On the negative side 3

teeth on unknown extinct ungulate
So, this is one of those regrets from my past – admittedly minor, and when examined it becomes more a matter of perspective than anything. Let me explain.

In 1993 I think, when visiting a friend who lived on the edge of a bog in Georgia, I had been wandering the bog in pursuit of the little crabs there when I stumbled across an odd object, and soon afterward another. They were lying right on the surface, having been exposed by the flood-and-subside action of the area, and I spent some time examining them to determine what they were – obviously, perhaps, because that’s what you’re seeing above. Notably, there were ‘cores’ within those rippled sections that almost resembled insulated wire, but no metal to be found. The interesting part was, they resembled bone in texture and coloration, but fairly dense stuff, not the porous and light femurs that I’ve found before. I puzzled over these for a long time, well aware that my impressions and guesswork were only that.

My cousin eventually took them into the college where he worked and found someone in one of the departments that was familiar with fossils, who recognized them as teeth – I had never seen the prodigious molars of either a cow or an elephant, so the resemblance to those was out of my experience. Moreover, this gentleman pronounced them as being between ten thousand and five million years old, which was the timeframe that the species, some cloven-hoofed ungulate, had been pushed that far south by the North American glaciation. He provided a family or order name, which I remember was close to an existing species in word structure – and that’s all I can remember.

Worse, I lost them several years later, and this is the only photograph I have of them. So I’m not likely to have them identified again, and of course don’t have them to fiddle with while deep in thought. This is very annoying.

And because I’m that way, I ask myself why I’m annoyed. They are items of interest primarily because of their age, and if I didn’t know that I would find them a curious shape and nothing else. They were in a location that virtually guaranteed no other remains being found, either of the owner or even of other examples of the teeth. I find it cool that I stumbled across something so old, but really, that’s about it. Minor conversation pieces. Nevertheless, I still wish I had them.

I was using an Olympus OM-10 for this photo, if I remember right, and didn’t even have a flash for it at the time, much less a decent macro lens, so this is likely taken with a 50mm f1.4 – I distinctly recall positioning a desk lamp to try and illuminate them adequately. I’m pretty sure you’re looking at the top of the teeth, the occluding surfaces that did all the grinding – they stood on edge in the creature’s jaw. If you recognize them, feel free to enlighten me, and at least alleviate that aspect of my frustration.

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