A 3 Day Fossil Frenzy and my 1st Fossil Dive
Plus a squalodon skull! Updated 8/19/03
For a few days at the end of July, I headed down to Maryland for some fossil collecting,
and mainly to visit and meet some collecting buddies, Paul, Ditchweezil, and his dad. Ditchweezil
wanted to have a go at diving the cliffs and I was eager to make my first fossil dive, so it
worked out nicely.
I havn't collected much this year, so I was anxious to collect. I headed down a few days before they arrived to do some collecting
on my own…
The first spot I hit was along the Potomac river.
I was looking for those elusive otodus from the Aquia formation, I ended up finding a few small
ones, better than nothing!
After hitting the stinky/slimy Potomac, I made a bee line toward the
Calvert cliffs with visions of megalodons, winning lotto tickets,
and sugar plum fairies (All equally elusive).
My stop was along Brownies beach. There, I found it already heavily collected. I saw 1
collector with a meg but that was it. However, all was not lost. I did find my first ray
dermal scute, and a small thresher shark tooth.
On my second fossil frenzy day, I decided to do a massive beach comb along the
Choptank formation. I covered a little over 10 miles looking for fossils. As
the image shows, I didn’t find much. O well, the walk had some nice scenery
and it was worth the exercise.
After returning and recuperating from my walk, I noticed the days 2nd low tide was
fast approaching. I quickly went back to Brownies beach, as this beach is always fun
to collect at. This time I found a really nice mako, a hair under 2”, with absolutely beautiful
coloration. Although it wasn’t a meg, it quenched my fossil appetite for a brief time.
This was the day to meet Ditchweezil and go diving. Paul was to show
him around the cliffs area, in which he did a very good job. We first hit a private spot.
Here, we all almost got killed when part of the cliffs collapsed on
us! Luckily we all escaped into the water fast enough. Ditchweezil talks of gators in SC, but I
these cliffs in MD are more dangerous. However, it was worth the risk, as Ditchweezil found
a small meg with just a little tip damage, and Paul found a perfect 2.75" meg.
We then briefly hit a spot to view the formation that we were to look for underwater while
diving. After that
we dove! Well, sorta. After placing all my dive gear on, I walked toward the water and
stubbed my toe on a rock big time! I lost the toenail, and now realize I fractured the toe.
Thankfully, Paul got me some bandages, I wrapped my toe up extra tight, and soon enough
was ready to dive again! I was more careful this time when entering the water. I have also decided
it is very important to purchase a pair of dive boots.
The dive almost completely sucked! I felt bad for Ditchweezil and his dad, who traveled all this
way just to dive in an unroductive spot. It was suppose to be a good spot, with a shelf in about 15' of water. However,
we couldn't find a 15' spot to save our lives. I think the
shifting sands covered the area we were looking for. Anyhow, I ended up finding a little
chipped up meg, Ditchweezil found some kind of big beat up thresher tooth, and his dad found
a very nice rear of a juvenile whale skull.
After the dive, the SC hunters headed off. Paul and I ended up hitting a private spot
along the cliffs. There, Paul found the tiniest meg I have ever seen, and I found
some pieces of megs.
*** Update: ***
After the SC hunters left, Paul and I still had an appetite for fossils.. We headed to a private spot along the cliffs.
We found some small teeth, however, what I couldn't tell you until it was
excavated, was that I spied a few bones barely sticking out of the cliffs.
After inspecting the bones, we both concluded it was
part of a skull that had just started to erode out of the cliffs.
We obtained the GPS coordinates and quickly hid the bones with mud (to keep hackers at bay).
When I got home, I emailed Stephen Godfrey from the
CMM about the discovery. Him and Bill Counterman soon went
to the spot and excavated the skull. It turned out to be a squalodon skull!!! No teeth, and the
front of the snout is broken off, and there is no jaw.. But for a squalodon skull, that's
Thus ends the 3 day fossil frenzy, no big meg for me, but one squalodon. It was a nice
trip (besides the toe incident).
More Fossils Found
Here's a pic of the bones sticking from the cliffs when I found the skull. The dime is
obviously for scale! Look closely, just below the dime and also just to the upper right of
the dime are parts of the squamosal (rear of skull) sticking out.
Here, Bill is digging around the skull
The skull is now jacketed and ready to be taken out.
Paul is posing with the skull as it awaits preperation at the
CMM. It is currently
being prepped and looks to be a squalodon skull.
Here's a pic of a little beat up vert I prepped still in matrix that Paul found.
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