Monday, August 31, 2009

Cambrian Trilobite Ogygopsis klotzi

Here is the Ogygopsis klotzi (named by Carl Rominger in 1887) trilobite on display at the Muséum National D'Historie Naturelle Jardin Des Plantes, Paléontologie et Anatomie Comparée in Paris, France. It can be found in the display cases on the second level in the trilobite section.

The creature is from the Middle Cambrian Period (French: Cambrien moyen) and was found in British Columbia, Canada. I think the label says it was found on Mount Stephen or maybe it means Stephen Formation. See this web page on the Peabody Museum of Natural History at Yale University on the trilobite specimen they have. Theirs is from the Burgess Shale if I read that right.

The book, Life in Stone: A Natural History of British Columbia's Fossils by Rolf Ludvigsen, talks about this trilobite in the chapter The Trilobite Beds of Mount Stephen on page 61. He mentions that Charles Walcott in 1908 found so many of this species in the trilobite beds that he named the unit 'Ogygopsis Shales'. The trilobite reached of size of 12 cm so it was easy to spot and collect. As a result, many museums and universities worldwide obtained specimens. I am guessing the one in this picture was one of them. The author goes on to say that this trilobite became somewhat of an archetype of Cambrian trilobites even though it is rarely found elsewhere in the world. Learn more at this web link to the book.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Burgess Shale Fossils

In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Burgess Shale fossils being discovered, here are 3 images of some of those fossils on display at Muséum National D'Historie Naturelle Jardin Des Plantes Paléontologie et Anatomie Comparée in Paris, France. Looking at their labels they appeared to have been collected in 1937-1938. They are on display on the 2nd level of the museum in the invertebrate fossil section (maybe the crustaceans area next to the trilobites).

The famous American paleontologist Charles Walcott discovered this landmark on August 30, 1909 in British Columbia, Canada. Thanks to for bringing this date to my attention. You can learn more about the Burgess Shale and its fossils at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. at their website.

Disclaimer: I had to take these images through a display case that did not provide the best of lighting conditions. Also since these fossils are black on a dark gray background in addition to being flatten thus making them 2-dimensional it is hard to get a good image.

The arthropod Waptia fieldensis that sort of looks like today's shrimp. Its genus name comes from Mount Wapta near the fossil bed in Canada while its species name reflects a town local to the site named Field. Learn more at this Smithsonian Institution web page.

Here is a Burgess Shale trilobite, though when first discovered by Charles Walcott he did not realize it. He classified it as a Crustacea instead and called it Naraoia compacta. It was later to be determined a trilobite by Professor Harry Whittington (Harvard University & Cambridge University till 1983). The genus name comes from Nareo lakes in British Columbia, Canada. See this Smithsonian web page for more information about this trilobite.

This last fossil is called Burgessia bella that is phylum Arthropoda and Class Trilobitoidea. See some better pictures at the Fossil Mall web page

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Billion Year Old Kentucky Basement Rock Sample

A test well drilling in Hancock County, Kentucky brought to the surface a red sandstone sample that could be a billion years old. A sample was retrieved from the "basement rock" at 2447 meters.

Rick Bowersox from the Kentucky Geological Survey is studying whether the layer this rock was extracted can be used to store carbon dioxide. The idea is to store carbon dioxide produce by modern energy production and store it underground in less dense rock. This sample is apparently too dense to for that type of storage. Mr. Bowersox is also trying to determine how this rock formed and what the climate was like in an age long ago.

This particular core sample was thought to be formed by erosion of northern Kentucky mountains composed mostly of granite. It is not expected that any fossils will be found in the core samples at that depth.

Find out more and see a picture of the sample at Lexington Herald-Leader website:

According to the article, "The carbon dioxide was injected in the Knox dolomite formation between 3,800 and 7,400 feet. Scientists figure that overlying impermeable rock formations and natural pressure will hold the carbon forever." The well will be monitored for up to 3 years to see if any carbon dioxide dissipates.

Dawsonoceras Cephalopod

These pictures show a Silurian Period Dawsonoceras cephalopod (ID guess on my part) in a meeting room display case at the Cincinnati Museum Geier Collection Center. I am guessing the fossil was 40 cm in length. Also note the coiled cephalopods in the case with it.

Dawsonoceras Classified:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Mollusca
Class: Cephalopoda
Subclass: Orthoceratoidea
Order: Orthocerida
Family: Dawsonceratidae

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cephalopod Crioceras

The following picture is of a fossil seen in the Cincinnati Museum collections area. It was labeled Crioceras sp. from the Middle Oolite (Upper Jurassic Period). It was found in Wurttemburg Germany.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Devonian Arthrodire

If you opened this drawer at the Cincinnati Museum paleontology collection center, and asked me what this was, I would have no answer.

Luckily, the curator was there and she told us it was a Devonian Period arthrodire (armored fish). They make great displays once there in 3-D form ( I believe there is one in the lobby at the Falls of the Ohio State Park visitor center.

If I had to guess, this fossil probably came from the Cleveland Shale (member of Ohio Shale). It is probably a Dunkleosteus.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Unknown Trilobite Pygidiums

Pictures of trilobite pygidiums stored at the Cincinnati Museum. At least one is from the Devonian Period.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Dalmanites purduei

This picture is of a cast of a trilobite found in Tennessee. It is stored at the Cincinnati Museum. The original fossil must have been 20 cm in length. The label called it Dalamanites cf. purduei from the Ross Limestone member. It existed in the Lower Devonian Period.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cladopora (Coenites) ordinata

These Middle Silurian Period corals are called Cladopora (Coenites) ordinata. They were found in Louisville, Kentucky in the Louisville Limestone. This specimen is described in Erwin Stumm's Silurian and Devonian Corals of the Falls of the Ohio on page 75 and in plate 69 figures 4,7,9,11, and 12. He describes it as, "Corallum typically dendroid, branching biserially, composed of corallites diverging radially from axes of stems and directed obliquely upward toward periphery. Stems 2-4 mm in diameter. Apertures sublunate, averaging about 0.5 mm in diameter and having prominent lower lip. Mural pores apparently absent."

This piece is rather large from what I normally find. The coral fragment is usually about the size of an American half dollar or quarter coin. This Coenites appears to be growing on a stromatoporoid or is it the other way around?

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Horn Coral Siphonophrentis elongata

Usually, the fragments of one of the largest horn corals to grow in the Louisville Kentucky area are not as large as the one shown in these pictures. This coral piece is well over 30 cm. It is the largest coral species found to grow here with the largest reported at 1.5 m which they mostly only reached lengths up to 60 cm.

This one was found in Louisville, Kentucky in the Jeffersonville Limestone. Reading the Kentucky Geological Survey Special Bulletin 19, Series XI, 1993: Fossils Beds of the Falls of the Ohio by Stephen Greb, Richard Hendricks, and Donald Chesnut, it says, "They are common in the coral, Amphipora ramosa, Brevispirifer gregarius, and fenestrate bryozoan-brachiopod zones in the Jeffersonville Limestone."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cryptolithus Drawing Version 2

Using Adobe Illustrator and then touching up with Adobe Photoshop I created a second version of yesterday's drawing. The thorax and pygidium have been redrawn. The right side of the lace collar was mirrored and the lines of the outer rim of the cephalon adjusted. Shading was added in an attempt to create depth for the cephalong and glabella.

Trimerus delphinocephalus Trilobite

Trimerus delphinocephalus (Green, 1832) trilobite pygidium stored at Cincinnati Museum.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cryptolithus Trilobite Diagram

Here is a quick rendition of a Cryptolithus trilobite from the Ordovician Period. I needed to make a label for a fossil I was sending out. I took some artistic license with holes in the lace collar, the deformed glabella, and the warped looking thorax segments. Probably when digitally composing a trilobite, it is a good idea to do either the right or left half and then reflect it along the y-axis.

Dalmanites selenurus

A Dalmanites selenurus from the Waldron Shale. It is was possibly found in Waldron, Indiana.

Fossils stored at the Cincinnati Museum.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Trilobite Pygidiums at Cincinnati Museum

Unknown (to me) trilobite pieces stored at the Cincinnati Museum.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Canadian Anomalocarid Appendage

This image is of an anomalocarid appendage (approximately 59 mm in length) found in southeastern British Columbia, Canada. It is from the Lower Cambrian Period and was found in the Eager Formation. This could be a Laggania [NOTE: The multiple long, thin spines which differ from the single, sturdier points of the Anomalocaris].

Thanks again to Howard from Calgary, Canada for today's picture and fossil information.

Howard also notes that the "typical" Anomalocaris with the single, shorter points also occurs in the same formation.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Spinatrypa Brachiopods

These pictures show Upper Devonian Period brachiopods called Spinatrypa. They were found in the Fort Simpson Formation (Frasnian) in the Northwest Territories of Canada. Thanks to Howard in Alberta, Canada for providing the images and information for today's post.

The brachiopod in the left of the first picture is considered large while the other is about the average size found.
Close up view of the larger brachiopod shown earlier of its brachial valve.

I have included a picture of a Devonian brachiopod I found here in Louisville, Kentucky with one found in the Northwest Territories of Canada.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Waptia fieldensis Plus an Anomalocaris

This picture shows a Middle Cambrian Period (500 million years ago) fossil stored at the Cincinnati Museum Geier Collection Center. It is a Waptia fieldensis from the Stephen Formation in the Burgess Shale Member. The fossil came from Burgess Pass in British Columbia, Canada.

This creature was a crustacean that resembles today's shrimp. The famed paleontologist Charles Doolittle Walcott named this species in 1912. His notoriety comes from his 1909 discovery the Cambrian fossils in Burgess Shale in the Canadian Rockies.

This next fossil is also in Burgess Shale but I am not sure what the creature was called. Looking at this website: I would say this is an Anomalocaris described by Walcott as a "strange shrimp". Apparently, it was quite the predator of the Cambrian seas.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Dalmanites Trilobite

This trilobite fossil is a very nice specimen with the little scoop off the cephalon and the spine off the pygidium. It appears to be a Dalmanites sp. maybe from the Silurian Period.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Unidentified Horn Coral

Unidentified horn coral found in Clark County, Indiana in the Jeffersonville Limestone. It is from the Devonian Period.

Friday, August 14, 2009

What is Growing on this Devonian Brachiopod?

The following pictures are of a Middle Devonian Period brachiopod Mucrospirifer? found in Clark County, Indiana. It was found in Sellersburg (North Vernon) Limestone. What I am not sure about is little line segments creeping up the valve. Is it some sort of coral or algae?

This brachiopod will be cleaned next time I am at the workshop. It should hopefully reveal more details on this brachiopod.

UPDATE (05/26/2010): I think I figured out what this is.  After reviewing a KYANA Geological Society website Devonian Fossil section for an identification of a bryozoan growing on a horn coral I found pictures of the Hederella sp encrusting an Orthospirifer fornacula. It too is found in the North Vernon Formation of Clark County, Indiana of the Middle Devonian Period.  Thanks to Alan G. for providing the original images for the KYANA post!

Learn more about hederellids or hederelloids on Wikipedia.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Unidentified Devonian Brachiopod

Look at the curves on this brachiopod. :) This unidentified brachiopod was found in the Jeffersonville Limestone which represents the Devonian Period rock. Found in Louisville, Kentucky USA.

UPDATED: This brachiopod appears to be a Brevispirifer gregarius (Clapp, 1857).