Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Alveolites or Cladopora sp. coral from the Jeffersonville Formation

Among my finds from the Jeffersonville Limestone formation near Louisville, KY, is this solitary fragment of coral. The look of the exterior kind of reminds me of a pine cone, possibly due to the triangular shaped openings. I looked through the book by Erwin Charles Stumm; "Silurian and Devonian Corals of the Falls of the Ohio". and found a possible match on plate 68, fig. 14 to Aleveolites asperus.  I've only ever known Alveolites as a genus of flat, spreading corals that occasionally formed mounds. The key features are the corallite openings that are roughly triangular shaped and lie sideways. Sometimes the specimens look a little like fish scales too.  This specimen appears to have belonged to a branching coral rather than a spreading coral.

I am not familiar enough with the various species found within the Jeffersonville and Louisville limestones so say for sure that this specimen is Aleveolites asperus but, in my opinion, it looks a bit more like Cladopora roemeri as seen in these specimens from the Hungry Hollow member of the Widder formation, Arkona, Canada. Indeed, Stumm does list C. roemeri as a species he lumps into Alveolites winchellana with a number of other species from the genus Cladopora (pg. 73, Plate 66, fig. 1-8).  He argues that the 15 species he includes all represent partial specimens with slightly different growth habits that were described separately.  Unfortunately I only have one partial specimen so I can't say that either ID is more correct.

Below are three profile views of the sides of the specimen. Each picture the specimen is rotated roughly 30 degrees.

Cross sectional view of the specimen.

This specimen comes from the Jeffersonville Limestone near Louisville, KY and is dated to the Devonian period (Eifelian).

References: Stumm, E. C. (1964). Silurian and Devonian corals of the falls of the Ohio. New York: Geological Society of America.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Gibbulinella dealbata Gastropod from the Canary Islands

This last set of fossils from the Canary Islands are small and delicate. I received these as part of an exchange with a collector from Spain.  He sent me the cluster of partial shells shown below. The shells are very thin and so were packed in cotton to give them some cushioning.

Cluster 1
Cluster 2

I also received this loose shell which is in good condition.  The label that was included listed these fossils as coming from near the town of Bajamar, on the island of Tenerife.  The label had them named as "Napaeus lajaensis" but a search on Google of that species yielded examples that did not match the specimens I have in hand. N. lajaensis is a more high spired shell with the tip of the shell being pointed, not rounded to near flat like my specimens. A little bit more searching and I believe I found a more likely candidate: Gibbulinella dealbata. This page from Wikipedia shows an example that is much closer to what I have, and it lists it as being found in the Canary Islands.

So I am comfortable changing the label to Gibbulinella dealbata as that seems to be a closer match.

Right profile
View of tip looking towards operculum
View of the bottom looking from the operculum towards the tip.

This fossil is Pleistocene in age and comes from fossilized dune deposits on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain.

Thursday, July 23, 2020

Thais sp.? gastropod from the Canary Islands

Below is a gastropod fossil from near the town of Taganana on the island of Tenerife, Canadry Islands, Spain.  The label that came with it identified it as "Thais speciosa". I received this fossil in an exchange with a collector in Spain so I believe it should read "Thais sp.", meaning the collector did not know what species within the genus of Thais this fossil belonged to.  I am not able to ID the shell down to the species level either, and am unsure if it even belongs in the Thais genus and the exterior shell ornamentation does not match anything I can find on Google.

The shell is longer than it is wide but does not have a high spiral. The shell is thicker than the land snail shells I received in the same trade so perhaps it is marine in origin?

I could be wrong though, any readers of this blog have an idea what this shell is?

Looking from the tip down the axis of the shell
Profile with operculum
Looking at the bottom down the axis of the shell
Profile without operculum

This fossil is Pleistocene in age and comes from soil deposits on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain.

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Hemicycla collarifera gastropod from the Canary Islands

In a previous post I wrote about an insect fossil from the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands.  In the same exchange that gave me that fossil I also received some land snail fossils from the same area.

Below is Hemicycla collarifera which is a low conispiraled gastropod similar to Hemicycla consobrina but has much more pronounced growth lines. 

This fossil is Pleistocene in age and comes from fossilized dune deposits near the town of Bajamar on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain.

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Hemicycla consobrina gastropod from the Canary Islands

In a previous post I wrote about an insect fossil from the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands.  In the same exchange that gave me that fossil I also received some land snail fossils from the same area. Below is Hemicycla consobrina from Bajamar on the island of Tenerife.

Hemicycla consobrina is a low conispiraled gastropod very typical of most land snails that one finds in the woods. The shell is relatively smooth but faint ridges (growth lines) are visible.

This fossil is Pleistocene in age and comes from fossilized dune deposits on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands, Spain.

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Fossil "bee cell" from Tenerife Island

Many years ago I exchanged fossils with another collector in Spain. Some of the fossils he sent were from Tenerife Island which is part of the Canary Islands. One of the more interesting fossils was one of a "fossil wasp nest".

I was dubious of the provenance of the specimen and it remained in a box until January of 2020 when I saw someone post a similar fossil on the Fossil Forum.

It was then that I did some digging and found a paper online that explains these fossils: "Fossil bee cells from the Canary Islands. Ichnotaxonomy, palaeobiology and palaeoenvironments of Palmiraichnus castellanosi", La Roche Brier, Francisco & Genise, Jorge & Castillo, Carolina & Quesada, María & García-Gotera, Cristo & Nuez, Julio. (2014).  Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology. 409: 249–264.  DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2014.05.012

Here is a quote from the paper
6. Conclusions
1) Fossil bee cells, attributable to the ichnospecies Palmiraichnus castellanosi, are recorded from the Pleistocene and Holocene of the easternmost Canary Islands. They are single cells with ovoid to
subcylindrical shape and a discrete wall covering a chamber and an antechamber. The chamber is internally polished and is sealed by a spiral closure. The antechamber, with smooth internal walls, has a structureless active filling of the same material from the palaeosol. This record constitutes the first documented evidence for bees, and Hymenoptera, in the Quaternary of the Canaries and the first one of this ichnospecies in Africa.
2) Specimens of Palmiraichnus castellanosi are similar to extant cells of Andrena savignyi studied herein, regarding shape, and the presence of a discrete wall, spiral closure and antechamber. This indicates that the members of the genus Andrena (Andrenidae) were the trace makers of P. castellanosi in the Canary Islands.
3) The high percentage (95%) of open cells indicate a high level of breeding success, favoured by the lack of predators or parasites and optimal environmental conditions, at least in the Pleistocene.
4) Palaeoecological and statistical data suggest that five species may have produced Palmiraichnus castellanosi in the Canary Islands. One on Lanzarote in the Holocene, another in south Fuerteventura in the Upper Pleistocene, two on Gran Canaria during theMiddle Pleistocene (one on the north coast and the second in the east) and the last on Montaña Clara, also in the Middle Pleistocene.

5) The abundance in the Pleistocene of Palmiraichnus castellanosi in the lowlands, reflecting a large number of individuals and species of Andrena, suggests a rich flora with probably many endemic shrubby species in accordance with present and other palaeobotanical and palaeoanthropological evidences.

6) The favourable climate attested by high densities of Palmiraichnus castellanosi associated with helicids may have been similar to thatprevalent at present in the lowlands of the Canaries, but probably
with a higher MAP.

7) The land-snail assemblage associated with the low densities of Palmiraichnus castellanosi in the Holocene at mid-altitude suggests a cool moist palaeoenvironment, with lower temperatures than in
the Pleistocene lowlands,more favourable for the success of the beetle producers of Rebuffoichnus than for bees producing P. castellanosi.
Some pictures from the paper:

While I am not 100% sure the fossil I have is one of these "Bee cells" that the paper describes, it certainly looks similar.  If nothing else I at least learned a bit more about fossilization processes and paleoclimates by reading the paper.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Philhedra crenistriata brachiopod from the Widder formation

Adding another Brachiopod species to my collection from the Hungry Hollow member of the Widder formation at Hungry Hollow, Ontario is Philhedra crenistriata. This is an inarticulate brachiopod and uncommon to find from this location. Inarticulate brachiopods are animals that hold their shells together using their muscles as opposed to Articulate brachiopods who have a hinge and teeth system to hold the shell together.

In this case, Philhedra crenistriata is a type of Inarticulate brachiopod which cements one valve of it's shell to a hard substrate (typically another brachiopod, mollusk, or coral) while the other valve lifts like an umbrealla. Philhedra is a simple genus to ID in the field by the flat rounded shell with a central raised "beak" that is surrounded by radiating ribs. The specimen below should be both valves with the top, or dorsal valve, visible. The ventral valve is beneath the dorsal valve and is cemented to the shell beneath.

I collected this specimen from the Hungry Hollow member of the Widder formation which is Devonian in age, Givetian stage.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Partial placoderm plate from the Arkona formation

I have never found much in the way of fish remains at Hungry Hollow, Ontario, but once I did find a small fragment from a bony placoderm plate.  Placoderms were early, shark like fish that had external bony armor around their heads. There are a few species known from the middle Devonian aged rocks found at Hungry Hollow (Arkona formation and Widder formation) but this is just a fragment so I doubt I could narrow the species down.

I found this piece near the base of a slope of eroded Arkona formation and could not find any trace of more uphill. You can tell it is bone due to the pale blue color (evidence of the phosphate mineral Vivianite) and the spongy structure within the piece.

Top surface - this is what would have been the outer facing portion of the bone. Note the bumps, perhaps they helped streamline the fish for swimming purposes?

Two side views of the bone showing the spongy nature.

This was the interior side of the bone

I collected this specimen from the Arkona formation which is Devonian in age, Givetian stage.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Small sponge from the Widder formation

On a trip to the exposures of the Widder formation along the Credit river in Hungry Hollow, Ontario, I found this cluster of sponge spicules. It is not uncommon to find individual spicules like this within the Hungry Hollow member of the Widder formation, but a large cluster like this is less common. I checked the "Check List of Fossil Invertebrates Described from the Middle Devonian Rocks of the Thedford-Arkona Region of Southwestern Ontario" by Stumm and Wright (1958) and they list one sponge known from the Widder formation: Astraeospongia hamiltonensis.  I am familiar with that genus from the upper Silurian where it is known as Astraeospongia meniscus from the Brownsport formation. The spicules in my specimen look very similar to those earlier species so I think I will stick with the name Astraeospongia hamiltonensis.

I collected this specimen from the Hungry Hollow member of the Widder formation which is Devonian in age, Givetian stage.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Mystery echinoderm from the Verulam formation

Below are some pictures of a mystery Echinoderm from the Verulam/Bobcaygeon formation. I am not entirely sure of the formation this comes from as it was found in an area that was close to the boundary of the two units.

It was found a couple of years ago and cleaned by an expert but there it not much there to go on. I posted these images to a group on Facebook that is frequented by knowledgeable people who have collected for many years from the Verulam and Bobcaygeon formation. The only possibility that was suggested was that it could have been part of the central body of a starfish. The presence of many small plates does make it seem like an echinoderm and starfish have lots of small plates as part of their bodies so I think this is as close as I'll be able to get to figuring out just what this was. For reference, the fossil is about the size of a US quarter.

I collected this fossil in 2017 at the James Dick quarry near Gamebridge, Ontario. The Verulam and Bobcaygeon formation is late Ordovician in age, Katian/Mohawkian stage.