Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Sea Urchin Fossil from Mammoth Cave

The state of Kentucky is famous for longest known cave system in the world called Mammoth Cave.  The cave is thought to have begun forming about 10 million years ago.  Located in Edmonson County, the cave system has over 350 miles of surveyed passages.  A national park preserves the cave for visitors to explore and enjoy.  Visit their web site as this link.

This sea urchin fossil was found there and has been identified as a Melonechinus indianensis from the Mississippian Period.  The stratigraphy found at Mammoth Cave are: Girkin Formation, St. Genevieve Limestone and St. Louis Limestone.  Other fossils found at the cave include shark teeth, blastoids, crinoids, horn corals, brachiopods, and snails.  Since it is a national park, collecting is prohibited!

The fossil pictured in this post was on display in 2010 at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

3 comments:

spencdc said...

Hi, did you take the photo? Was this on diplay? And do you know when specimen was collected
Thanks
Dave

Kentuckiana Mike said...

Yes, I took the photo. The fossil was behind glass or some transparent material so you can see a reflection of my hands and camera in the upper portion of the image.

It was on display as of August 2010.

The on-line Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Department of Paleobiology collections database has one entry for USNM PAL 380837 found in Edmonson County, Kentucky with no date collected or who the collector was.


There is a better focused image at this web site

Anonymous said...

I found one of those sea urchins, did not know what it was until i viewed this blog.
thankd