

The "tooth" is a different color and texture than the bone which you would expect. Dental tissue is more dense than bone. There also seems to be a physical division of the cutting surface as opposed to the implanted surface.

More tissue in the tooth rock

another edge of the same rock. Possible another tooth where the rock is grey.
As an amateur paleontologist with a deep passion, I will continue to hone my vision for finding these amazing vertebrate fossils. As far as I know, there isn't any published literature on these fossils. I would love to someday work with a PhD student (or become one) and try to solve the mystery of what these animals were.

If you read this whole thing, you must be a total geek. Go ahead and admit it.

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