Thursday, July 31, 2008

Mississippian Rock with Unknown Fossil

This fossils looks like some sort of stem creature. It reminds me of a smoothed blastoid but this could be a pseudo fossil.

It is just a distinct shape but no real lines showing details.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mississippian Rock

Here is the large rock I have been studying that came from Hodgenville, Kentucky (birthplace of American President Abraham Lincoln).

Here is a calcite or quartz cavity with Fenestella bryozoan around it.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

More Mississippian Bryozoans

I am trying to figure out what these rings are on the rock I showed yesterday. This rock has layers of Fenestella all over it.

Is it a base for the bryozoan or maybe part of a blastoid?
All I have found at the Hodgenville, Kentucky site are bryozoan remains and some fragments of brachiopods and gastropods.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fenestella Bryozoan

Here is bryozoan from the Mississippian period from Hodgenville, Kentucky I just found.

I am not sure the species but it appears to be genus Fenestella.

Here is something that is kind of neat. You can see lines squiggling around. Those lines are layers of Fenestella layered in the rock. They look like little lines of dots.

A Moving, Living Crinoid

Looking for some crinoid images I found some pictures of a living crinoid that lives in deep water (250+ meters). It is called Neocrinus decorus and it can move slowly. Here is a website showing a series of images of the creature moving across the seafloor.

The paper is here and I only read part of it. It is interesting especially the image of the tracks which might be something to look for in rock layers where crinoids are found.

This is a neat site as well from a couple that lived in the Grand Caymen Islands for about a year and dive a lot around the island. There is a submarine there that dives to deeper depths and they took some crinoid pictures while there.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Partially Intact Ordovician Trilobite Rolled Up

Most trilobite hunters look for the "holy grail" fossil which would be a fully exposed trilobite intact on the ground. From what I have seen on the internet and in displays are full trilobites that have extracted from rock using artificial means.

On my June 2008 trip to the Bardstown Road cut outside of Louisville, Kentucky this was my most intact trilobite find. I had found one more intact earlier in the year and hoped it would lead to more.

This trilobite is rolled up but part of its cephalon (or head) is missing. Trilobites rolled up when they sensed danger just like today's pillbugs.

As with the other trilobite fragments earlier shown this one was probably a Flexicalymene meeki from the Ordovician rock layer.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ordovician Trilobite Partially Exposed Thorax

Here is part of an exposed thorax or back of a trilobite. Probably a Flexicalymene meeki since it was found in Ordovician rock at the Bardstown Road cut in June 2008.

One day, if I have the equipment I will try and extract more of the fossil from this rock.

I find that it is a good idea to pick up some rocks that have lots of fossil fragments in them to analyze later. One after cleaning something shows up you did not see in the field and two a recent speaker at a KYANA Geological Society meeting said it is good to have multiple fossils together to help date the fossil.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ordovician Trilobite Pygidiums

Here are some Ordovician trilobite pygidiums (or tails) found at the Bardstown Road cut outside of Louisville, Kentucky. They were found in June 2008 during about a 90 minute search.

They are small less than a centimeter across.

I would guess they belonged to Flexicalymene meeki which seemed to be popular in this rock layer.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Ordovician Cephalopod

Here is the fossilized remains of an Ordovician cephalopod about 7 cm long. It was found in June 2008 at the Bardstown Road cut, outside of Louisville, Kentucky.

It is not in the best of shape. By the looks of it once the creature died its shell was exposed on a sea bottom for a while and was worn a bit by the environment.

The milestone of this piece is that I counted 20 segments on it and that is the most I ever found on a cephalopod fossil.

Identifying this cephalopod could be a problem since it is a mold and does not have siphuncle showing. Looking at a 1955 Ohio Fossils book it refers to the species Endoceras proteiforme or Orthoceras dyeri as common Ohio Ordovician cephalopods. I do not think those genus names are used anymore though.

The Ohio Fossils book from 1996, it says that Cameroceras inaequabile (Miller) used to be identified as Endoceras and is most commonly found in Ordovician rocks in Ohio. In the next paragraph, it said that Treptoceras is the most common cephalopod found in Ohio Ordovician rock.

So maybe this specimen was one of those species.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tentaculites scalariformis

Phylum Mollusca and the class is Gastropoda making this creature a small snail.

Its distinctive shell makes it look sort of like a very small cephalopod.

I think this creature is Tentaculites scalariformis.

In the "North American Index Fossils Invertebrates Volume II" by Amadeus W. Grabau and Hervey Woodburn Shimer from 1910 on page 10 describes Tentaculites as:
"Shell straight or slightly curved, elongate, tapering, conical, with circular cross section and terminating posteriorly either acutely or in a bulb. Surface marked by strong tranverse rings which are closely arranged near the apex and more distant and stronger near the mouth. Fine transverse and rarely longitudinal striae are present. Apical portion often filled with calcareous matter or divided off by transverse septa."

It goes on to say creature existed in the Ordovician to Devonian periods with it being very abundant in the Silurian and Devonian periods.

The book describes T. scalariformis (Hall) as:
"Differs from T.bellulus in the more obtuse annulations of the distal portion, with narrower interspaces, and in the more rapidly narrowing apical portion. Onondaga of New York, Ohio and Indiana."

It is also described in the Indiana Department of Geology and Natural Resources Twenty-Fifth Annual Report issued in 1900 on page 736.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Devonian Pelecypod or Clam

Here is a clam I found at Speed Quarry, Indiana back in April. Until a few days ago I did not know its scientific name until I came across an Indiana Geological Annual Report for 1900. It had a section on Devonian fossils and this was pictured on one of the plates.

This clam or pelecypod is called Paracyclas lirata.

I will update this section later with a image with a scale to show how big this clam was. Also I believe I have found 2-3 of these species.

Another thing I recently learned is that the Jeffersonville limestone layer found here locally is very similar to the Columbus limestone layer found in Ohio. Since we have to refer to Ohio fossil bulletins from the State of Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Geological Survey it is good to know. Referring to their Bulletin 54 from 1955, they comment that the genus Paracyclas could be called "round clam". It also refers to a species of clam called Paracyclas elliptica that occurs in Columbus, Deleware, and Prout layers.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Crinoid Calyx Fragment

Here is the bottom of a crinoid calyx or head.

It is from Joe Prather Highway which is a location about an hour south of Louisville, Kentucky on I-65.

I am not sure of the species or time period. Will continue to research and post later.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Crinoid Cluster

Here is a cluster of crinoid stems from Kentucky Highway 313 or Joe Prather Highway from I-65 to Fort Knox. I am not sure what species it is or the time period for these fossils.

This site is less than an hours drive from Louisville south on I-65.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Platystrophia ponderosa Brachiopod

Here are a number of brachiopods found at the Bardstown Road site near Mt. Washington.
It appears most are Platystrophia ponderosa brachiopods.

Maybe 3 or so (near bottom left corner of image) could be Platystrophia cypha with its high arching like fins in the shell.

Two brachiopods on the far left column and in its middle are probably Hebertella brachiopods with the fine lines on the shell. The Ohio Fossils book (Bulletin 54 from Ohio Geological Survey, 1955) lists 3 species for Hebertella: Hebertella sinuata, Hebertella occidentalis, and Hebertella insculpta.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ordovician Pelecypod

Here are the remains of a pelecypod and maybe another in a reddish-gold pyrite.

The pelecypod was found in Ordovician rock on Bardstown Road near Mt. Washington. It might be genus Byssonychia. The book Ohio Fossils Bulletin 54 from the Ohio Geological Survey in 1955 lists a number of species for Ordovician pelecypods: Byssonychia radiata, Byssonychia grandis, Anomalodonta gigantea, and Opisthoptera.

UPDATED: In the odd world of geology/paleontology, the name I used has been changed. Byssonychia has been changed to Ambonychia.

See this site for more information:

Straight Shelled Nautiloid Cephalopods

Here are some molds of cephalopod shells found in Ordovician rock off of Bardstown Road near Mt. Washington, Kentucky. Maybe they are of the genus Orthoceras (maybe an old name) or Treptoceras.

More information about cephalopods found in Kentucky can be found at:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Calcite or Quartz Brachiopod

Here is a Devonian brachiopod with its internal structure crystallized. The lophophore columns or feeding tubes have turned to calcite or quartz.

I am guessing it was genus Spirifera.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Star of David or Hexagonalis Crinoid

I like to call this the star of David crinoid piece even though it has 7 points. Maybe 4 mm wide from point to point on this piece. Looking on the internet I have not found anything that looks like it but it might not be crinoid stem but maybe a piece of a calyx.

The second picture shows the small rock that the little star fossil is embedded in.

Revised: At a KYANA fossil study session, I was shown a set of articles from the University of Kansas on crinoid stem classification. It had a series of shapes and names for them. One shape was a six pointed star labeled hexagonalis (hex - Greek for six and gonia - Greek for corner or angle). Since this shape has 7 corners, it could be called a heptagonalis (hepta - Greek for seven).

Also since there is a dot in the middle of the shape, you add a prefix to this word above so if the shape in the middle is a circle, cyclohexagonalis or cycloheptagonalis; if ellipse shape in middle then Ellipsahexagonalis or Ellipsoheptagonalis.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Truly, a beautiful fossil and reveals itself out the rock matrix so well. It makes me think of stone flower bud.

These fossils came from Sulphur, Indiana, USA I-64 road exit which is to the west of Louisville, Kentucky. It was collected at the same time as yesterday's Archimedes.

These blastoids are either Pentremites sodoni or Pentremites wellen. They are from the Mississippian period (known outside the United States as Carboniferous) which about 290-350 million years ago. The rock section is Chesterian and the formation these came from was the Haney.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Archimedes Bryozoans

Here are some small Archimedes bryozoans found off I-64 W of Louisville near Sulphur, Indiana. I believe the rock is of the Mississippian (Carboniferous) period and a great place to find blastoids and Archimedes fossils. It is a well known spot though so a lot of collectors visit this outcrop. Also some climbing is required to get to the rich fossil zones.

More than likely the specimens shown in the image are one of the following species: Archimedes distans (Ulrich), Archimedes invaginatus (Ulrich), Archimedes sublaxus (Ulrich), Archimedes meekanoides (McFarlan), or Archimedes mcfarlani (Condra & Elias).

More information about Archimedes found at this site can be found at this web page created by a local naturalist at the Falls of the Ohio, Indiana State Park
web page link

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Flexicalymene meeki

This trilobite was found near Mt. Washington, Kentucky (a little ways east of Louisville) on the Bardstown Road cut.

I spent time trying to figure out whether this was Calymene or Flexicalymene because the eyes are partially obstructed by matrix. The nose seems small and the head (cephalon) triangular. It was found in Ordovician rock so with the previous two features rules out a Phacops trilobite. I counted 13 segments in the thorax which puts in the correct range of 11-13. The tail or pygidium is slightly broke off and at an angle from the rest of the body.

Eventually, this specimen will be sand blasted to see if more detail of the head can be revealed.

Good trilobite research >webpage

Saturday, July 12, 2008


Here is a coral called Halycites that existed in the Silurian period. My cousin gave me this piece and I think it came from somewhere in Charlestown, Indiana. After I cleaned it up it turned somewhat white but still retains some reddish-orange look from being in clay soil.

I used the microscope to magnify a piece that fell off while cleaning that was piece of one of the walls.

Magnification is at 100 times which is a little much for a fossil. It would be nice if I had a 10x to 20x magnifier.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Phacops rana

Here is a trilobite head of the Phacops rana found in the Jeffersonville Limestone layer which can be found in Speed, Sellersburg, and Jeffersonville Indiana that I know of.

This is just a molt where the creature grew bigger and discarded its old shell which got buried and fossilized over time.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Craterophyllum magnificum Coral

Here is a Devonian coral fragment I found a while back. I decided to try something a little different to see what size it would have been. The Erwin Stumm Devonian and Silurian Corals of the Falls of the Ohio book lists this coral as having a maximum size of 15 cm in diameter.

I believe this coral was from the Jeffersonville limestone.

It looks to me that the coral was probably 11-13 cm in diameter.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Flexicalymene or Calymene Trilobite

This blog is to highlight fossils found around Louisville, Kentucky and southern Indiana. So to start it off I found a fossil while cycling this morning on the side of the road. Usually, the trilobite is one of the hardest to find. For those who do not know, a trilobite is a completely extinct creature that is an arthropod. Arthropods are spiders and crabs today. The trilobite might be closest related to the horseshoe crab of today.

I was surprised to see this fragment in the gravel spot in the grass. Since it was in a mix of gravel it is hard to say if it weathered out the ground or was dropped there. The rock seems almost like sandstone and the fossil is an imprint. I am wondering if it is Silurian period but it could be Devonian.

Usually, I find Phacops trilobites in this area and a lot of times I just find part of the tail section. So this is nice to find an almost intact head and enough of it to see it matches narrow nose with small eyes and a bump in front of each eye.

After researching another trilobite, this appears to be Silurian in age. The question is now is it a Calymene celebra shown at the Kentucky Paleontological Society webpage link or a "Flexicalymene" celebra shown on page 108-109 figure 1 in the Fossils of Ohio book (1996, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Bulletin 70).