Phatfossils - Shark Tooth Hill Bakersfield California


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Shark Tooth Hill Bakersfield California





Shark tooth hill is now used as a general term to describe the hills to the north east of Bakersfield California, which contain Miocene marine fossil beds. During the Miocene the California coast line was greatly receded and the area surrounding Bakersfield was an embayment. The blue line will give you a general idea as to where the water sat during the deposition of the formations we are collecting where the red dot is.



The fossils are hidden in the hillsides of the area and typically can only be accessed by digging. You can either grab a shovel and hand dig down to the layer or get busy with some heavy equipment and bulldoze the hill down to the layer. We have collected under both scenarios, we prefer the bulldozer approach. The hill side will be brought down to about a foot or more above the primo collecting area, at which point you take over by hand. After the dozer pushes through you have a flat area to work with. You dig a hole down to about a foot below the second bone bed, create a ledge and begin working your way through the layer with hand tools. The best technique we have found so far is to ledge of the bone bed section and with either a pry bar or large spike fracture big pieces of formation out to then break apart. In doing so you can find fossils still in the cliff wall, while breaking up the chunks and sometimes the sections fraction right on a fossil and it falls out at your feet. There is no lazy collecting here if you want to find good stuff, just hard digging.

Picture of our dig site looking down one face of the LHere you can clearly see the upper bone bed, with two larger white bones clearly visible in the surrounding red matrix. The lower bone bed is about a foot below that line
This picture shows part of a hillside after it was bulldozed down within around a foot of the best fossil bearing layers

There are various Miocene formations in California but the fossils we are collecting identified as coming from shark tooth hill are coming from the round mountain silt, a unit of the temblor formation, which was laid down during the middle Miocene around 14 to 15 million of years ago. The matrix varies in color from white to green or red but typically is a sandy consistency, sometimes soft, typically hard to very hard.

During this time the area was a bay with fast moving currents. These currents are what helped create the bone beds and deposit the fossils in piles along the sea floor. Life was abundant during the time with all sorts of sharks, boney fish, rays, turtles, marine mammals and birds depositing their fossils in the area. Every once and a while a land mammal carcass would make its way out into the bay leaving behind some sort of fossil evidence as well. For me, a thirty plus year east coast Miocene marine collector, collecting here is really fun because of the species not available on the east coast, such as the Allodesmus, the Desmostylus, or the planus, even the ear bones that are found are seemingly odd in comparison to the east coast. This really highlights the overall diversity of life on the planet during the Miocene.

With persistence you are guaranteed to see things like this

A megalodon tooth first exposed after millions of yearsTwo Planus teeth sitting right next to each other



Hastalis shark tooth sticking out of the trench wallAnother Hastalis and piece of bone sticking out of the trench wall


Fish Fossils From the Shark Tooth Hill Bakersfield California


Unknown Fish

Marine Mammals Fossils From Shark Tooth Hill Bakersfield California


Allodesmus Sp.

Dolphin-Porpoise

Prosqualodon Sp.

Whale

Ray Fossils From Shark Tooth Hill Bakersfield California


Dasyatis Sp.

Gymnura Sp.

Mobula Loupianensis

Mustelus Sp.

Raja Sp.

Ray Plate

Ray Scute

Rhinobatos Sp.

Shark Fossils From Shark Tooth Hill Bakersfield California


Anotodus Retroflexus

Carcharhinus Sp.

Carcharodon Hastalis

Cetorhinus Maximus

Echinorhinus Blakei

Galeocerdo Aduncus

Galeocerdo Contortus

Galeorhinus Galeus

Hemipristis Serra

Heterodontus Sp.

Hexanchus Andersoni

Isurus Planus

Shark Spine

Shark Vert

Sphyrna Zygaena

Squalus Occidentalis

Squatina Lericheii

Triakis Sp.