Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Or Not a Turtle?

(Via OregonLive) I posted on this discovery ten days days ago, and I'm beginning to think my initial reaction was correct: it's "just" a concretion. Now this one is extraordinarily large for Oregon (though I've seen larger in Ohio), so Hanshumaker and Orr's statement that "it's important" is not off base. There's a reasonable chance that the large object encases a large to largish fossil, but I will say that in the many, many concretions I've broken open on the coast, the vast majority have no visible fossil material, or only small, uninteresting fragments. On occasion I've found some nice gastropods, and a few times small crabs, but even when there is a recognizable fossil, it's most often a nondescript piece of bivalve.

My feeling is that if it had obviously been a turtle or something equally unique, it might have been worth mounting the effort to safely remove it before the winter storm season... which is coming up very quickly relative to the time it would take to undertake a complex excavation. As it stands, the object will probably fall into the surf over the winter, but it won't go very far, nor is it likely to be badly damaged (concretions by their nature tend to be more resistant to weathering and erosion). I suspect that's what they'll allow it to do, then try to recover it next spring, or in a break between storms.

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