(Before we joined on the 7th the rest of the team of seniors and graduate students in the Virgin Islands for the yearly 2 week university summer field trip, I wanted to show Annea over a week some of my old haunts on the Florida West coast during my marine studies in 85-99.)Trip 1, (6 hours)- "Shark Tooth Capital of the World": Caspersen Beach, Venice, Florida USA 7/1/14 (Miocene, Bone Valley formation). Venice/Caspersen Beach is about 2/3 way down the West Florida coast, various species of fossil small reef sharks are found along this shoreline due to an ancient Miocene reef that lies â½ to 1 mile off the coastline and as the soft rock of the reef erodes, the teeth are freed to wash up on the beaches. Divers in deeper water collect buckets of teeth, but it has become harder for beach combers and waders to collect since in 1996 whenVenice began restoring eroding beaches with sand pumped in from miles away to add 200 feet of sand where there was none before, so the original offshore beach sediments are now covered by 15 to 20 feet of dredged sand. I had read it was a lot harder to find the teeth now and it was, it took us about 6 hours of waist deep wading with a scoop and screen washing bottom sediment to collect what I used to collect in the late 80¢¢â¬¢â¢s in an hour.
There are a wide variety of species of fossil shark teeth, a few I spot identified as: Sandtiger Shark Carcharias reticulata, C. cuspidata; White Shark Carcharodon carcharias; Tiger Shark Galeocerdo contortus, & G. cuvier ;Dusky Shark Carcharhinus obscurus; Bull Shark Carcharhinus leucas; Oceanic Whitetip Shark Carcharhinus longmanus; Lemon Shark Negaprion brevirostris
The big prize at Capersen are the much rarer teeth of Carcharodon megalodon, a 15 metres (fifty-two feet) long ancestor of the great white shark. Teeth can reach 7 inches in size.
We had a nice 6 hours in the surf, sun and sand, Annea enjoyed collecting something besides her usual microfossil goop, especially since about 45 minutes into the hunt she found the first megalodon and spent the rest of the day reminding me that "mine is bigger than yours". We also ended up with a 10 gallon bucket of various modern seashells in excellent condition, four baggies stuffed with small fossil reef shark teeth, two megalodon partials 50%-75% complete, and we each found a perfect specimen, although (sigh) hers really was bigger than mine. Everything was packed and mailed home for eventual sorting and identification this fall & winter.[attach:fileid=uploads/3312/3_one_of_4_baggies_of_Miocene_small_reef_shark_teeth_7-1-14.JPG]
3) one of 4 baggies of Miocene small reef shark teeth 7-1-14
4) Annea's 5.5 inch Megalodon tooth 7-1-14
7) Rick's Megalodon tooth, 3.5 inches 7-1-14
10) beyond surf line where we were collecting shark's teeth we filled a 10 gal. bucket of modern small shells 1- 3 inches for the twins & garden pool 7-1-14
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