Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Miocene Fossil Teeth

Notidanus primigenius, a skate toothPeople 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.

Odontaspis cuspidata, a shark toothWe 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.

INDEX
FISH REPTILES MAMMALS
   Skate and Rays AĆ«tobatis arcuatis, a skate   Crocodiles Thecachampsa (?) contusor, a crocodile   Whales Squalodon atlanticus, a whale
 
  Thecachampsa (?) antiqua, a crocodile  
   Sharks Oxyrhina hastalis, a shark       Dolphins Delphinodon mento, a dolphin

Class PISCES
   Subclass ELASMOBRANCHII
      Order SELACHII
         Suborder TECTOSPONDYLI

Family Squatinidae
Genus Squatina
   Squatina occidentalis

Family Myliobatidae
Genus Myliobatis
    Myliobatis gigas
    Myliobatis pachyodon
    Myliobatis frangens
Genus Aëtobatis 
    Aëtobatis arcuatis

Suborder ASTEROSPONDYLI
Family NOTIDANIDAE
Genus Notidanus
    Notidanus primigenius

Family LAMNIDAE
Genus Odontaspis
    Odontaspis cuspidata
    Odontaspis elegans
Genus Oxyrhina
   Oxyrhina desorii
   Oxyrhina hastalis
   Oxyrhina sillimani
   Oxyrhina minuta
Genus Otodus
   Otodus obliquus
Genus Carcharodon
    Carcharodon megalodon

Class REPTILIA
Order CROCODILIA.
   Suborder EUSUCHIA.

Family CROCODILIDAE.
Genus Thecachampsa
   Thecachampsa (?) sericodon
   Thecachampsa (?) sicaria
   Thecachampsa (?) contusor
   Thecachampsa (?) antiqua

Class MAMMALIA
Order CETACEA
   Suborder ODONTOCETI

Family SQUALODONTIDAE
Genus Squalodon
   Squalodon atlanticus

   Squalodon protervus

Family PLATANISTIDAE
Genus Priscodelphinus
   Priscodelphinus gabbi
   Priscodelphinus ruschenbergeri
Genus Rhabdosteus
   Rhabdosteus latiradix
Genus Delphinodon
   Delphinodon mento
   Delphinodon leidyi

Family PHYSETERIDAE
Genus Obycterocetus
   Obycterocetus crocodelinus       

 
Class PISCES (continued)
Suborder ASTEROSPONDYLI

Family CARCHARIIDAE
Genus Carcharias
   Carcharias egertoni
   Carcharias laevissimus
   Carcharias collata
   Carcharias magna
   Carcharias incidens
Genus Galeocerdo 
   Galeocerdo contortus
   Galeocerdo latidens
   Galeocerdo aduncus
   Galeocerdo triqueter
Genus Hemipristis
   Hemipristis serra
Genus Sphyrna
   Sphyrna prisca

UNDETERMINED SELACHIAN REMAINS
  
 Subclass TELEOSTOMI.
      Order ACTINOPTERYGII

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.
Squalodon atlanticus, a whale jaw.

Reference:

Clark, W.B., et al., 1904, Miocene Text, Maryland Geological Survey, Baltimore, MD
______________ , 1904, Miocene Plates, Maryland Geological Survey, Baltimore, MD


updated 3/2/05

(these web pages were prepared by R. D. Conkwright)