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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Long in the tooth?

While walking on the beach today, this object caught my eye:


We picked it up for a closer look:

It seemed like a tooth...but from what type of animal? 

My mind considered some exotic possibilities:

Could it be a Sperm Whale (Physeter macrocephalus) tooth?  

An Orca (Orcinus orca) tooth?  

Or a Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus) tooth?

A little later I thought, how about a Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis) tooth?  

Eric even wondered about part of a Woolly Mammoth (Mammuthus primigenius) tooth?

Well, I don't know for sure that it's a tooth, but it's fun to think about the options.  It could be a different type of bone (and note: I think it might be fossilized.) 

Here's a photo with a ruler for scale.  It's ~5 cm (2 inches) long.

If you have ideas about what this is and what type of animal it's from, I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Carl Mehling said...

Hi Jackie,
It's almost certainly not a tooth. The closest thing I can figure is that it's a piece of a large barnacle. Or at least part of some marine invertebrate shell. You should also post this to the Fossil Forum, which is a fantastically skilled group of amateurs and professionals. I bet they could add something here.

Carl Mehling
Fossil Amphibian, Reptile, and Bird Collections
Division of Paleontology
American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street
New York, NY 10024

marni said...

A friend of mine thinks it's a barnacle!

Jackie Sones said...

Hi, Carl and Marni,

Thanks so much for your help. I'll work on posting a photo to the Fossil Forum.

It's strange -- our instincts didn't point to invertebrate at all.

Although I can see why some have suggested barnacle -- the outer sculpturing has some similarities to other barnacle plates we've seen -- the overall shape and structure doesn't seem right for a barnacle.

We'll keep working on it! All suggestions are welcome.


Darris said...

The curve, color and heft would have me believe it was a tooth . . . beautiful whatever it is . . .