Thursday, March 31, 2011

Paleozoic Pelecypods

Hundreds of millions of years ago in the Paleozoic seas of the Ordovician, Silurian, and Devonian periods, brachiopods were the dominate shelled creature of the sea floor. Clams on the other hand just occupied a small area of this habitat. As a result clam fossils are harder to find. In this collector's experience, the ratio is at least 1 to 100 of clam to brachiopod fossils found. In addition, clams tend to just be molds (steinkerns) of the inside of shells or imprints left on limestone.

In the modern world, the fortunes of the brachiopods and clams have reversed with the clams the more dominant animal and brachiopods scarce.

These fossils can be acquired on eBay CLICK LINK HERE (auction ends April 4, 2011)

The Ordovician (468-458 million years ago) clams are just molds of the internal shell they include the Ambonychia and Modiolopsis.

The Silurian period (438-408 million years ago) is represented by Cypricardina arata?. This fossil has some nice contrast with the limestone matrix.

The Devonian period (408-360 million years ago) fossils are Limoptera cancellata?, Paracyclas elliptica, and the Paracyclas lirata?. These fossils show the most promise if cleaned more to reveal further details of the fossil imprint.

Ambonychia Steinkern

Cypricardina arata?

Paracyclas lirata?

Modiolopsis, Limoptera cancellata?, Paracyclas elliptica

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

COAL - Show Premieres Tonight

Tonight (March 30, 2011) at 10 PM EST, a show premieres on Spike TV called Coal.  It will show the internal workings of the Cobalt Coal Company, its 600 feet deep mine, and the miners who extract coal there.  The mine is located at Westchester Mountain in McDowell County, West Virginia, USA.  The mine obtains its coal from the Sewell Seam.  Coal obtained at the mine is used in the steel making industry with the "metallurgical" grade being used for coke production.

Watching the preview, one gets to see a lot of the internals of the mine and some nice computer graphic sequences showing the mine operations. 

Coal First Look – The First 14 Minutes Of The Series Premiere
Tags: Coal First Look – The First 14 Minutes Of The Series Premiere

A lot of preview videos are available on the Spike TV web site CLICK LINK HERE

Learn more at the Cobalt Coal web site CLICK LINK HERE

Visitors to Louisville, Kentucky can check out an informative coal display at the Louisville Science Center.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tentaculites with Devonochonetes

Presented for your visual inspection, a Devonian hash plate from the Silver Creek Limestone of Clark County Indiana.  An intact Tentaculites with a lot of Devonochonetes brachiopods.

The Tentaculites is an extinct molluscs that lived in the Devonian and Silurian.  The ringed cone like shell is known as a conch.  Study of Devonian pyrite specimens from Germany alludes to the creature having tentacles.   So maybe they were like miniature shelled squids.  The next image shows the Tentaculites being about 1 cm in length.

Learn more about Tentaculitoids in the 1996 book Fossils of Ohio, Chapter 20 (pp.282-287) written by Stig M. Bergström.

This fossil is available for purchase on eBay CLICK LINK HERE.

On one side of this limestone block, is a cross section of a brachiopod with calcite crystals.

On the bottom of the plate are more remains of brachiopods plus this pygidium of a trilobite.  More that like it belonged to a Phacops.

View of top of plate:

View of bottom of plate:

View of one of the sides:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Plumulina "Mystery Animal" Fossil

This fossil appears to be a plant stalk but is in fact a marine animal.  It is called the Plumulina plumaria of the Upper Devonian Period (approximately 380 million years ago). The fossil is on display at the New York State Museum in Albany, New York.  Researchers determined this was not a plant because remnants of proteins were found and not cellulose.

The museum display shows that this animal first appeared in the Hamilton Sea.  It is similar to modern colonial soft corals and hydrozoans.

Fossil was found the Ithaca Formation of Tompkins County, New York.

Thanks to Kenny for the picture and description.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

New York State Museum

The New York State Museum was founded in 1836 as part of the State Geological and Natural History Survey.  According to their web site, over three quarters of million people visit each year and over 12,000,000 specimens in their collections. 

The museum has a rich history whose foundation was formed by geologists and naturalists of the 1800s (see their History of the Museum web site for details).  My cousin Kenny recently visited this museum and gave me some pictures he took.  He commented that it is an amazing place but the fossil displays had some areas of low lighting.  That being said, the museum has announced they have the designs finished for the updated natural history section of the museum.

New York state has lots of diverse fossil exposures.  The diversity of fossils allows the museum to have some great displays.  Here are some of them.

Cohoes Mastodon - Found 1866


Eospermatopteris - early land plant Devonian

Colpodexylon deatsii - early late Devonian
Climactichnites fossil tracks - Cambrian

Nephriticeras - Devonian Hamilton Sea
Coelophysis of the Late Triassic
Billion Year Old Stromatolites
Mineral Gallery

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Catellocaula vallata Borings

This interesting plate shows a fossil bryozoan with what appear to be trace fossil path on it.  The little cross or star patterns were thought to be an animal (tunicate?) known as Catellocaula vallata.   This specimen is from the Ordovician Kope Formation of probably Carroll County, Kentucky.  My friend Mary Ann found this and Kenny took the pictures.  It is a nice find.

Learn more at Bill Heimbrock's xFossils site with the particular page covering Ron Fine's fossils [see Item #2 on this page].

Friday, March 25, 2011

Ischadites Sponge Fossil

This small fossil appears to be a sponge called Ischadites sp. in the order of Receptaculitida.  It was found in the Waldon Shale of Clark County, Indiana.  The creature existed in the Silurian Period.

Go to this LINK to see an article as to whether is creature is a sponge or a plant. A picture of an Ischadites barrandei can be seen there as well.  This LINK shows an illustration of an Ischadites koenigi.

Last picture is a sponge fossil that Kenny found.  Thanks for sending me the picture.

Thanks to Herb for the fossil identification.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

More Fossil Auctions

Two views of a Silurian Period brachiopod called Rynchotreta cuneata.  It along with 8 other brachiopods (Anastrophia internascens, Atrypa newsomensis, Eospirifer eudora, Eospirifer radiatus, Homoeospira evax, Parmorthis waldronensis, Stegerhynchus sp., and Whitfieldella nitida) are up for auction at this eBay link.  Learn more about the different brachiopods that can be found in the Waldron Shale of Indiana at this LINK.

Two more auctions of 5 gastropods from the Ordovician through Mississippian Periods (LINK HERE) and 7 fossil corals from the Silurian through Mississippian Periods (LINK HERE) are available for viewing on eBay (auctions end March 25-27, 2011).  See labels in pictures for more details.

Favosites turbinatus

This nicely preserved Favosites turbinatus coral that is fairly large with about a 10 cm diameter.  The preservation is quite nice and cleaned by early Spring rains.   The coral is from the Beechwood Limestone of Jefferson County, Kentucky.  Middle Devonian Period is the time frame this colony of animals existed in.

Species was named by Billings in 1859.  These corals are found in other areas of North America: Hungary Hollow Formation and Onondaga Limestone of southwestern Ontario; Hamilton Group and Onondaga Limestone of New York; and Bois Blanc Formation and Prout Limestone.

UPDATE: The next two pictures show the coral from side views.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Favosites biloculi?

This coral was found in the Jeffersonville Limestone of Jefferson County, Kentucky.  It is thought to be a Favosites biloculi? coral dated to Middle Devonian Period.  The book Silurian and Devonian Corals of the Falls of the Ohio (Stumm, 1964) was used to identify this specimen.  Description on page 62 and plate 61, figures 15-17.  Fossil originally called Favosites perplexa by Clapp in 1847 and renamed by Hall in 1876.

See more Favosites or "honeycomb" corals at the Falls of the Ohio Devonian Coral web page.