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So where are the Antler Fossils?
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DallanC
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 6:42 pm    Post subject: So where are the Antler Fossils? Reply with quote

Lets assume before modern day man came along a mature deer or elk grew to be roughly 6 years old before dying. That means roughly 5 sets of antlers to be grown and shed over its lifetime. With the number of deer like animals over millions of years, you would think there would be a tremendous amount of antlers that could fossilize. So why dont we find more of those than we do? I've done some searching and the only fossilized antlers I've been able to find are those of Reindeer. This makes me think either:

A) Antlers decompose quicker than normal bone so there are fewer to actually fossilize

B) Antlered animals were much more rare than other types of animals so there are fewer antlers dropped to later fossilize.


Thoughts? (yes I am bored at work)


-DallanC
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GroovyJack
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 7:42 pm    Post subject: Re: So where are the Antler Fossils? Reply with quote

Yes we can see you are bored at work .. Actually I have never given it any thought ... I have seen a set of antlers on an otherwise nice elk mount , that someone left out side for about six months , for whatever stoopid reason , and the antlers were very brittle , on the other hand , I have seen , and you as well , many antlers left hanging out at clubhouses and the like , that were in good shape .. So I dunno ..
Jack

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515034s10ring
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 8:18 pm    Post subject: Re: So where are the Antler Fossils? Reply with quote

Aint you got's anything better to do wit yer time???? Laughing


Ok, by doing some tough, ear smoking thinkin, i came up with something.....

Decompisition would be the number one thing because depending on time (of year and temperature), the nourishment from the 'somewhat' still alive antler will provide food for whatever insect burrows into the antler for the marrow. When bone rapidly looses blood supply, and or marrow (through a natural or even a non preservation way) bone density is greatly reduced and henceforth deteriorates the antler to an utmost form of powder.

Plus, carnivorous animals chew the palatable antler matter to sharpen teeth, which is a natural instinct.


Just thoughts off the top of my head Cool

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mikekuzara
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 27, 2005 10:47 pm    Post subject: Re: So where are the Antler Fossils? Reply with quote

Most sheds you find won't be more than a year or two old. The mice and such chew them up pretty quick. The reason ones above a club house etc. seem to last longer is that they do not sit on the damp ground completely covered in snow, on ground with all the microbes, fungi, etc.

Here in wyoming if you find a shed that has been on the ground for any length of time, it is usually chewed, brittle, and cracked and we live in a desert (6 to 10 inches of rainfall a year).

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beezer
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 4:23 am    Post subject: Re: So where are the Antler Fossils? Reply with quote

Deer eat their shed antlers to replace calcium to help with regrowth next season. Ol so there are a number of rodents and insects which benefit from the added calcium.
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yotebuster
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 5:00 am    Post subject: Re: So where are the Antler Fossils? Reply with quote

Dallan, I dive for fossilized shark teeth from the megladon shark that swam in the ocean millions of years. And I have found fossilized deer antlers, along with many other critters, while doing so. Mastadon teeth, tusks, whale vertabrae, ribs, etc. I have even found parts of deer antlers while walking the beach in northeast Florida.
In order for anything to fossilize, it must be cut off from oxygen, for that is what is needed for decay to occur. Most often the material is buried under silt or mud rather quickly and that cuts off the oxygen supply. Fossilization is a very slow process that takes thousands of years to occur. What happens is the molecular structure of the antler, for instance, is slowly absorbing and being replaced by the mineral content of the surrounding mud or silt. What you have in the end is an exact "casting" of the original item. That is also why you will find different colors of fossils, for the color of the surrounding minerals is what determines and gives it it's unique coloring. I have found shark teeth for instance that go from black, which is very common, to grey, tan, rust and even some that are bluish green.
To me, it's a thrill to find a huge shark tooth that is perfectly intact, just as it was when it fell out of the sharks jaw millions of years ago. I'm just glad that I don't have to keep looking over my shoulder to see if I'm on the menu!
Yotebuster

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DallanC
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 10:09 am    Post subject: Re: So where are the Antler Fossils? Reply with quote

That sounds really neat yotebuster. I havent heard of anyone diving for fossils before but it sounds like alot of fun.


-DallanC
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