Miocene Fossil Teeth
People often find fossilized teeth in the Miocene deposits of Maryland. Fossil shark teeth are commonly found at Calvert Cliffs. However, ancient sharks were not the only animals leaving behind teeth 5 million years ago. Dentition from fish, reptiles, and mammals all occur in the Maryland Miocene.
We present here a guide to help you identify fossil teeth that you might find from Calvert Cliffs, and other areas where the Miocene is exposed. These web pages have been adapted from the Maryland Geological Survey publication Miocene Text and Plates, first published in 1904. This material, long out-of-print (available on microfiche only) was written by paleontologists and for paleontologists, and it is highly technical. However, the illustrations are excellent references for fossil identification. The text is, for the most part, unedited from the original volumes.
This guide is arranged into sections according to the types of animals from which the teeth are derived. All of the teeth describe in this guide are from vertebrates. They are limited to fish, reptiles and mammals. Only fossil teeth are included in the guide. Click on a section of the images on the left side of the guide to see an larger picture of selected teeth. A copy of the original Miocene distribution map from Miocene Text is available in PDF format.
|Skate and Rays||Crocodiles||Whales|
|The original "Distribution of Miocene Deposits in Maryland" (Plate 1) from Miocene Text is available as an Adobe Acrobat PDF file (2,248 kb). Click here to download this large file.|
Squalodon atlanticus, a whale jaw.
Reference:Clark, W.B. and others, 1904, Miocene Text: Maryland Geological Survey Systematic Report, 509 p.
_____, 1904, Miocene Plates: Maryland Geol. Surv. Systematic Report, 135 plates.
Other online references you might find helpful are:
- Miocene Sharks Teeth of Calvert County (MGS page)
- Shark Teeth Identification Key (pdf, 440 kB)
- The Life and Times of Long Dead Sharks
- Fossil Collecting Sites at Calvert Cliffs (MGS page)
- Calvert Marine Museum
- Godfrey, S.J. (Volume editor), 2018, The Geology and Vertebrate Paleontology of Calvert Cliffs, Maryland: Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology, number 100, 274 pp.
(these web pages were prepared by R. D. Conkwright)