Sunday, July 31, 2011

Spirifer (Delthyris) crispus simplex

This small brachiopod fossil appears to be a Spirifer (Delthyris) crispus simplex named by paleontogist James Hall in the 1800s.  Fossil was found in the Waldron Shale of Clark County, Indiana.  Dated to Middle Silurian Period (425 to 412 million years ago). A special find for me as it marks the 17th species found of identified brachiopod from the Waldron Shale.  See the others at this blog posting: CLICK HERE

Next picture is a magnified view of the growth lines on the fossil under a microscope.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bryozoan on Crinoid Stem

Bryozoan colony on crinoid stem from the Indian Springs Formation of Crawford County, Indiana. Animal dates to Mississippian Period.  Image taken using microscope.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Salpingostoma Gastropod

A Salpingostoma buelli? found in Bullitt County, Kentucky.  It might be from the Drake Formation of the Ordovician.  Herb did a nice job bringing these fossils out of the matrix.  Thanks for letting me photograph them.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dictyonella reticulata Brachiopod

Dictyonella reticulata brachiopod found in the Waldron Shale of Clark County, Indiana.  Creature lived in the Middle Silurian Period (412-425 million years ago). This species is my first find and while not perfect it has taken me some time and effort to find one!  Hopefully more of the matrix will come off once it is sandblasted.

UPDATE:  Tony at the Fossils and Other Living Things blog has posted a very informative entry about this species of brachiopod. It was once known by the genus Eichwaldia and in 1994 renamed Eodictyonella by Wright in Journal of Paleontology July 1994. He also reviews what caused the pattern on the brachiopod shell. Dave at Views of the Mahantango also reviewed the Dictyonella found in New York with this posting.

Next image shows its unique diamond shape patterned surface under the microscope.  Very cool!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Griffithides? Trilobite Pygidium

This trilobite fossil might be a Griffithides bufo pygidium found in the Indian Springs Formation of Crawford County, Indiana USA.  This animal existed in the Mississippian Period. CLICK HERE to see another Griffithides bufo found in Crawfordsville, Indiana at Piedmont Fossil's Flickr site.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Recently, I got to visit the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and spent a number of hours there.  It is a great place to visit if you like natural history museums.  The displays of dinosaurs and minerals are excellent.  They have a transparent wall where the fossil preparers can be observed working in the PaleoLab.  During my visit, they appeared to be working on a dinosaur from Argentina and another group was looking for teeth in gravel under a microscope.

Museum policy allows visitors to take pictures but not post them on the Internet so while a lot of pictures were taken none can be posted for this entry except the outside shots.

The area that leads into the PaleoLab is the Benedum Hall of Geology.  This room contains geological information about Pennsylvania including a Strativator (not sure of spelling) helping visitors under the stratigraphy of the area, a recreation of a Pennsylvanian Coal Forest, plant fossils from the state, large coal specimens, an educational exhibit on radiometric dating, and a "Which is a Fossil?" quiz.  One can learn that the Pittsburgh is Late Pennsylvanian in the Conemaugh Group.  The marker beds are Birmingham shale (Casselman formation) and Ames limestone (Glenshaw formation).

The next museum room contains a Herrerasaurus ischigualastensis dinosaur from Argentina (Triassic Period).  A cast of a Dunkleosteus arthrodire is also on display.  The entrance to the Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems can be found here.  A number of minerals from Kentucky and Indiana were on display.  The opening displays a large honey calcite mineral from Indiana and in the systematic display section were a pyrite ball listed from Indiana (probably an Indianapolis quarry) and a open geode with millerite listed from Kentucky (probably Hall's Gap).  The fluorescent display was nice as it was computer controlled lighting with commentary.  Minerals selected for that display calcite/willemite (Franklin, New Jersey), scapolite (Canada), fluorite (England), tugtupite (Greenland), ruby (Pakistan), aragonite (Italy), calcite (Florida), halite (California), manganocalcite (Russia), adamite (Mexico, scheelite (China), fluorite/celestine (Ohio), fluorite/oil (Illinois), zircon (Russia), hyalite opal (Czech Republic), and fluorapatite (Pakistan).

The radioactive display was good with 4 minerals on a rotating wheel that passed near a Geiger counter.  The radioactivity was weak (100-400 CPM).  Two beautiful cuprosklodowskite and torbernite specimens were on display there from Zaire, Africa. A very nice autunite from Washington state could be seen as well.

Individual locality displays could also be seen highlighting minerals from ancient England, Herja mine Romania, former USSR, India, ancient Greece, and Pennsylvania.  A large exhibit of native gold specimens was another highlight of the gallery.

After the mineral gallery there are the fossils with exhibits for Lyme Regis, England and Holzmaden, Germany specimens.  A large case of fossils from the Solnhofen quarries of southern Germany are on display.  If I remember correctly what the guide said, the collection was bought by Carnegie for about $4000 from an Austrian collector who wanted to use the money to build a villa.

The star attraction are the dinosaurs with the larger ones from Wyoming from the late 1800s.  The Diplodocus carnegiei was copied in plaster casts and those sent to museums in London, Berlin, Paris, Mexico City, La Plata (Argentina), Bologna (Italy), Vienna, Madrid, and St. Petersburg (Russia). One could consider it a fossil ambassador from the United States.

Other dinosaurs that can be seen Marshosaurus sp., Psittacosaurus sp., Protoceratops andrewsi, Tyrannosaurus rex, Triceratops prorsus, Stegoceras validum, Camptosaurus aphanoecetes and Pachycephalosaurus wyomingensis.   Another section profiles mammals from the tar pits of California, Ice Age animals, and an exhibit on marine reptiles (Mosasaurs) plus invertebrates of the Western Interior seaway.  On an upper level there is the Hall of North American Wildlife with some stuffed polar bears and a seal.  Next to that is the Botany Hall which has some interesting exhibits.  Ones showing fauna found in Pennsylvania: nuts, mushrooms, poisonous plants, yard plants, and trees.

The dinosaur Diplodocus carnegiei was found in the Morrison Formation of Sheep Creek and Powder River, Wyoming in 1899.  Since the researchers who found it were sponsored by Andrew Carnegie it was named after him.  A metal casting of it resides outside the museum and the original is assembled inside.  It is known by its nickname "Dippy".  Another dinosaur is assembled beside it and is name for Mr. Carnegie's wife.

If you like minerals or fossils, you will enjoy this museum.  The assembled dinosaur fossils are most impressive and the mineral displays are set up to allow close inspection of minerals and are well lit. While there, I visited the mollusk collections area and a curator showed me some of the Asian snails and also showed a live snail where one could see it breathing and its heart beating.  My regret is I did not have enough time to see all of the museum as there is a connecting art area plus sections dedicated to African wildlife, ancient Egypt, polar world, birds, and American Indians.

Across the street from the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Pittsburgh Board of Education building has on display a very colorful dinosaur.  In addition, the surrounding architecture on the University of Pittsburgh campus is a visual treat.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Belemnitella americana - New Jersey

The Belemnitella americana fossil found in the Navesink Formation (Monmouth Group) of Sewell New Jersey.  When alive these belemnites swam around in the Cretaceous Period.  These fossils remind one of pointed bullet and have a nice amber color.  The part of the creature that fossilized is called a guard or rostrum. Learn more about this fossil at the web site: CLICK HERE.

Thanks to Phil and Stan for these fossils.  A couple of fossil nomads with a zest for adventure and good times.

This last picture is of the fossils taken in longwave ultraviolet (UV) light.  The fossil tips and a thin line running the length of the fossil fluoresce a yellow color.  A discussion of the fluorescent properties of this fossil are discussed at the Rockhounds forum: CLICK HERE

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Plate Full of Scolecodonts

Recently, I found a plate with over 8 scolecodonts embedded on its surface.  Though the specimens are quite small and a magnifier is needed to make out details, it is an amazing find.  Fossil plate found in Trimble County, Kentucky in maybe the Drake Formation.  These animals existed in the Ordovician Period.  In addition to scolecodonts there are also a few graptolites and impressions of maybe brachiopods.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Echinocorus vulgaris

This fossil is called Echinocorus vulgaris from the Cretaceous Period.  Found in the region of Navarra, Spain.  Thanks to Dave at Views of the Mahantango for this fossil.  UPDATE: Whoops! The genus name was originally spelled incorrectly and it now fixed.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Myripristis laptacanthus - Fish Fossil

Fossil fish (Myripristis laptacanthus) found in Italy.  Fish swam around about 50 million years ago (early Eocene Epoch, Paleogene Period).  Fossil displayed at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (2010).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Clupea catopygoptera - Fish Fossil

Fossil fish (Clupea catopygoptera) found in Italy.  Fish swam around about 50 million years ago (early Eocene Epoch, Paleogene Period).  Fossil displayed at Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History (2010).

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Protomimosoidea buchananensis Flower Fossil

Legume-like flower (Protomimosoidea buchananensis) from the Eocene Epoch (Paleogene Period). Early flower that existed about 52 million years ago.  Displayed at Smithsonian National Museum on Natural History in 2010.