Calvert Cliffs , Potomac River , & Patuxant River

Maryland Summer Trip
July 14-18th, 2005

"A fossil spot along the Calvert Cliffs"

Months and months ago, Paul and I had a conversation similar to what follows:

“Would you like to help do a fossil presentation for some cub scouts this summer?” Asked Paul.

“How many?” I asked.

“A few hundred.” Replied Paul.

“Who will be helping?” I whimpered.

“Just me, and hopefully you.”

“Where at?” I asked in a quivering voice.

“Near Philadelphia.” Was his reply (which is hundreds of miles from where I live).

I then ran the figures through my head and did the math:
A few hundred cub scouts + two fossil enthusiasts = death of two fossil enthusiasts.

After my lightning fast calculations, I told him in a commanding voice, “Yes, I will help!”

Now, why the heck would I do such a suicidal thing??? Well, bribery of course!!! See, Paul bribed me with a 4-day fossil trip to explore various spots along the bay, Potomac, and Patuxent Rivers with his small boat. How could any fossil nut pass that opportunity up?

So, months passed, and it was finally time to take the trip!

Thursday: The Cub Scouts

The Plan: Give a ~10 minute presentation on fossils and fossil sharks, then let them dig their own fossils from a few truckloads of Pungo River sediments from Aurora, NC that Paul hauled up. Repeat this all day long.

To my relief, the cub scouts were great! They loved the presentations, and loved digging for their own fossils. The day flew by, all kids were happy, and some found some great stuff, such as a pristine megalodon posterior, and a squalodon tooth. Also, most found at least pieces of megalodon teeth. All left happy and hopefully educated. I can’t wait to help out again.

Unfortunately, my old Buick died on the way back from the cub scouts. I had to take its dying transmission to a garage that night to have them repair it over the weekend. Also, Paul’s wife also had trouble with her car. We therefore needed to take her somewhere that night with the only working vehicle. After the fiasco was over, we didn’t get to bed until around midnight that night.

Giving the ~10 minute presentation

Here, the scouts are searching some Pungo reject material from the PCS mine in NC. Paul hauled 4 truckloads of this stuff up last collecting season!

Friday: The 1st day

The Plan: Wake up SUPER EARLY and leave around 2:00 am and go to a spot with St. Mary’s formation exposed along the Calvert cliffs, check into a hotel, eat, then hit other spots along the Calvert cliffs.

Getting only 2 hrs of sleep kind of sucked, especially for the long day ahead of us. We ended up sleeping at some rest stop on the way to the bay, and thus didn’t get there on time. O well, at least we wouldn’t be sleep walking the next day.

Our first stop was a private area with St. Mary’s formation exposed. There is some neat stuff that one can find there, but we didn’t find much of anything that morning.

Our second stop was another spot only accessible by boat. As we pulled up, I suggested one of us go one north, and the other go south. I headed north and found almost nothing. Paul headed south, and made his best find of the trip, a beautiful 3 7/16” megalodon tooth. He also found a large 2 1/4” mako tooth.

Our third stop was another spot along the Calvert cliffs. We both found a few nice small teeth, including some nice hemmi’s, but that was about it.

Last Stop: Hotel to get sleep!

This is the nice 3 7/8" Choptank megalodon Paul found

Saturday: The 2nd day

The Plan: wake up VERY EARLY and Launch the boat on the Potomac, hit a few Paleocene spots and a spot with Paleocene, Eocene, and Miocene, and maybe Oligocene, and possibly Pliocene all exposed at once (VERY confusing place), then load up the boat, and re-launch it along the Patuxent river and go to some Miocene spots.

Sat morning, we awoke, met up with a local, Paleoscan, who has a place along the cliffs. He also has an awesome custom boat. It has a sleek hull and a foreword facing row system, making it a relatively fast boat. The name: “Squalicorax.”

Anyhow, no one did terribly well at the Paleocene spots along the Potomac, we all had a dozen or so small sand tiger shark teeth, and Paul found some small crocodile teeth.

After the Paleocene spots were well searched, we headed to a place where one can find intermediary teeth. These teeth are interesting. They are a cross between an otodus tooth and an auriculatus tooth. They have the shape of an otodus, but the root is similar to an auriculatus, and the wild thing is that only half their blade is serrated. These teeth are not flukes, they can regularly be found at this spot… Evolution in action! Anyhow, no one found one this day.. I’ll have to return there though! I must find one of these transitional teeth!

Paleoscans awesome "Squalicorax"

Here is Paul and Paleoscan a spot along the Potomac.

These are some of the transitional teeth that Paleoscan found. These are apparently part otodus and part auriculatus. This picture is a little blurry, but the serrations only go 1/2 way up the blade, and they are not pathological!

Sunday: The 3rd day

The Plan: Wake up VERY EARLY hit a promising spot along the Calvert Cliffs, then at 2nd low tide hit another spot along the cliffs.

Exhausted beyond belief, we awoke and made a bee line toward the Clavert Cliffs. There, Paul found 2 more meg/chubutensis teeth. A kayaker who pulled up in fron of us also found a nice chubutensis tooth. I found only a fragment of a meg tooth. We both found allot of nice smaller teeth, such as mako’s, hemmi’s, etc.. Also, I came out with a beat up vert in matrix and Paul found a 2-foot section of baleen whale jaw. We both left happy. Since so many meg teeth were found at this spot, we decided to go back to it for the 2nd low tide. So that afternoon, we picked up Paleoscan and headed back to this spot. Once there, Paleoscan found a small (~2”), but pristine meg tooth, and I finally found 2 meg teeth, they were only 1 7/8” and 1/2”, but I was happy. I also found a beautiful cow shark tooth. Everyone left with some nice stuff.

On a side note, I always assumed you could not pick up chicks with fossils. Paul, Paleoscan, and I had a short conversation that morning and unanimously agreed this is a foolish idea. However, when leaving this spot 2 wave runners fast approached us with 3 fossil hunting chicks on them. They specifically stopped to ogle our fossils. Naturally, I quickly whipped my meg out of my pocket. Squeals of excitement immediately ensued. Paleoscan quickly followed suit, and had similar results. Paul wished he had brought his 3 7/8" meg tooth with him from the other day. So, I ask… Can you pick up chicks via fossils??? Paul, Paleoscan and I now have to ponder this question and rethink our previous unanimous answer.

That night, we were treated to a cookout at Paleoscans place. Thank you! Awesome EGG cooker!

Here is the nice ~2" megalodon that Paleoscan found.

These are two of my better finds at this Calvert Cliff spot.

Monday: The 4th Day

The Plan: Wake up VERY EARLY AGAIN and hit the same spot as yesterday since it has been so kind to us.

We woke up entirely too exhausted and headed to the cliffs. This day we decided to leave early so that the searing 90+ heat would not smelt our exhausted/dehydrated bodies. We found a few small teeth, but nothing note worthy. We left for home around 1:00. Once at Paul’s house, I stayed the night so I could pick up my dying car the next day. The car just has too many fossiltrips under its belt.

Here are some of Pauls better finds from the trip

Here are some of my finds from the trip.

This is the beat up vert in matrix that I found.

Paul has also posted his perspective of this trip at Black River Fossils. Be sure to check it out. It has some more pics of fossils found not shown here. Look for the Maryland July 2005 3 day trip.

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