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.