The answers below are in response to my question about an object I found on Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Of special interest is that about a year and a half later, Scott J. Echerer found another, exactly like it, on Myrtle Beach. He found this page using a keyword search on Alta Vista and sent me the following information and pictures of his find.
JD wrote: "I printed it out and sent it to Corliss' Anomalies Project. Should be hearing from him a few weeks. " A few weeks later he forwarded this reply: "I have checked with some sources and your object is a petrified mussell."
A. wrote: "Pretty interesting. I don't really know, but just as a guess, could it be some sort of vertebrae from some sort of whale or other mammal?
PB wrote: "my 16yo son says it's a shark egg.
EH wrote: "egg case, if light. vertebra?
LS said, "I think it is a fossilized clam."
DE wrote - I am a speech/language therapist from Malheur County in Eastern Oregon. I often go to our coast and have found similarly shaped stones. I think they are a kind of fossil and have found some with parts of shells still in them. The indentation in the upper curve looks just like one that I carry in my pocket. I rub in when I am under stress and it seems to have a calming effect. It makes me think of days at the beach.
LLG said, "I've never seen one ... but is it the coccyx of some animal?"
JLKS thought it might be "A fossilized hoof."
MLV wrote, "My friend thinks it's a fossilized shark's tooth. The curved edge would be in the gums, and pointed end would be the tip."
CCR - "It looks like some sort of spear head (?)."
T:-) wondered, "A whale or large fish vertebrae?" T:)
M wrote, "I would say what you have found is some part of a tool from early man".
G. shared, "Although the resolution isn't clear on my computer, it appears to be a shaping tool, maybe used by native people to smooth the bark off of limbs in making arrows. I'm an SLP, living on Orcas Island, WA."
RS wrote, "Congratulations, you are the proud owner of a fossilized cetacean (whale) tympanic bone. I have a number of them , fossilized and osseous, in my collection of antique hearing devices. Mid-Atlantic beaches are a sort of happy hunting ground for whale fossils."
DM writes, "Here is a long shot. Could it be a tooth of a large sea mammal or fish?"
DH says, "a part to the backbone to some creature possible."
PA, a student at the University of Central Florida, says, "I think that it could possible be a vertebrae from an ocean animal like a whale or something. Maybe even pre-historic?"
AB wrote, "that is really wierd looking... like a heart... probably from the resemblance to the thought of my almost-ex's heart... LOL Have you tried contacting the Smithonian? When I lived in the area, I wanted them to look at some old coins and they were willing to do that. If you contact the geology department there, I bet they would be really interested in your find!
MR, a speech and language therapist (UK) added, "I can only think it's a stone age attempt at a palatal prosthesis!
SJ, "Looks like the fossilized mold of the space inside a large clam, except where the muscle which holds the 2 shells together would have been."
TH, "I think it looks like a tooth."
CZ writes, "Most likely this is a stone that was conglomerated near the beach and had a hole worn thru it, which is now opened up. Small stones with holes in them are common on beaches I frequent in florida. Or it could be an atalatl, a weight used on an spear-thowing exetension stick.
AC write, "Looks like a turtle's head to me. Looking at the top and bottom left pictures, it looks like the bottom of its jaw."
John wrote, "I think it's a dragon's tooth.........."
RK wrote," I found some of the same things on my trip to Myrtle Beach last May (97) I had never seen anything like it on my previous trips there! Some woman on the beach said they had come in after they had "dredged" the beach area. She told me it was a million years old but I can't remember what else she said because I thought she was feeding me a "bunch of bull" - if you find out more about them would you let me know because I still have one!
Jim wrote, "It looks like an ancient, petrified oar lock!"
Dave wrote, "I'm no expert, but I think you may have found an old tool, like a hammer head or something. Maybe some Indian tribe from Myrtle Beach left it for you."
Tony wrote, "That is a fossilized Mollusk. For identification i would go to your nearest Paleontologist. Or look it up under Brachiopods in a Paleontology text book.
Bob wrote, "The interesting "rock" or whatever it is looks to be shaped much like a devil ray fish, seen on the beaches in Florida. A few weeks ago they were thick along the beaches. Quite a few people got stung by their barbed tails while wading.
CW wrote, "A baby horseshoe crab? (I still say it looks more like a baby sting ray or sting ray fetus - poor little guy). A fossilized (or petrified - ha) sting ray or skate?
TB thinks, "My thought... is the "stone" looks like piece of VERTEBRAE...
RS said, "The first thing I thought of was some sort of beak.....perhaps fossilized.
WK added, "It looks like some sort of alien seed pod... Did you ever see Cocoon?"
EM writes "I am not a "biology person" or paleontologist, but two things immediately came to mind:
A fossilized egg pouch
A fossilized embryo
MT added, "AN ANCIENT ROCK CARVED BY INDIANS!!!!!!!!!"
PF speculated, "Here's a thought. Your mystery object from Mrytle Beach may from a vertebrae of a whale that has become ossified (i.e., like petrified wood) over time. Some of it may have broken off before it solidified. The semicircular opening might be the canal for the spinal cord. I really don't know but that's the first thing I thought when I saw it.
Trevor thinks "it's an alien fossil."
Steve thinks is might be "a fossilized crab claw."
"z" wrote, "Looks to me like a fossil. Possible a piece of vertebra? What an interesting shape. Looks old.
Lee added, " I guess that your friend who said it is a "fossilized cetacean whale tympanic bone" is correct."
Bagi shares, "I heard of a kind of seed that looks like that and feels like stone. I think it's called a seaheart or something. I saw them at a store called The Nature of Things.
BG thinks, "It appears to be an arrowhead."
JM said, "it looks like an arrow head."
K said, "I would like to hazard a complete guess! doesn't it appear as a fossilized crab claw? or crustacean claw of some kind? that would explain the approximate shape and size of the object, and its "rock like" composition.
L.A. writes, "It is the fossilized brain of a fossilized SC state legislator who won't take the Confederate flag down from atop the state house."
J thinks, "It could be from stones used on fishing nets (used as weights) from the late 17th/18th century!"
Someone thinks, "Maybe a tooth of a larger animal."
D.D. added, "I picked up a similar object at Myrtle Beach many years ago. It had some markings ( which I could not discern in the photo of your object). An archaeologist at the New York Museum of Natural History declared it to be a fossilized clam shell, probably 100.000 + years old."
Lisa says, "It's an internal mold of a a brachiopod (clam). It's a fossil."
Joseph thinks, "It looks like a fossilized tooth of some sort. Maybe a shark of something big that came from the deep waters of the ocean. On the other hand it just may be a rock."
John Doyle says, "What you have is a fossil from the group Pelecypod, which includes scallops and oysters. Pelecypod shells have identical shells, where the shells of Brachiopods are uneven. Your's is a complete organism; ordinarily, these fossils are single-shelled (half of your fossil). Agewise, your fossil is most likely between 200-300 million years old."
by Judy Kuster
Last modififed February 19, 2006