Sunday, March 24, 2024

Myelodactylus Crinoid Fossil Revisited

Years ago I posted a picture of a fossil crinoid Myelodactylus convolutus (Hall, 1852) that is normally seen coiled up. This fossil specimen was elongated as when it died it was attached inside a colonial Entelophyllum eruciforme (Davis) coral. After reading up on this type of crinoid, this is a very rare occurrence of the crinoid preserved in this position to find in the fossil record (normally fossilized curled up).

This next picture shows the fossil with a scale. It is about 5 cm long. Note the remaining holdfast at the bottom of the crinoid fossil that anchored it to the coral. Each of those little holes would have contained a cirri.Unfortunately, the calyx or crown is missing from the top of this specimen. 

My cousin Kenny has been working on cleaning this coral fossil and it seemed like a good time to post some updated images. Also a few new surprise fossil finds in the coral including maybe another Myelodactylus in the coral. Look at the reverse S shape in the picture below with cirri or some type of holdfast on top of an Entelophyllum coral fossil.

Next to that fossil are the remains of an eroded crinoid which I cannot identify.

A year before his death, renowned crinoid researcher Frank Springer (1848-1927) of the United States National Museum published "Unusual Forms of Fossil Crinoids" in 1926 (LINK). This 137 page treatise mentions the Myelodactylus quite a bit with a number of images in the plates. It is found in the Silurian Period Rochester and Waldron Shales.

In my opinion, this coral specimen should eventually be in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History to be part of the Springer Collection of echinoderm fossils. Learn more at their web page as of this writing in March 2024. I believe there could be more Myelodactylus crinoids hidden in the coral that future scanning technologies will be able to non-destructively detect. The Smithsonian would have the resources to do instigate this research.

Monday, March 18, 2024

Homalonotus delphinocephalus Trilobite Fossil

Recently, the The J. Paul Getty Museum of Los Angeles, California, USA made almost 88,000 images available under the Creative common Zero license as part of their Open Content Program. They state "Making images from Getty's collections freely available for study, teaching, and enjoyment." So I decided to see what if there were any fossil images and thankfully, there were.

One image I found was labeled as a Homalonotus delphinocephalus trilobite fossil found in the Silurian Period limestone of the Wenlock formation of Dudley, England. The fossil is listed as 6.25 inches (15.875 cm) and was in the cabinet of S. H. Blackwell, Esq. of Dudley. The image is an Albumen silver print by photographer identified as L.P.C. This fossil is similar to one I found in the Waldron Shale of Clark County, Indiana, USA which is now called Trimerus delphinocephalus (Green, 1832).

A little Internet research uncovered a document entitled "A Short History of the Dudley & Midland Geological Societies" by A Cutler. The Dudley Geological Society seemed to be active from 1841 to the early 1900s. Blackwell is listed as an honorary secretary in the 1842 member list and in the 1862 listed as a vice-president. On page 8 of this document it is listed "At about this time the Society produced its own notepaper and envelopes etc., and adopted a seal with a symbolic centrepiece featuring the trilobite Homalonotus Delphinocephalus (owned by S.H. Blackwell.)." Later in the document it mentions he gave tour of his iron foundaries and his fossil collection was on display during a society event.

We learn more about the owner of this fossil from a book stored at the Project Gutenberg site entitled The Curiosities of Dudley and the Black Country, From 1800 to 1860 by C. F. G. Clark.

"Another famous Iron Master in the Black Country, about this period (the late Samuel H. Blackwell, Esq., J.P.), contributed by his indomitable activity and knowledge to a large amount of improvement and development in the Iron and Coal trade. The Old Russell’s Hall Furnaces sprung into being and activity under his management, and Bilston also benefitted by his energy and manufacturing operations in that quarter. Mr. Blackwell was a learned Geologist, and took great interest in trying to prove many of the then undissolved problems in Geology and Iron making. This gentleman had the distinguished honour conferred upon him of being strenuously solicited to become one of the Members in Parliament for South Staffordshire, but this distinction he declined, alleging that his immense manufacturing engagements precluded such a possibility. Many of Mr. Blackwell’s speculations turned out unfortunate, and when an adverse turn took place in the Iron trade, he was compelled to suspend his numerous operations, and died (March 25, 1868) at the comparatively early age of 52 years."

Saturday, March 9, 2024

Babylonia areolata Gastropod


Today I am posting about a modern gastropod and not a fossil. It is called Babylonia areolata (Link, 1807) snail and it can grow up to 6 cm in size. The creatures live in the Indian and Pacific Oceans and exist down to about 10 meters. They are important food source in some countries. 

A co-worker had a vial of the shells that someone brought back as a souvenir from a ocean beach vacation. She gave them to me as I was curious as to what the shell species was. My guess is the snails were caught and cooked and the shells cleaned and then sold to become souvenirs in beach side shops in tourist locations.

Thursday, March 7, 2024

Alpena Michigan Coral Fossil


These pictures are of a Hexagonaria anna (Whitfield, 1973) coral fossil. It was found in the Bell Shale of the Traverse Group of Alpena County, Michigan, USA. The coral lived in the Devonian Period. Fossil was found October 2021.


Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Ammonoid or Gastropod?... That Is the Question.

 Here are some pictures of a recent find at one of our work sites in Bullitt County Kentucky USA. It appears to be from the Louisville Limestone or might be dolomite. It dates to the Silurian Period.

Thanks to Levi for the fossil and now we will try to remove some of the matrix to see if any patterns are left from the shell that might give a clue as to what this creature was and maybe its name.

The bottom of the rock has an imprint of a bryozoan fossil.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Oldest Famous Tree in Louisville?


In Sunday's Courier-Journal newspaper there was an article about the future of Stansbury Park and what the University of Louisville (U of L) would like to do with it. It was mentioned that in 2017 Churchill Park was leased to U of L for development of soccer fields and is thus not a park any more. Mention of Churchill Park triggered the memory of the October 23, 2023 blog post on Rogers Clark Ballard Thruston (1858-1946) and when in 1921 he and his brothers donated family properties that would become Ballard Square, Churchill Park, and George Rogers Clark Park. 

So I decided to visit George Rogers Clark Park on my lunch break at 1024 Thruston Drive in Louisville, Kentucky. The park is known for a 200+ year old bald cypress tree that legend has it was planted by George Rogers Clark (1752-1818) when he thrust his riding crop into the ground and cypress tree grew from it.

Bald cypress or Taxodium distichum trees can live to be thousands of years old. The tree at the park is surrounded by a metal fence with a sign telling its story. It grows next to a small creek at the bottom of a wooded slope. The trunk is quite quite wide maybe over 2 meters or 6 feet in diameter.

Park has a Commonwealth of Kentucky sign reading "Mulberry Hill Home of John and Ann Clark and their family, which included sons George Rogers and William Clark. Clarks built house ca. 1785 and family live here until 1860s. Remains of house and outbuildings razed in 1917 for WW I facility Camp Zachary Taylor. Family cemetery remains with graves of John and Ann Clark and other family members."


Friday, March 1, 2024

Compound Eye of Glyptambon verruscous Trilobite


Nice close up picture of the ventral view of Glyptambon verruscosus (Hall, 1854) trilobite compound eye fossil. Fossil was found in the Waldron Shale of Clark County, Indiana USA. It dates to the Silurian Period. Thanks to Kenny for the images.