(NON-CEPH). Please help me ID this tooth!

Discussion in 'Cephalopod Fossils' started by Phil, Jul 24, 2003.

  1. Phil

    Phil Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Attached is a picture of a tooth I found in the 100mya clays at Folkestone in Kent (UK). I suspect it might be some form of marine reptile, though I do not think it is conical enough. Another option might be that it is from some form of marine crocodile.

    It is beautifully preserved, even down to the enamel and is just over 1.5 inches long. There are no serrated edges to the tooth though it does have two slight ridges extending from the root to the tip.

    Any help in identifying this tooth would be appreciated.

    Cheers!
     
  2. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Hi Phil!

    Looks like a crocodilian tooth of some sort tooth... Swear the dentition looks thecodont. Any thoughts?

    John
     
  3. Phil

    Phil Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Thanks very much, John.

    I think you might be right about the crocodilian form. However, It could not be a thecodont because it simply is not old enough; this tooth is early Cretaceous and the thecodonts existed in the Triassic. However, if I remember rightly, the thecodonts were the ancestors of the crocodilians so, as you point out, there should be a similarity.

    I'll see if I can find some pictures of crocodile and thecodont teeth to compare.

    Phil
     
  4. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Actually, maybe I'm a little rusty on the lingo (its been years since my last herp class), but I think "thecodont" also deals with the style of dentition (in this case, crocodilians). I may be wrong. I need to look it up.

    You know, I totally forgot about the Thecodonts themselves... Soooo... Yeah, I should look that up.

    I still think its reptilian. You said it was about 110 myo? What was the particular strata in which you found the tooth back then?

    This is interesting... :D
     
  5. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Heya Phil...

    Yeah, I looked it up... It seems thecodont dentition is a form of dentition first found in the Thecodonts themselves. Its a type of dentition where the roots of the teeth are in sockets (alveoli) in the jawbone. And yes, that's the type Crocodilians have.

    I think you have a Croc tooth, but as to freshie or saltie I have no clue.

    John
     
  6. Phil

    Phil Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Howdo John.

    Thanks for the information as ever.

    Just looked 'Thecodont' up in the Collins English dictionary. It seems that the word is indeed a noun and an adjective. Here's what it said:

    thecodont

    adjective
    1 (of mammals and certain reptiles) having teeth that grow in sockets
    2 of or relating to teeth of this type

    noun
    3 any extinct reptile of the order Thecodontia, of Triassic times, having teeth set in sockets: they gave rise to the dinosaurs, crocodiles, pterodactyls, and birds
    [ETYMOLOGY: 20th Century: New Latin Thecondontia, from Greek theke case + -odont]


    Seems you learn something every day!

    Thanks again.......

    The Thecodont Hunter.
     
  7. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    Phil,

    Aye, I remember looking up definitions for "paedomorphosis" and "neotenty" for another forum almost a year ago. Sometimes I forget about multiple meanings. :lol:

    Any new thoughts on what it could be?

    John
     
  8. Phil

    Phil Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    John,

    I watched a programme featuring many shots of crocodiles last night on BBC1 (even though it was about the Loch Ness Monster, don't ask). I must admit, I was struck by similarity of crocodile teeth to my fossil, even down to the ridges. I think you are right!

    I can only assume it came from a 100 million year old marine crocodile as it was found in a clay deposit containing numerous belemnites, bivalves, ammonites, crinoid stems, etc. None of those are known from freshwater deposits as far as I am aware.

    Thanks again!
     
  9. Fujisawas Sake

    Fujisawas Sake Larger Pacific Striped Octopus Supporter Registered

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    No problem, Phil... Actually, I was remembering my herpetology classes and my internship in Florida, where the gators are large and in charge. Crocodilians (both freshies and salties) tend to have the same teeth styles. And heck, the thecodont dentition has been aorund long enough right?

    :)

    Sushi and Sake,

    John
     
  10. Architeuthoceras

    Architeuthoceras Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

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    Phil,
    I would say it is Mosasaur, seems to me croc teeth are straighter and more conical. Check the links below and compare some of them to your specimen. The root looks a little different but they have the same recurved shape.


    Mosasaur Teeth 1
    See the SOLD specimen

    Mosasaur Teeth 2
    at the bottom of the page

    Let me know what you think. Remember, I'm not the Crocodile Hunter.

    :ammonite: :nautilus: :ammonite: :nautilus:
     
  11. fluffysquid

    fluffysquid Vampyroteuthis Registered

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    Hm... i don't know. I've seen lots of mosasaur teeth and that does not look like one.
     
  12. Phil

    Phil Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Thanks for the link, Kevin.

    Hmmm.....................Mosasaur tooth, could be?

    Attached is a photo of four Mosasaur teeth from Cretaceous period Morocco to compare placed next to my mystery tooth. These teeth seem to have a much rounder cross section than my tooth and have subtle striations running from the root to the tip, a feature that my tooth does not have. They also seem to be more conical. As you can see from the other (slightly blurry) attached photo, my tooth is very flat in profile.

    (Apologies for the lack of scale, I can't seem to locate my tape measure. The mosasaur teeth are about 30mm).

    Increasingly confused.......
     
  13. Architeuthoceras

    Architeuthoceras Architeuthis Staff Member Moderator

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    Phil,
    I had a look at some mosasaur and croc teeth in the museum the other day. Seems that the cretaceous mosasaur they have has teeth that are slightly recurved and almost square, two opposite corners of which are ridges running from the tip to the root (no serrations), but a few towards the back of the jaw were compressed a little, they had very faint striations. All the Croc teeth they have had fairly strong striations running from the tip to the root, some are conical, and some are compressed, some are straight and some are recurved, they are mostly Jurassic fresh water crocs. I didnt see any pliosaur or pleisiosaur teeth to compare. I guess we need a vertebrate expert here on tonmo.

    Good Luck. :ammonite:
     
  14. Phil

    Phil Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Thanks for looking for me, Kevin.

    I must admit, I am leaning back towards the mosasaur origin myself due to the lack of striations; the tooth really is quite smooth apart from the two slightly raised ridges. I had thought that, just possibly, the tooth had worn smooth due to abrasion as it was found washed out amongst some shingle on the beach surrounded by clay boulders, but I'm sure the tooth would have been polished all over, not just the crown, if this had happened.

    I have seen plesiosaur teeth before in the BMNH in London and these appear more conical with clear scriations, like a croc.

    Oh maybe I should just give up! Back to day job for me.........
     
  15. Neale Monks

    Neale Monks Cuttlefish Registered

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    Phil,

    Send it into the Natural History Museum, care of Simone Wells (see below). The museum undertake identifications, for free, as part of their responsibility to the Great British Public. It'll get named down to species if possible. You can mail it, but I'd recommend going in in person (make an appointment though) and that way you won't have the risk of the thing getting lost in the post. The museum has tonnes of Gault Clay fossils, and identifying this beastie should be quite easy.

    Sincerely,

    Neale

    --------

    Simone Wells
    Enquiries Officer
    Department of Palaeontology
    The Natural History Museum
    Cromwell Rd
    LondonĀ  SW7 5BD
    020 7942 5482
    palaeo-enquiries@nhm.ac.uk
     
  16. Phil

    Phil Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Neale,

    Thanks for the tip; I'll do exactly as you suggest.

    Apologies for the delay in replying: I've just got back from holiday!

    Thanks,

    Phil
     
  17. Phil

    Phil Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    If anyone remembers this old thread, I had a fossil expert look at the tooth a couple of weeks ago. Turns out it is mammalian, probably a dog or a wolf. The tooth is certainly not recent, though it was found on the beach that lay below a Roman villa situated on a small cliff at Folkestone in Kent. Chances are it probably washed out of a Roman rubbish pit as the villa is very close to the cliff edge, and weathering has taken its toll on the site. Previously I have found a small piece of Roman pottery at the base of the cliff underlying the villa.

    The confusion I made is that the beach is flat and sandy and tapers out to rockpools that frequently contain Cretaceous remains and ammonites, these wash out of the clay that are situated just a few tens of meters away. It seems the tidal action may have mixed up the deposits.

    Disappointing? Yes. But at least I now know what the thing is, and I'd rather that than remain an enigma in my collection.

    There are a few details about the villa here if anyone is curious.
     

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