Q: In 1962 I found this petrified piece, of what I believe, is a part of the jawbone of a fish of some type. I found it at Lumsden Beach, Saskatchewan when I stepped on it. I would like to know what the bone is from and how old this may be. – Chris
A: This is a lower jaw bone of an Esox lucius, or Northern Pike. It MAY be as old as Pleistocene in age (2,588,000 to 11,700 years old), but it is really hard to say, because we need the geological material that surrounded the specimen in order to properly determine how old it is. Usually, the best way to preserve this data is to leave a specimen where you found it, note the GPS coordinates, take pictures, and send this info to us.
Having said this, because you found it on a beach, there’s a good chance that the waters moved the jaw from its original resting or burial place, making dating the specimen almost impossible from the get go. And because it is a Northern Pike, we cannot rule out that it could be Holocene aged too, since Northern Pike do exist today.
A neat thing to note about the jaw is that the red coloration of the bone is due to iron taken up from groundwater, which suggests that it was buried for a substantial amount of time. – Curator Tim Tokaryk and Curator Ryan McKellar
Do you have a life sciences, earth sciences or ethnology question? Ask our Curators! We'd love to hear from you.