Cooper River, South Carolina
Jekyll Island, Georgia
Venice Beach, Florida
September 11th-20th, 2009

Photos by:
Sandy Jacquot and Rick Jacquot

C. megalodon shark tooth. Miocene epoch.

Shark teeth.

Above two pics, one of the largest bones I have found in the river, just under 2 feet long. Usually you will find bone pieces on the river bottom about 6-8" long. This one survived the current and remained intact. It also has feeding damage from a shark showing on part of the bone.

The following pics are of my best find of the trip. I didn't even know what I had until I got home and began to examine the bone more closely. Sandy and I both decided that it was some sort of skull cap from an animal, we just couldn't figure out what kind. I searched through several fossil books and the closest thing I could find was a dugong skull cap. A dugong is an ancestor to the manatee.

I decided to send these pics to Dr. Richard Hulbert in Florida. He agreed that it was a dugong skull cap, but said it looked different than others he had seen, he suggested that I send the pics to another Paleontologist that specializes in dugongs and sirenia fossils. The following is what I got back from that Paleontologist:

"Dear Rick,

Thanks for sending these photos. Your skullcap looks similar though not identical to the Eocene ones from the Waccasassa River in Florida, which I think are a new genus of protosirenid sirenian and not a dugongid. Yours is likely to also be a protosirenid, and is presumably middle or late Eocene. Other Eocene sirenians are known from South Carolina, but so far none like this. I would call this a scientifically important specimen, and I would recommend that it or a replica of it be deposited in a public natural history museum for future study.

Please let me know if I can provide any other information; but as far as the identity of your beast goes, that’s about as much as can be said now. I hope you can turn up more of this species!

Daryl Domning

It is a great feeling to know that I have found the first fossil of this species in South Carolina. It re enforces the fact that the majority of important fossil finds are made by amateur collectors like myself and the others I dive with. Diving for fossils and artifacts opens new doors for collectors and helps science by making these finds that would otherwise go undiscovered.

I am sending the fossil to a company that specializes in fossil casts, once they are done, I will be sending the fossil to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC which is where the Paleontologists I have been corresponding with think it should be placed for further study. Finding specimens like this is what this hobby is all about!

More about the Sirenian Skullcap


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