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Incident at Duck Creek

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

You never know what you might find in a good creek. Along its banks, tall ironweed and tickseed sunflower light up the meadow.

Down under the bridge, some unexpected animal tracks light up my switchboard. Anyone know what these are?
If the blunt, round front toes don't tip you off, maybe you'll slide into the answer here:Spoiler alert!

One of my favorite mammals of all, known for its playfulness: the otter, Lutra canadensis.
Oh rapture, oh joy. Otters have been the subject of reintroduction programs in this area, and I hope they're busy making more otters. I feel grateful to live in a state where otters and ospreys, American burying beetles and Karner blue butterflies are thought worthy of reintroduction. Ohio's Division of Wildlife is not just about turkeys and deer. Maybe someday we will see Lutra arrowing through the pools or hallumping along the banks of Duck Creek.

Phoebe repairs to her dreaming log.

Liam skips stones, peers into the deeper pools, and searches for nothing or something in particular. Looking for crawdads or salamanders, he turns over flat rocks. There is something very strange under this one. He turns it over in his hand, over and over.He takes it around, to ask what it might be. Everyone is mystified, even Margaret.

No one knows what it is, not even Mommy, but she's sure it's a claw, and not a tooth. It's too big for any bear that might be here in southern Ohio--too big for any bear on the planet. What could it be?Duck Creek has given up some of its secrets, but there are so many more to discover. We will track down this mystery by finding someone who knows...Boneman.


woah - that's pretty cool. I immediately wondered about one of the extinct ground sloths but it looks too delicate? I have no clue what that could be from near time. Very cool looking specimen whatever it is....

On the edge of my seat here - now that is a find!!

YIKES, ever been any Bigfoot sightings along Duck Creek?! ;-) And I want to know WHAT killed the thing that had that claw such that only a lone claw was left???

Roc talon? Whatever it is, it's a very cool find! Way to go, Liam!!

It sure looks like a bear claw--problem is, it looks like a GRIZZLY claw. Have any of those in Ohio?

This from Boneman:

No, not a ground sloth. Their claws, like those of many mammals, have a bony sheath that extends almost to the tip of the bony inner structure of the claw, which is known in the trade as an ungual. It ends up looking rather stubby, not veyr clw-like at all.

The keratin sheath that most of us think of as the claw, is just that, a sheath of the stuff your fingernails, hair and skin are made from. It almost never fossilizes, though we do have some very nice ground sloth mummies from the Southwest in which the keratin sheath is preserved.

This particular item would be from something much, much older than a ground sloth. And more closely related to crocodiles and birds than to mammals.

Sounds dinosaur-tastic. Whatever it is Liam's gonna be a hard act to follow in show and tell in the near future I think.

Hey, I saw "Jurassic Park." That thing looks like the claw of a Velociraptor! (spelling?) It didn't die there, but further upstream, and the lone claw is the only thing that has drifted downstream (so far.) When Chet brings home a huge shinbone, you will know that I was right.

Do I win the prize (for best made-up story)?

~K, who is pleased not to have to go thru comment moderation

PS: I guessed otter before you gave it away. Otters would be a sweet find anywhere.

I agree with KatDoc -- looks exactly like the velocoraptor claw from Jurassic Park.

Oh, Little Katdoc, Little Katdoc Lee
Oh, Little Liza, Little Liza Lee

Pin a rose on both yer noses.

I am soooo enjoying not moderating. Hear that, Ping? Come and spam me. I dare ya.

Here's the beauty of the whole story -- for quite sometime you've let the odd deer bone or other animal bone go intentionally unnamed so Liam could enjoy thinking he found a piece of a dinosaur. Shhh,we all whispered as he coveted his pseudo-prehistoric treasure.

And now you tell us he shows up with the real deal all on his own!

Is this chimp prodigy retaliation on a grand scale or what. Try fooling little Liam and he'll one up you. Bravo boy! The eight year old child in all of us is jumping for joy throughout the blogosphere tonight!

Spooky, but I'm smiling from ear to ear for Liam! I'm too late to the party to guess, but I didn't have a clue anyway. No pin'n a rose on my nose tonight! LOL! Is there anything Kathi doesn't know something about???? Geeezzzzz.

Holy s**t, I was right? I was just messin around!!

~Kathi, who doesn't know bugs or flowers, but is the Dino-Queen

Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers. Little bunch of spoilers.

Roc talon. Love it!

Mare, in this troop of Science Chimps, Katdoc and I are Flo and Fifi. But David Greybeard, Silverback Science Chimp, has yet to weigh in...

TR, suspend that disbelief just awhile longer. There may be a deus ex machina involved here. I'm just sayin'.

Holy crap!

Liam found a dinosaur!

: )

'ere, 'ere - 'alf a mo', guvnor.

I have been looking up pictures of Velociraptor claws on line, and while the size and shape of the claw in your photograph looks spot on, down to the ungual crest and the groove that runs the length of it, the color and appearance doesn't quite fit.

What did this thing feel like, Oh, my Best Beloved of Science Chimps? Was it heavy, like bone and rock or light, like, oh, I don't know - plastic? Hmmm? Are you playing a trick on us poor devoted subprimates?

~Kathi, getting suspicious

A dinosaur bone for sure, Liam!
How about a pterodactyl?

Are there any old furnace operations in your neck of the woods?

Boring, I know, but it looks an awful lot like...carved wood. Anybody's antique mahogany sideboard missing some trim?

How about giving us some other views?

Whoa--very velociraptor-claw-looking!

Sasquach, definetely sasquach.
you were lucky to get out with your curisoity intact.

Holy smokes!! I think Liam found a real treasure!!! I hope someone can ID it for sure soon! Momma're not playin' tricks on the little guy, are ya?

We had a couple of otters hanging out at a local wetlands. I posted pics of it last week. They are so fun to watch play and fish. I hope you guys get to see it!

what an awesome day you had! we've had otters back on the cape for about 15 years--not introduced and maybe never gone (people are still arguing about it here) but i had never seen one until this summer when i watched a young one playing in the pond, sliding down its mud slide, etc. so cool!

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