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Trenton, NJ, United States

News Article | October 21, 2015
Site: www.techtimes.com

A walk on the beach led a woman to discover an ancient spearhead that could be an important part of history. While taking a walk along the beach in Seaside Heights, Audrey Stanick, 58, found a rare spearhead while looking for sea glass along the shore with her sister. Experts said that the ancient artifact may hold clues into the lives of early humans. "I noticed it because it was very dark and shiny, and my sister ... taught me to always look out for dark and shiny things at the beach," Stanick said. She then remembered the story of a discovery of a historical artifact last year in the area so she contacted the museum. The spearhead was then analyzed by the curators from the New Jersey State Museum. The artifact, which curators estimated to be at least 10,000 years old, came from the Paleo-Indian period. Spears like these were used by semi-nomadic natives, made from sharpened stone that are then used to hunt animals. "There are actually professional excavations to try and find points like these, so to be along the shore and see it washed up is pretty incredible," said the museum's assistant curator Dr. Gregory Lattanzi. He also said that this rare find will help experts be able to find possible areas of settlements located in the ocean as well as in rivers and other bodies of water. For now, Stanick is still in possession of the piece, saying that if she does decide to donate the artifact, it will most likely go to the local museum, reasoning that she found it in New Jersey, where she lived, so the artifact rightfully belongs to the community. She added that the find has piqued her interest in finding ancient artifacts and would love to take part on a dig if possible in the future. Last year, while walking at the beach, Noah Cordle, 10, found an arrowhead called a Clovis point. But without his glasses, he thought it was just a shark tooth or a common rock. His parents, though initially skeptical, saw that the specimen looked like a real arrowhead and, after some research, found striking resemblance to the "rock" and the Clovis point arrowheads discovered. The arrowhead found by the Cordles was then confirmed by the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History to be the real thing. The family ended up donating the arrowhead to the museum. "It's actually pretty spectacular to have something that a place like the Smithsonian would actually want," Brian Cordle, Noah's father, said. "That's more cool than anything. I don't even know what it's worth financially, but I know it's not much compared to the excitement of all this."

Lacovara K.J.,Drexel University | Lamanna M.C.,Section of Vertebrate Paleontology | Ibiricu L.M.,CONICET | Poole J.C.,Drexel University | And 13 more authors.
Scientific Reports | Year: 2014

Titanosaurian sauropod dinosaurs were the most diverse and abundant large-bodied herbivores in the southern continents during the final 30 million years of the Mesozoic Era. Several titanosaur species are regarded as the most massive land-living animals yet discovered; nevertheless, nearly all of these giant titanosaurs are known only from very incomplete fossils, hindering a detailed understanding of their anatomy. Here we describe a new and gigantic titanosaur, Dreadnoughtus schrani, from Upper Cretaceous sediments in southern Patagonia, Argentina. Represented by approximately 70% of the postcranial skeleton, plus craniodental remains, Dreadnoughtus is the most complete giant titanosaur yet discovered, and provides new insight into the morphology and evolutionary history of these colossal animals. Furthermore, despite its estimated mass of about 59.3 metric tons, the bone histology of the Dreadnoughtus type specimen reveals that this individual was still growing at the time of death.

Grandstaff B.S.,University of Pennsylvania | Harbour G.F.,New Jersey State Museum | Parris D.C.,New Jersey State Museum
Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia | Year: 2015

We report on the partial skull of a small juvenile Mammut americanum Kerr from the Monmouth brooks area of New Jersey. Most Pleistocene mammal specimens from the brooks occur as disarticulated fragments. This specimen, the left side of a skull, includes portions of the premaxillae, maxillae, nasals, lacrimals, frontals, and four teeth: three sequential deciduous premolars and the permanent tusk. The skull bones are loosely articulated and essentially unfused, and the reconstructed skull shows gaps representing unossified growth zones between bones. The two anterior left deciduous teeth (DP2 and DP3) are much worn and very fragile, while the posterior left deciduous tooth (DP4) is essentially unworn. The crypt for the left first molar (M1) is partially preserved. The interior of the braincase is characterized by shallow pitting; it is neither smooth nor does it show molding against gyri and sulci of the brain. The pits are not characteristic of the inner surface of a normal mammalian skull, and appear to represent lytic lesions due to a disease process. Radiocarbon dating of the skull yielded an age of 11,680 ± 30 years.

Parris D.C.,New Jersey State Museum | Schein J.P.,New Jersey State Museum | Daeschler E.B.,Drexel University | Gilmore E.S.,Drexel University | And 2 more authors.
Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia | Year: 2014

The holotype specimen of Atlantochelys mortoni, a large sea turtle of Cretaceous age, consisted of only the proximal half of a humerus. Remarkably, the distal half of the same bone has now been recovered, 163 years after the holotype was first described. Besides clarification of the type locality, the size of the complete humerus suggests that this is among the largest turtles known. Circumstances of the discovery suggest that multiple periods of deposition and erosion took place at the discovery site.

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