Thursday, June 22, 2023

A Nettelroth Fossil Displayed at the Smithsonian


This picture was taken in June 2023 while visiting Washington D.C.'s Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. It is the Platyceras dumosum (Conrad, 1840) snail fossil found by Henry Nettelroth (1835-1887)  probably in the 1870s in Clark County, Indiana or Jefferson County, Kentucky. This gastropod existed in the Devonian Period and Jeffersonville Limestone. Nettelroth documented the specimens his book Kentucky Fossil Shells published in 1889. I am not sure which fossil on the plate is the one in the picture above. The curator at the Smithsonian said that spines had broken off while in storage over the last 110 years. The institution acquired the collection in 1907.


You can read my past experiences with the Smithsonian staff and their help in getting the specimens of USNM PAL 51268 imaged. So I was surprised on my visit to the museum earlier this week and saw on the specimens in a display case in the exhibit labeled PLAYING THE NUMBERS. They had it labeled as sea snail 1 Spinyplatyceras dumosum lived 391-389 million years ago and found in the Columbus Limestone of Clark County, Indiana.

From my personal perspective I was happy to see one of Louisville's fossils being displayed in the main fossil hall at the museum. Hopefully, if Henry Nettelroth were alive today he would be too.