Sunday, February 7, 2010

Lexington Limestone Scolecodonts


My cousin loaned me a Orion MicroXplore MFL-06 since my digital microscope broke.  It has a 4x objective lens with a 10x eyepiece lens.  I used a Kodak LS743 compact camera in macro mode to take images though the eyepiece.  Using Photoshop CS4 processed the images to show on the blog.  I took one shot of a mm scale on a ruler to get a rough idea of scale.  I then used the Photoshop Analysis tool to set a pixel value for 1 mm for the Ruler Tool.  This tool was then used to measure points on some scolecodont fossils.

 These fossil remains of an Ordovician Period polychaete annelid worm.  Fossils found in the Lexington Limestone of Franklin County, Kentucky.  Thanks to Herb for the material to study.
  Below is an image to give the reader a perspective as to the size of these fossils and why a microscope is needed to study them.  All the fossils for this post are on that business card.






These last two images I am not sure about.  They might be scolecodont fragments.



Paul Racicot said...

A good link for Scolecodonts :

Found on :

I don't know what microscope was used to shoot all these specimens on, but WOW ! And I think I a am going to collect some other stuff than big fossils on some sites ! Thanks for this new view on paleontolgy, Michael.

Michael, have you tried to minimize the ISO on a 10 or 12 megapixels camera fixed on tripod and set it on the supermacro mode and a delayed action mechanism set to 10 seconds to stop vibration ? Then crop the photo obtained on the interesting part of the photo ? Maybe you could glue the specimen to a needle head or toothpick and fix it into a sponge... For the bigger pieces, this receipe should work quite well, no ?

Have a nice day !

Fossil Detective said...

Hi Paul,

Those links are very informative. Thanks.

Sometime I hope to document the procedure for reducing gravel/mud into material that yields microfossils. The extreme cold weather makes washing material outside difficult.

I have found you can get a relatively cheap microscope to look at these fossils. In the future, I will try an make a post showing the equipment I use.

At times I use the procedure you document in the comment. I tend to always use supermacro mode. If I have time, I will set up the tripod and use the remote control to trigger the shot.

Not tried using a toothpick or needle, good ideas. Sometimes I utilize set of tweezers used for handling microelectronics to rotate and photograph fossils.

Good luck with your fossil studies.