I found a bone at the beach today, but it's all black. How can this be?
some bones just turn out black.
If you burn bone for long periods at high tempretures they can carbonize. But thats not whats happened here. What has happened I presume, is the bone lay in dark silts for a time, and became dyed. It's quite common with certain parts of the anatomy to go dark, and with teeth in particular they can be almost if not, black. Happens quite quickly under the correct conditions
Agreed Hitbear, I say it lay in silt in the salt water. You will notice seashells do the same thing. I have some with mother of pearl intact but with a black sheen to it.
I suspect this came out of a river area and moved into the ocean current. In rivers the leaves and other vegatation breaks down over time. The decaying organic material is what turns the bones from white to shades of brown and blacks.. It will turn a bone dark in matter of weeks being exposed. I have a few newer bones that I pulled from local creeks and they are not fossilized but are black...
To test to see if fossil bone or not use a hot needle and poke into the bone if you smell buring hair smell it is a recent bone... If no smell then it is probally a fossil. Also should have some weight to it...Also make sure when testing to get needle red hot and hold with plyers or something to avoid burning yourself.. Tarheel
pictured is a recent bone with similar color