Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Long Pause

It's been a while since I posted anything to my blog and I apologize to my regular readers for that. This summer I was getting some work done on my house which distracted me and took away my usual backdrop for photography (the brick wall on the back of my house). It also forced me to box up all of my fossils and put them into storage since the space was needed for the contractors to work in. Additional stress came from my day job in the form of several projects that I fell behind on and had to play catch up.

The good news is that my renovations are complete and I'm caught up with the day job. In the next few weeks I will be moving my fossils into a new, larger work space and I'll be working to sort them and find new material to write about. I didn't get a summer vacation this year but hopefully I can sneak some small trips in before winter gets too cold.

In the meantime here are some pictures of finds from this spring that don't really need full blog entries:

Phacops rana molts from the Moscow Formation at the Penn Dixie site in Blasdell, NY.

The base plates and stem attachment point of an Arthrocantha sp. Crinoid from the Moscow Formation at the Penn Dixie site in Blasdell, NY.

And a small geode formed by a fossil that contains small Calcite crystals and some blades of what I think are Barite that I found in a piece of the Tichenor Limestone (bottommost layer of of the Moscow formation) along the shoreline of Lake Erie.

That's all for now, I'll hopefully be back to regular updates in the coming weeks. Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, October 7, 2013

Inocaulis fossil from the Bertie formation of Canada

One of the odd fossils that I've found at the Ridgemont Quarry near Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada are these positive a negative specimens of an enigmatic fossil called Inocaulis plumosa. It's been something of a mystery for a number of years and has been thought to be an algae or possibly a graptolite. Well there is a new paper coming out (in Alcheringa, the Journal of the Association of Australasian Palaeontologists) that states, based on new fossils from China, that it most certainly is a graptolite (possibly a dendroid or tuboid type).

I photographed the fossils wet to better show detail.

Graptolites were colonial animals that lived similar lives to a coral or bryozoan in that they filtered the water for food. Most were free floating but some did attach to the substrate. They are more closely related to vertebrates than invertebrates. The fossil does show some "hairy" extensions around the periphery of the body. This is only part of what was likely a larger group of animals. The specimen was found in the Bertie formation which is Silurian (Pridoli stage) in age.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Cooksonia plant fossils from the Bertie formation of Canada

Cooksonia is one of the first recognized vascular plants. That means it had a system that allowed water and nutrients to be distributed internally. This is an important step for a plant if you are going to exist outside of a watery environment. The specimens below are individual pieces of what could be C. hemisphaerica likely before they fully produced their sporangia.

Specimen #1

Specimen #2

Specimen #3

All three specimens came from the Bertie formation (upper Silurian, Pridoli stage) in Ridgemont quarry, Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fossil Algae from the Bertie formation in Canada.

I'm a little surprised that I hadn't posted anything regarding some plant fossils I found last fall in Canada. These next few posts should rectify that starting with some humble Algae. The carbon coating on dolostone below is thought to be a fossil algae and was found in the Bertie formation at Ridgemont Quarry, Fort Erie, Canada. The Bertie formation is better known for it's Euryptid fauna but plant material is actually more rare.

This was collected last fall from the Ridgemont Quarry which is kind enough to allow collectors access to their property to prospect for fossils. The Bertie formation is late Silurian (Pridoli stage) in age and has been interpreted as a shallow lagoonal deposit.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Chonetes oklahomensis from Oklahoma

Chonetes genera brachiopods are somewhat common from the Devonian onward and they retain their Strophomenid styling. Below is a specimen of Chonetes oklahomensis from the Fayetteville shale (Carboniferous, Mississippian, Serpukhovian stage), itself a part of the Wewoka formation, of Hughes county, Oklahoma.

Pedicle valve


Brachial valve



Here is a group of them together.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pentamerella (?) from Alpena, Michigan

A few weeks ago I posted the photo's below on the Fossil Forum in the hopes that someone would recognize the fossil and help me name it. You see, it came into my collection as part of a lot of material that was labelled "Alpena, Michigan". That description covers a large area and several geologic formations so if I can't recognize the specimen I have to go digging for info. Here are some of the pics I took of the specimen:

Brachial valve


Pedicle valve


 Right profile with pedicle valve on top

 Left profile with brachial valve on top

After I posted them on the forum one member, Fossilcrazy, suggested it might be Camarotoechia pauciplicata based on David M. Linsley's "Devonian Paleontology of New York" (Pg.188 Plt. 83 Items 1-5). This seemed like a good fit except that my specimen lacks a fold and sulcus (the divot that is often seen in the middle of some brachiopods).

Another member, Plantguy, took it upon himself to reach out to some experts and came back with the following:

Dr. Lindsey Leighton, of the University of Alberta, responded:
I have collected a lot of brachs from the Devonian of the Alpena region, as well as Ontario and New York, and I have never seen that particular brachiopod. It does not look like a typical Camarotoechia, but it is possible that the species is atypical for the genus. Camarotoechia, by definition, should have a fold and sulcus present the length of the brach, and based on the photos, I don't really see a fold and sulcus at all. Similarly, I don't see any costae (ribs), which again, is part of the genus definition. But this could be that I can't see the relevant features on the photo. The combination of weak to absent fold and sulcus, and the lack of costae, is a little weird. My best guess is that it is not a rhynchonellide at all, but something in the Pentamerida, possibly some odd species of Pentamerella or Gypidula, but it doesn't quite look right for either of those two genera either. There are leiorhynchids that have a more or less naked (lacking in ornament such as ribbing) umbonal area and few plicae, so it might still be a rhynchonellide of some sort.
Dr. Leighton suggested contacting Dr. Jed Day, of Illinois State University, who subsequently reviewed the pictures and came back with this:
Your specimen appears to be crushed near the posterior end of its lateral margin and may be a juvenile specimen of one of two things I know of from eastern side of the Lower Peninsula area. The only things I know of that look like the specimen (s) you show in the photos are from the Ferron Point (Pentamerella lingua, Imbrie, 1959) and Norway Point (Pentamerella pericosta, Imbrie, 1959) formation quarry and natural exposures in Alpena County (See old Guidebook series, Ehlers and Kesling, 1970) . There are a number of other pentamerids that have been described from the west side of the LP that also resemble the specimen described in the older litherature (Imlay, etc.). There also rhynchonellids that it might be, especially Eumetabolotoechia.
Here is  specimen of P. lingua from the Ferron Point Fm. on the Michigan Basin Fossils website:
http://michiganbasinfossils.org/viewrecord/1506. They have a specimen of P. pericosta as well: http://michiganbasinfossils.org/viewrecord/1508. The former appears to be the closest match to what I have although the width of my specimen is less than those pictured. Maybe that is because part of the one side is slightly crushed or this is a juvenile specimen.

In any case this has been an interesting mystery and may not yet be solved. For now I am labeling my specimens as Pentamerella lingua.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Odds and ends fossils from St. Petersburg, Russia

This is the last of my posts regarding fossils from the Ordovician rocks near St. Petersburg, Russia for now. The fossils I'm showing today are partials and lesser examples that don't merit a full blog entry.

First up is this odd looking piece which I believe is the interior of a pedicle valve from a strophomenid type brachiopod.It has the characteristic half-moon shape and I think that the relief seen near the one side of the fossil represents some muscle scars.

Next is this Graptolite which may only be a part of a larger colony. The rounded end does look like it is supposed to naturally occur like that but the other end seems to have extended farther at one time.

Lastly is this cast of a cephalopod. It is interesting because of the slanted or spiral like pattern. This could be an impression of the exterior decoration of the shell rather than the usual internal vertical chambers. Three sides are preserved with the fouth filled with Calcite.

Hopefully I'll get some more fossils from the St. Petersburg region in the future. I don't have enough to really compare to those that I've found in here in the US or Canada.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Lonchodomas and Illaenus trilobites from St. Petersburg, Russia

I'm winding down on my Ordovician fossils from Russia. Today we have some partial trilobites from the Ordovician aged rocks near St. Petersburg, Russia.

First up are three partial specimens of Lonchodomas volborthi from the middle Ordovician (Dapingian stage of the ICS, Volkhovian stage locally) of Putilovo quarry, St. Peterburg region, Russia. Two are thorax and pygidium specimens:

The third is a partial cephalon that is missing it's spines. There should be one on the tip of the glabella and one each coming off the side of the cephalon. I am very interested in the fact that there are two differently colored areas on the sides of the glabella that are mirror images of each other. It seems that this is not uncommon for this genus from this location either as evidenced by specimens that are posted on the PaleoArt.com (Saint Petersburg Paleontological Laboratory) website.

The chunk of rock that the cephalon is on has quite a few Ostracods preserved in it as well.

The second trilobite I have to show today is Illaenus sp. (Dapingian stage of the ICS, Kunda stage locally). I don't know the exact location for this specimen as it came mislabeled as Asaphus lepidurus. It is not in the best shape but I received it as part of a trade so it will have a place in my collection until I can afford a better specimen.

There are 30 different species for this genus listed on the Baltoscandian Fossils website here, so I don't know if I will ever be able to nail down the species on my specimen. Looking at the first picture of this specimen reminds me of the Thaleops cephalon I found in the Verulam fm. in Canada.