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Found 99 results

  1. Fantastic Fern Fossil In Flint

    An acquaintance found this on a ranch outside of Roscoe, TX. I presume it's some sort of fern. Any chance we could narrow it down further? It's a lovely specimen with a special remembrance for the collector. Appreciate any help you can offer.
  2. Fossil seed ferns (Alethopteris sp.). 300 m.y.o. St. Clair, PA. 185mm. One of the coolest fossil hunting experiences I’ve had. The amount of detail preserved in these fossils is incredible—some appear as if the leaves had just fallen! Exploring this area was like being transported back in time. Looking at a fossil like the one pictured here, it is not difficult to imagine the ancient carboniferous swamp coming back to life. For me, fossils are all about stress relief; a sobering—yet comforting—reminder of how briefly we are here, and where our priorities should lie. When I feel overwhelmed, it is relieving to recall how petty our day-to-day struggles are in the grand scheme of things. Life goes on. -Zach
  3. Fossil seed ferns (Alethopteris sp.). 300 m.y.o. St. Clair, PA. 185mm. One of the coolest fossil hunting experiences I’ve had. The amount of detail preserved in these fossils is incredible—some appear as if the leaves had just fallen! Exploring this area was like being transported back in time. Looking at a fossil like the one pictured here, it is not difficult to imagine the ancient carboniferous swamp coming back to life. For me, fossils are all about stress relief; a sobering—yet comforting—reminder of how briefly we are here, and where our priorities should lie. When I feel overwhelmed, it is relieving to recall how petty our day-to-day struggles are in the grand scheme of things. Life goes on. In order to illustrate the detail of these ferns, I found it was critical to get the lighting right. I experimented with many different positions/intensities of flash in order to get the desired effect. If light is coming from directly above, it can easily "flatten" out the fine texture of the piece, and I discovered that angling the flashes to the sides of the piece worked much better. -Zach
  4. Fossil seed ferns (Alethopteris sp.). 300 m.y.o. St. Clair, PA. 185mm. One of the coolest fossil hunting experiences I’ve had. The amount of detail preserved in these fossils is incredible—some appear as if the leaves had just fallen! Exploring this area was like being transported back in time. Looking at a fossil like the one pictured here, it is not difficult to imagine the ancient carboniferous swamp coming back to life. For me, fossils are all about stress relief; a sobering—yet comforting—reminder of how briefly we are here, and where our priorities should lie. When I feel overwhelmed, it is relieving to recall how petty our day-to-day struggles are in the grand scheme of things. Life goes on. -Zach
  5. Im looking to restore a few of my very delicate Mazon Creek fossils and im looking for something that can be sculpted but will harden over time without baking. I'm trying to fill small cracks, tiny voids and sculpt very detailed missing parts. I'll post some pics a bit later of what pieces im talking about, so you can get some insight of what im trying to do. Thanks, Charlie
  6. Mazon Creek Fern Id Help?

    Friends: Can anyone help me identify what kind of fern this is? It's 4"long, by approximately 3" wide. I apologoize for the photo quality; the pic was taken from my cell phone as my camera was destroyed when once I was inadvertently caught in a terrible sandstorm. Thank you, Roadcut Hannah
  7. This is a specimen of a type of "wood" that has been replaced by iron bearing waters, it is presumed. This looks alot like stigmaria, but it absolutely came from a late Cretaceous formation. If stigmaria, perhaps it was anciently reworked into the Cretaceous sediments? This unidentified specimen is astonishingly preserved! It almost looks as though it will start moving in your hand!!! The whole internal parts can be visually made out....even structures that appear to be veins! Strange....all i can figure is this specimen must be the product of a very violent environment, perhaps a hurricane of something...because it was torn from what it was attached to,in the process, one side of its "bark" was torn away also....revealing it's complex internal composition. Then, it seems, before decomposition could even begin...... !!!!! ...... it was deposited in the sediments that became its home. If that doesn't explain the remarkable preservation, then i am baffled as to what happened. Still, this paleobotanic needs a name. Any ideas?
  8. Ferns & Fossil Coral

    Parry's Lip Fern (Cheilanthes parryi) growing beside fossilized coral in Clark County, NV. This was one of my favorite photo-ops and one of the few cases where I had a specific subject in mind before actually finding it. I had seen lots of ferns and plenty of fossils at this spot, but I really wanted to show the juxtaposition of their patterns together—one living, the other as ancient remains. After a few visits, I finally found what I was looking for! -Zach
  9. So I'm back again with more plant fossil questions, but this time I am hopefully a little less clueless. I got Jack Wittry's guide to Mazon Creek Flora and have been trying to learn as much as possible. I am interested in comparing what I have found so far to an earlier study by Roger Boneham (http://journals.iupui.edu/index.php/ias/article/download/8143/8102) on the Pennsylvanian fossil flora and fauna of the Chieftain Mine site (now Fowler Park, Vigo County, IN) but I am running in to some nomenclature issues that make it difficult to decipher which fossils were found in the study. I am also having trouble differentiating some fern species with very similar venation (at least to my untrained eye). Jack was kind enough to clear up some of my questions about general identification and taxonomy in a previous post and he stated that based on what venation he could see and the form of the pinnules, the fern in question appeared to be Acitheca (Polymorphopteris) polymorpha. I have spent a good few hours since then going over numerous ferns with a magnifying glass and a bright light and have been able to see the veins on many of the specimens relatively clearly. Since I think my photographs obscure the venation even further, I have posted photos and sketches based on what I can see below: - 4.5 X 2.25cm (the nodule) Sketch - - 6 X 4.5cm (nodule) - 5.5 X 3.25cm - Sketch showing more clearly the transition in shape of the pinnules closer to the base - 8 X 4cm I have also found a negative of what appears to be the same type of fern that is ~11cm long and similar in form to the first picture. So I guess my question is, are all of these Polymorphopteris, are they something different, or are they a mix of species? So far, all of the ferns I have found with visible venation (~20) appear to be the same thing to me (similar venation, size, and form) so I suspect this has to be one of, if not, the most common species at this site. Boneham notes Asterotheca miltoni as "one of the most common species" and I suspect this is what I am finding. The only problem, is that it seems this species has been sunk (or at least reassigned) and in his book, Jack notes that both Polymorphopteris and Lobatopteris have been previously called Asterotheca/Pecopteris miltoni. For those interested, so far Cyperites preservations are the second most abundant fossil I've found with Macroneuropteris and Annularia stellata following next in line respectively. I apologize if I have asked too many questions at once or if my ignorance is showing in any all too obvious ways haha...I am still learning and it is a steep learning curve! I really appreciate all of the help you all have given me so far and I look forward to hearing your comments. -Andrew
  10. St. Clair Trip Nan and I took a trip to Deer Lake and we managed to squeeze in a couple of hours at the end of the day to visit the St. Clair fern site - which we consider to be our "home site." We always see animals there - a bear and cub were there last year, an 8 foot long black snake (it was really that long!) and this time we saw a dozen male and female turkeys. The site has been pretty well picked over by a season of fossil hunting so there aren't as many good finds lying scattered around on the ground but we don't normally scavenge these shards anyway - we either excavate the open pits left by previous fossil hunters, or we find promising looking pieces that have been discarded and crack them open with chisels. We also have gained a good sense of what kinds of fossils are located in various places on the site and we visualize in our mind's eye what this Carboniferous site must have looked like, 308 million years ago. This is Nan showing the width of a giant Calamites tree trunk that has been eroding slowly out of the ground substrate. The tree was squashed flat and people walking over it have begun to destroy and flake off what was previously a perfect large tree trunk embedded in the ground. I always say that cracking open fossil rocks is like opening a box of crackerjack. Here's a great example of a crackerjack fossil: Opening a Crackerjack Fossil This fossil looked very ordinary and not at all promising. However, it was thick and easy to crack open so I gave it a whack with my hammer and chisel. The results unfolded exactly as you see here - revealing a nice section of Cordaites (a very large leaf with close-together grooves, that looked like a corn leaf) and other fern leaves. We looked for a display piece for a colleague and Nan found this nice specimen: This will look nice in our friend's office, placed on a tilted rack we bought from Michael's craft store: We also found this sphenophyllum (a small plant that grew like a vine in the coal swamps):
  11. Pecopteris Ferns

    From the album Fowler Park - Vigo County, IN

    Form Genus - Pecopteris Shelburn Formation - Middle Pennsylvanian Chieftain Mine (Fowler Park) - Vigo County, IN Length: 54mm

    © Andrew Hoffman

  12. 2013 02 17 00.56.59 - Dinosaur Park Laurel MD

    From the album Dinosaur_Park Laurel MD

    Fossilized (carbon) fern that has metamorphed into coal.
  13. 2013 02 17 00.56.40 - Dinosaur Park Laurel MD

    From the album Dinosaur_Park Laurel MD

    This is actually a piece of iron that cast itself over a fern twig.
  14. 2013 02 17 00.55.57 - Dinosaur Park Laurel MD

    From the album Dinosaur_Park Laurel MD

    Fossilized fern embedded in outcrop.
  15. Hello! I recently received a shipment of fossil ferns from St Clair PA. I have never dealt with these before and they seem fairly fragile and they came fairly raw, with some dirt on them and leaving a grey residue/dust behind everywhere they go. Whats the best way to clean these without damaging them and should I coat them with something to protect them? And if so, then what? They range in thickness from a quarter inch to an inch. These are from the Llewellyn Formation, Pennsylvanian Period. Some of the pieces have what appears to be some pyrite or graphite, a shiny silver metallic look. I included a picture of the items as reference:
  16. What Fern Is It?

    http://img824.imageshack.us/img824/200/dscn5356n.jpg Hi friends. I have a problem with this fern. Do you know what species is it? Regards Juan
  17. Fern

    From the album Kentucky Fossils

  18. Our Fossilicious Summer

    WHAT WE LEARNED IN OUR FIRST FOSSIL HUNTING SUMMER This is a short recap of what we learned on our fossil trips this summer, in our first 3 months as very new fossil collectors. This week, Nancy and I gave a slide presentation on our summer fossil hunting experiences, to the Delaware Valley Paleontological Society. We didn't realize it ourselves but in 3 months we visited 8 sites in Pennsylvania and New York including: Antes Creek, Deer Lake, Red Hill, Juniata County, McIntyre Mountain, Montour and St. Clair in Pennsylvania, and a very productive trip to Tully, NY. We visited St. Clair 4 times, which has become our home site. At St. Clair, we were astonished by the diversity of species - we collected well articulated samples of more than a dozen species including: Alethopteris, Annularia, Asterophyllites, Cordaites, Cyclopteris, Eusphenopteris, Lepidophylloides, Neuropteris, Odontopteris, Pecopteris, Sphenophyllum, Sphenopteris, and numerous Seeds, Bark, Roots. Most notably - I learned to pronounce all of these without stuttering! At St. Clair, we spent one trip looking exclusively for seeds trigonocarpus), and one trip looking just for roots (stigmaria). Our most significant finds have included very large (2 foot long) display pieces covered with well articulated orange ferns, an alethopteris seed attached to a leaf stem, and many Carboniferous leaves that have different shapes from traditional ferns. What we learned this summer has really helped us find some interesting fossils - here are a few things we did that helped a lot: 1. DOING OUR HOMEWORK. It helped to study each site in advance using Internet websites and books on fossils (Dave's "Views of the Mahantango" and "Louisville Fossils" are among the best, imho). Several universities also have great educational sites that bring each era to life in very creative and interesting ways, with lots of illustrations and photos. I like the UC-Berkeleyand University of West Virginia websites. 2. LEARNING FROM TRIP REPORTS. We read trip reports from other groups and individuals to see what they reported - sometimes this helps us stumble across new places to visit such as the site at Tully, NY and Deer Lake. 3. SETTING GOALS AND TARGETS FOR EACH TRIP. For each trip, we establish specific goals - for example we may look for seeds, or roots at St. Clair, or trilobites or shell assemblages at a Devonian site. Our interest right now is in looking for things that are scarce or rare, and fossils that are extremely well articulated (which is also rare!). We also like solving puzzles so eventually we would like to find things that help add to the fossil record in areas where there are still questions or missing links. 4. DISPLAYING WHAT WE FIND. Personally, Nancy and I like collecting larger fossils that we can display in mounts and frames, and we are also looking for larger pieces that we can display like sculptures - we have a few pieces that we drilled holes in, inserted wooden dowels that we stained, and then drilled/inserted the dowels in wooden trophy bases - all available from a craft store. This allows us to display thicker fossils esp. assemblages, like sculptures, and you can turn them around and look at all sides when they are mounted like this. 5. WE AVOID FOSSIL HORDING. We both agreed that we would NOT become "fossil horders" putting hundreds of rocks in boxes and sticking them away in the basement or garage - instead, we focus on finding display-quality items, and rare or scarce finds which we are slowly putting in frames. 6. DOCUMENTING OUR FINDS WITH CLOSEUP PHOTOS. We photograph everything we find as soon as possible after returning from a trip, using a digital camera with a closeup attachment - many times we find new discoveries while taking closeup photos and some of our best finds came AFTER we returned from the trip and inspected our fossils. I usually put the finds on a white background on an ironing board and use window light, nothing fancy, but it works. 7. FOSSIL ID. We post anything we can't identify on the Fossil Forum and are EXTREMELY grateful for the terrific response from our friends on the site! We are also accumulating a growing library of fossil books (some modern, some from the 19th and early 20th century) so we can identify more fossils ourselves without having to post on Fossil ID. 8. WRITING ABOUT OUR EXPERIENCES GIVES US NEW INSIGHTS. We report everything that interests and excites us about fossil hunting on Fossil Forum to share our experiences - and we find that writing about what we're doing helps us learn more and gain insights, just from writing about it. We have also started videotaping some of our adventures and are thinking about the best place to post some of these. 9. WINTER PLANS: COPING WITH CABIN FEVER. Our winter plans are to visit one or two more sites, then go into "fossil hibernation" and organize, identify and label fossils we haven't processed yet. We have a Dremel to do some light preservation work where needed. We are not planning to become "chemical conservators" - using chemicals to dissolve limestone and so forth - that's a bit too ambitious for us at this point. We may get involved in some interesting activities by local universities that are using 3D printing to process and replicate large dinosaur bones. We are also planning to provide an exhibit (on Carboniferous plants and trees/coal swamps) at a fossil fair in April. 10. RECOMMENDED READING: I enjoy reading fossil books - I'm currently reading with great interest a small book entitled "Leaves and Stems from Fossil Forests" by Raymond E. Janssen (1939) which I bought last night at the DVPS meeting, and a textbook entitled Introduction to Paleobiology and the Fossil Record by Benton and Harper (2008) (excellent book). The book that has been the most useful to me so far is the classic book "Fossil Collecting in Pennsylvania" by Hoskins et. al. (3rd ed. 1983). I am constantly re-reading the Hoskins book and find something new each time as my knowledge grows. A book that impressed Nancy and me is a large beautifully illustrated book entitled "Prehistoric Life: The Definitive Visual History of Life on Earth" (published by Dorling Kindersley, 2012) UPDATE (Oct 11): Nancy is taking some college courses which are prerequisites to enter grad school, so I am doing most of the fossil reading and ID. I read several books at the same time and other books I purchased that I am currently reading are: Paleobotany: The Biology and Evolution of Fossil Plants (second edition) by Thomas Taylor; and Introduction to Paleobiology and the Fossil Record by Benton and Harper. I guess you can tell from this that I'm reading up on fossil plants - my main interest is not just to understand the evolution and fossil record, identification tips, etc. - but also to try to figure out where the missing links and gaps are so if we come across something that adds to the fossil record, we will be able to recognize the value. What is most surprising is that there is a lot missing from the Carboniferous record - partly because after this period, many of the oceans and swamps apparently dried up and there were ice ages and other factors that caused mass extinctions. Here are some interesting things I have learned this summer about Fossil Plants and Trees: 1. More Carboniferous insect fossils and evidence of insects are needed (by the way, there are some GREAT current discussions about insects on this forum!). 2. Many categories of lycopsids and other Carboniferous trees and plants do not have verified associations between the leaves and seeds, or leaves and trunks/stems. Many trigonocarpus (fossilized seeds and "fruits") are found with leaves, but examples of seeds actually ATTACHED to leaf sprigs are rare (we have found one example of a seed attached to Alethopteris). 3. More Leaf and Bark Verifications are Needed. Another interesting thing I learned is that there are more than 30 different types of "scale tree" patterns but only half a dozen leaves for these trees - suggesting that a lot of different species had the same leaves - or - there are a lot of missing leaf types or the existing leaf types have not been matched to the bark patterns yet. 4. Another peculiar revelation is that most Carboniferous leaves that do not fall neatly into classic fern shapes seem to be lumped together as "sphenopteris" - we have many "non-traditional fern" leaf fossils that are VERY different from each other and obviously different species, but when we go online to ID them, they all seem to be grouped as "sphenopteris!" Maybe some of these leaf types match up with the bark patterns I mentioned. 5. Last but certainly not least is the insight that fern trees could have 2 or 3 different types of leaves on the same tree! This was really interesting. Also, some leaf types can come in different shapes - for example, Neuropteris can be round at the base of a stem and elongated along the stem and at the tip...AND...some paleobotanists now classify cyclopteris - the round fan shaped leaf - as a form of Neuropteris. This definitely adds to the confusion. I'm still reading and trying to understand all of this and these are only my initial impressions, which are still forming and there may be explanations for some of these questions that I haven't discovered yet but these are the questions that I am trying to answer by reading, and of course, by fossil collecting. I hope that many of our new friend (and I should add, VERY COOL new friends!) on the fossil forum will help clarify some of these interesting questions. Hope this is helpful.
  19. This is the 5th in a series of fossil ID questions - this one relates to two stick shaped fossils collected on our Sept. 16 trip to the 380 million year old Devonian site in Juniata County, PA. Devonian plants and trees are hard to find in Pennsylvania because so much was underwater however there were sticks and twigs and stems that did sink into the mud and get preserved. The question is, did we find two of those during our Juniata trip? Are these stick shaped fossils from plants or trees, or something else? Opinions, please... This stick shaped sample has a long thin piece extending at the bottom which appears to be part of the main fossil, which may (or may not) offer a clue: Here is another fossil from the same site/trip which has a similar form factor - it is in green shale - this bulges out a bit at the base:
  20. After my original post I learned that the feathery fossils are probably leaves of a scale tree - maybe emergent leaves. They are often described as "similar to conifers" and are feathery as you can see. Are they Lepidodendron leaves or Siggilaria or Calamites? There are also listings in the literature of "LONG" grass-like leaf appendages coming straight out from the above ground (or above water) trunks of the Lepidodendron tree. How do we tell if the side appendages are long leaves or rootlets? One type of leaf appendage is often described as coming straight out from the trunk, looking more like grass, and this is confusing. In the fossils we have found, there appear to be rootlets coming out from the underground (or underwater) trunk stems, but in some fossils it looks like the long appendages are coming out from the above-water trunk because they are long and leaf shaped and do not look like rootlets. Interested in references clarifying the leaf types. The images of small feathery leaves came from cracking open already-thin shale pieces from the St. Clair fossil pits (Llewellyn Formation, Carboniferous/Pennsylvanian, St. Clair, 300-308 mya). The images of the core trunk stems with appendages were excavated from the shale floor of the fossil pit. An example of the larger specimens showing the appendages coming out from the sides is included - some people believe these are rootlets but they may also be leaves coming out from the trunk....ideas? These files are listed as Lepidodendron but actually if it's a root it is called Stigmaria (which includes roots of Lepidodendron and Siggilaria - if the shoots coming out the sides are LEAVES then they are designated Lepidophylloides).
  21. Fossil Fern Cupule - Archaeopteris?

    I've been pondering this fossil from St. Clair and it looks like a "cupule" that encloses a seed or spore and I'm thinking that it might be cupules at the end of a node - maybe archaeopteris. Is anyone familiar with these fossil plant cupules who might shed some light on this? One of the very surprising things we're learning about fossil plants (Pennsylvanian) is that many of the ferns and horsetails had different shaped leaves or leaf configurations on the same plant, such as the microphylls on the trunk, cupules that enclosed seeds, and young round leaves versus older elongated leaves (neuropteris for example). Still learning about paleobotany at St. Clair where we've been collecting - fascinating.
  22. This is a cluster of round or cup-shaped "fuzzy" fern nodes at the top of the stem, that look like they have veins. The last vertical photo shows the upright stem and individual leaves in the cluster. This odd shaped cluster looks like some examples in the Lesquereaux plates but haven't found similar illustrations or photos. It looks like fern shaped leaves at the bottom of the stem and the fuzzy fronds are clustered at the top which is also the tip of the sprig. Any ideas what this might be? Thanks!
  23. Carboniferous Creature Or Plant Fossil?

    Is this tiny conical shaped fossil evidence of a "carboniferous creature" or simly a stem fragment that happens to look like parts of a creature? This turned up when Nancy (the keen-eyed member of our family) was examining some finds we just made - she jokingly calls this a "fish tooth" although we both know it's not that. However, the lack of associated plant material suggests that this is either a very isolated stem with a white coating - or - possibly a tiny fossil from a carboniferous creature. We are actively looking for insects and other evidence that living things co-existed with the abundance of plant life in the fossilized swamps at the St. Clair shale pits however, we're very skeptical. We'll be interested in your opinions and inputs on what this might be, and why...thanks!