Oregon Beachcombers Find Three Rare Fossils in Two Weeks!

There’s been a string of luck among beachcombers along the Oregon Coast these last couple of weeks!

The first discovery took place on March 25th by a preschool teacher, who said they saw the tooth fossil just sitting on a pile of cobblestone while hiking along one of the beaches. The fossil, which included a set of teeth, belonged to a Desmostylia, an extinct mammal that resembled a hippopotamus and spent much of it’s time in the ocean.

Video of The First Fossil Discovery

Then, only 6 days later, a high school teacher found another tooth fossil belonging to the same extinct species.

And as if that isn’t incredible enough, a third discovery was made of Desmostylia teeth and jawbone not far from the same beach.

After posting the first fossil on Reddit, the extraordinary find quickly started gaining attention, catching the eye of renowned experts, including Nick Pyenson, a curator of fossil marine mammals at the Smithsonian. Pyenson confirmed the authenticity of the fossil and its link to the Desmostylian.

The First Fossil Find

My wife found an hippopotamus tooth at the coast today
byu/randumbum inPaleontology

The Third Fossil Discovery

Reddit/Kent Gibson

Desmostylians share evolutionary ties with both elephants and sea cows, both herbivores known for their unique dental adaptations. Pyenson shed some light on the historical presence of these creatures in the Northern Pacific Ocean, noting, “They were known to swim in the ocean more than 20 million years ago.”

He also speculated about the origins of the fossils, suggesting that they could have been dislodged from the cliffs or churned up by ocean storms, making post-storm beach walks potentially rewarding for fossil hunters. While such discoveries are rare, Pyenson remarked on the role of fortune in discovering fossils like this, highlighting the blend of luck and timing inherent in these types of finds.

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