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1645 Views 10 Replies Last post: Apr 5, 2013 9:50 PM by John RSS
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Apr 2, 2013 10:34 PM

Found on beach, is it bone, shell, or ???

I have this posted on the bone section, but it was suggested I post it here as it may be a shell instead of a bone...any ideas?  Thanks in advance!

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I found this on a rocky salt water beach in the Pacific Northwest in the USA.  It looks like a spongy bone to me, but maybe not!  Any ideas?  The flat spot on the first picture is very purple.  Any help with identification would be very much appreciated!bone1.jpgbone2.jpg

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    Apr 2, 2013 11:41 PM (in response to Curious1)
    Re: Found on beach, is it bone, shell, or ???

    It's a piece of shell which has been bored into by another organism. The holes look very similar to one I found some time ago.  See this thread:  http://www.nhm.ac.uk/natureplus/message/15636#15636

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        Apr 3, 2013 12:44 PM (in response to Curious1)
        Re: Found on beach, is it bone, shell, or ???

        I'm no expert on shells, but doubt if even an expert would be sure as it's only a piece, and pretty well chewed!  (Could a sponge be described as chewing anything - they don't have teeth!!??)  Unless someone could guess from the shape shown in the first pic. that could perhaps be part of the hinge muscle attachment area if it's a bivalve,  I would think it is a bivalve as it seems too flat for anything else - maybe the top part (furthest from the opening) of a clam?

         

        In other words, your guess is probably as good as mine

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    Apr 3, 2013 5:58 PM (in response to Curious1)
    Re: Found on beach, is it bone, shell, or ???

    Correction!  I think it may be a univalve mollusc.  I was at someone's house this afternoon and they had some tropical shells.  I looked inside one like a kind of large whelk or conch, and it had a groove at the entrance that looked very like your find.  murex shell.bmp

     

    This pic is of a Murex shell from Florida.  On the left hand side is a grooved area froming a "tail" that could be the same kind of thing as the grooved area in yours.  It seems they are different lengths and shapes depending on species.

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        Apr 3, 2013 9:21 PM (in response to Curious1)
        Re: Found on beach, is it bone, shell, or ???

        Well done for the research. I do see curved marks in your specimen's 'channel', but they are not related to the spirals described as part of some brachidia. Brachidial coils really are coils (sometimes just a loop). A brachiopod's valves articulate at a hinge, which comprises mechanically male and female parts that interlock somewhat; muscles and other tissues prevent the valves falling apart. We (John and I) are seeing in your 'channel', one half of some of that interlocking geometry.

         

        But we still have the issue of size.

        'The largest modern brachiopod is about 10 cm (4 inches) in length.'

        (http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/328832/lamp-shells)

        Even a giant fossil one would be only about a foot across, and in that your specimen might just about be the right size. But yours is not a fossil.

        Modern large bivalve maybe, along the lines of a big clam, perhaps.

         

        Still a puzzle...

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    Apr 3, 2013 9:54 PM (in response to Curious1)
    Re: Found on beach, is it bone, shell, or ???

    Are these holes actual holes, or are they rather bubbles? Though they do look dark, (suggesting holes), they're very evenly distributed. If bubbles that'd suggest an industrial origin.

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