Fossil Animals of the Quarter- Rays and Skates|
Rays and their relatives skates have been around this planet since at least the Cretaceous period about 100+ million years ago. Since then, their basic design has barely changed. Fossils of rays and skates are almost indistinguishable from modern species.
Rays and skates share skeletons made of cartilage with sharks and other relatives such as sawfish. Since cartilage is soft, it rarely fossilizes. Stingray and ray fossils consist primarily of isolated toothplate sections, dermal spines or thorns, and tailspine segments.
Here in Fla. and in many other areas up the east coast of the US and around the world, fossils of these animals are one of the most common finds in marine sediments. It's possible to find hundreds of ray fossils in one day.
Stingray or skate dermal spine
Ray dental plate- usually found as isolated rectangular sections which have a comblike look on one side.