Small Mammal, Gar, Small Claws and Misc. Bones
Here is a world class fossil. It is the right jaw of a Cretaceous marsupial named Didelphodon. It compliments very nicely a left jaw from the same animal in repository at UC Berkeley. The teeth are all worn which may be an indication that this fellow ate snails and clams as part of his diet. He may have also been aquatic. This specimen is certainly one of the finest from this elusive creature. It is also on repository now for study and pubilcation.
It is really easy to overlook the really small bones and parts while you are looking through quantities of sand and gravel. I personally find more satisfaction finding a tiny toe bone from a little critter than from a huge ceratopsian. This assemblage is from my site 4 and represents several different kinds of animals from reptile, baby dino, mammal and amphibian. Other sites have also produces a similar faunal assemblage though they appear to show subtle differences in relative abundance of different creatures. My population sample is still low but will grow over the next few years. These bones were often found visually in freshly dug sediment with only a bit of color showing through the moist sand clump surrounding each bone. Each is a treasured addition to the collection.
The remainder of the fossils on this page show some of the variety that a good microsite can produce. I have the opportunity over the next few years to sieve more sand and collect many more of these. Two of the bottom 5 bones on this photo belonged to mammals. Can you guess which? The green squares are an inch on a side.
Here are two really small pes unguals (hoofs or claws depending) from a very small dino perhaps Ornithomimus sp. They are so small it is hard to identify them. They came from my microsite #3 and the scale is an inch square. As you can imagine, attention to detail is required to find this kind of specimen. My process anymore is to pick up any and all fossil material in the field, bag it, take it home and study everything under magnification and good lighting. I avoid throwing nice things away and crushing little things trying to clean off sand with gloves on that way.
Nice crocodile tooth with root. The scale is in mm.
A very small claw probably from a turtle. Scale is in mm.
A Stingray tooth (Myledaphus bipartus) scale is in mm. Rare at this outcrop but generally common.
These are scales from the alligator garfish. They are usually quite common in microsites but most of these are unusually large. Typically you find scales averaging the size of the smallest one in this photo. They are very easy to see and are a big sign that says “dig here”. They usually point the way to a good microsite. The squares behind are an inch on each side. Compare these to the modified scale in the photo in the center of the row below.
Here is the acid etched mammal jaw (m1 and m2 of Cimolodon nitidus probably) that came out with the T-Rex tooth on the main dino page.
Individual mammal tooth (therian) w/ one root. Scale is in mm.
A partial gar scale from the the fins. Atypical for what I usually find. Scale is in mm.
This one is broken but what a beautiful surface. It is probably another Paronychodon tooth.
3 molar mammal jaw segment. The lines are 1 inch apart.
Mammal molar. The square is a 1 inch grid.
Mammal molar. Same scale as above.
Yet another isolated mammal molar. Same scale.
Toothless jaw segment.
Mammal molar partial.
This lizard jaw is very small (3mm. long)