Wednesday, February 26, 2014

More Vertebrate Fossils in Santa Barbara

I have found so many new vertebrate fossil specimens in the last two weeks that I have stopped photographing them all. My curiosity is truly piqued and I look forward to a day when I can gain confirmation about the animals I am seeing here. These specimens are from Mesa Lane in Santa Barbara, moving east. The sand covers and then reveals them based on swells and tides. They are absolutely everywhere.  If nothing else, I feel so honored to be able to bear witness to their existence and touch the fossilized remains of creatures from SO long ago.

For scale, I have been placing my feet in the shots. Sorry about my mangled right foot. It will tell a great story as a fossil someday.

The fossil beds are SO rich during a low tide. They are beautiful, mysterious and highly inviting.

Compression adds to the mystery of what these bones are.

Beautiful fossil exposed through erosion.

An interesting cross section of a vertebrae perhaps?

This is possible teeth or stomach contents. The dark spots were dense like teeth might be.

This specimen is interesting in that the joint tissue has fossilized differently.

These are either teeth or small bones like ribs.

Possible teeth 

This and the following two are the same specimen

The side view offers a view of a very large bone

This and the following three pictures represent the same specimen.

This specimen may have been captured previously but is now partially buried.

As always, Thank you for reading and sharing my finds with me. I believe this bed of fossil pieces would make a great PhD thesis project for some eager vertebrate paleontology student. There are so many questions that can be answered here. I would love to partake in such a study! Until then, I will keep photographing the specimens I find and continue to learn about the morphology of large miocene vertebrates from the Pacific Coast of North America.

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