Posts Tagged ‘protosphyraena’

A Rare Find

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My son was stationed at Fort Riley, and took my husband and I fossil hunting in the Niobrara Chalk of Kansas in October of 2003.

The chalk formed from an inland sea that divided North America during the age of dinosaurs.

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This is my husband. We found jaws, teeth and bones either sticking out of the chalk and laying about.

Keith had told me that if I found anything good that was embedded in the chalk, to leave my fossil bag by it, and come and get him. Otherwise I’d never find the fossils again. (Besides, I had no idea how to safely remove fossils from the chalk.)

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Luckily, he told me that, otherwise I definitely wouldn’t have found these 31 vertebrae again. The chalk had eroded down enough to completely separate them from it.

(The biggest one measures an inch in diameter.)

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What makes them so rare is that they’re shark vertebrae.

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 Shark vertebrae are made of cartilage, not bone, and are rarely preserved.

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When I went to find Keith, I found him 15 feet high on a small ledge cutting out a protosphyraena  fin (swordfish). Obviously, I had to wait until he was done.

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Later after cleaning the fossil and reshaping the chalk, he gave it to me on Christmas. The fin measures 11 1/2 inches long. It’s now displayed on a bookcase in my living room.

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Anyone wanting more information on the chalk and fossils of Kansas might visit:

http://oceansofkansas.com/

and

 for protosphyraena:

http://www.oceansofkansas.com/protosphyr.html

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