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Found 188 results

  1. My students are currently traveling 1500 miles, from Texas to Aurora, NC. And they are traveling back 20 million years in time. I'm hearing excited cries of "I found a shark tooth," and "I've got a coprolite." Ordinarily I would be doing this at our lab tables, but I'm still hobbling around on a cane, so they are working in the front of the lab. But I can tell you that days like this are what make teaching wonderful.
  2. Now that there is a microfossils subforum, I thought I might gather various posts regarding some silicified micros I found recently.... Years ago, I collected a few nice gastropods that were silicified: Because they came from limestone, I figured I could extract many more with muriatic acid. Last summer, I collected some chunks of rock that contained the mollusks: This was the result of the acid bath: There weren't as many snails as I'd hoped, but I was intrigued by the fine detritus. Time to pull out the microscope.
  3. Foraminiferas?

    Are these forams? Found in Devonian limestone (I think). They are clear spheres about a tenth of a millimeter in diameter. They appear to have a black "nucleus" inside. Sorry, my images a terrible because they were taken through a microscope.
  4. Sieves For Conodont Extraction?

    I know nothing about this topic, so please forgive me for my ignorance. A few months ago, before heading to my favorite site my stepdad took my on a side route claiming he knew a place that his uncle owned that had a whole lot of shale. He was right, and I picked up a lot of the shale, some new albany (black) shale. This is unfossiliferous, except for conodonts, and perhaps plant spores. I have some dissolving with vinegar, but I know nothing on extracting them after the rock is dissolved, I don't have any sieves, are there any stores that have sieves small enough for conodonts? (I can't internet shop). What do I do once I have sieved the mud, is there any particular way to sort the conodonts from the loose bits of mud, and how do I store conodonts? Bonus points if you can tell me what I can do to study them, I hear they hold a lot of important information in them.
  5. Part 2 Fossil mounts cont. I cut the ID lables to fit the coin holder I am going to use and glue it in the box using a glue stick. Let the glue dry, and coat the numbered area of the lable with a 50/50 mixture of white glue and water. Do not put it on thick, a thin coating will do. When this dries the holders will be ready to use. The blank area at the top is for location information. E) Magnifiers: You can use a hand lens of 20x to view the prepared sample but this will get real tedious if you are doing much looking. There are several other relatively cheap options. USB stand alone cameras. These you plug into your computer and get a real time picture on the screen of what you are looking at with the use of the included software. These cost from $20 to $50 depending on which one you buy. I have included 2 that I have, they take decent pictures and aren't hard to use. They are basically small digital cameras. I have included some pix from them also. PIX: Another type of USB camera I use is used in conjunction with a binocular microscope. This obviously is not as cheap but still not too bad, about $220 for a 5.1 M camera. A 1.3M is about $100, and on up to higher resolutions. You can buy a serviceable binocular microscope for as little as $140. I found a nice new Russian made one for $250. F) Sorting tools: I purchase various sorting trays from dollar stores and use different ones depending on the color of the matrix I am looking through. Dark for light and light for dark. Any smooth very shallow sided container can be used. See pix. To sort out the micros in the trays I make my own disecting needles from dowel rods and sewing needles of various sizes. Make a hole in the end of the dowel rod and glue in a needle. When you find something you want to keep you can use a fine tip artists brush or make your own by cutting out most of the hairs from a small model brush. Leave only a couple hairs. Moisten the brush tip (I use spit ) and apply a little moisture to one of the boxes in your coin case. Use the disecting needle to isolate the fossil in the dish and touch the moist brush tip to the fossil, like magic it will stick, and transfer it carefully to the moistened spot on the case. The fossil will stick to the case. It can still be moved until the glue dries. If you need to remove it at a later date a little water on the brush applied to the fossil will break it lose. Lable the slide and have fun. There are lots of web sites out there to help with identification. The best one I know of for foraminifera is Foraminifera.eu. I hope this helps someone, feel free to contact I you have any questions. If I don't have the answer I'm sure someone else on th FF will .
  6. This is just a guide to people who want to collect microfossils and don't want to spend a lot of money. This topic includes foraminifera,conodonts,ostracods,scolecodonts,and misc. mini fossils mainly too small to see without magnification. It will not be all encompassing, mostly for the beginners. A) Collecting; If you happen to live in an area that has a lot of shale/clay then you are in luck. The Ordovician and the Devonian both have lots of microfossils. Just gather up a bag of clay from between the rock layers. Soak the clay in a big bowl , crush it up with your hands, and slowly decant the clay (pour it off slowly), refill the bowl and repeat until the water turns clear. This may take numerous washings. What you have will have micros in it most likely. Dry the residue, if it is clean,it will not clump together if it sticks together too much, wash it some more. Then sieve the residue through at least 2 sieves one with door screen size openings and the other fine mesh (women's hose, or if you're Joe Namenth, your own hose ) Then look at the smaller material with at least 20x magnification and see what you find. The areas with sandy materials just usually have to be dried and sieved (Cenezoic, Cretaceous stuff) Cretaceous marls can be treated like clays for the most part. I don't usually deal with hard rocks, they require an acid to break down, too much work and mess for me. Materials: Sieves Fossil mounts Magnifiers Sorting tools C) Sieves can be as cheap or as expensive as you are willing to spend. The ones I will show you how to make will cost under$10. They are made from cardboard cylinders and needle point hoops and mesh. Most of which can be found in your local hobby store. The pix tell the story. I use door screen for the coarse sieve and hose/mosquito netting for the fine. You can buy a 4" plastic with brass mesh 5 piece sieve set from geologic/materials testing supply stores on line, about $40-50 a set. The advantage to these is you can wash the matrix directly through the sieves saving time. D) Fossil storage You can buy microfossil storage slides on the net from scientific supply houses for $4-7 each. The ones I use cost about a $1, and you can customize them to what you collect. I but plastic coin holders from hobby shops 2x3" and 11/2" square. I print my own lable inserts I printed using Excell to get the size needed. You may use my included for if you wish and it will print clear enough for you. If you figure out how to make money off this idea I want a cut. End of part 1
  7. Wolfe City Fine

    From the album Fossiljim Micro

    Microfossils from screened (30 mesh) Texas redbed material.
  8. Gift Of A Bag Of Dirt

    A couple of weeks ago, a friend gave me a bag of "Permian dirt". No info on where it came from, but I will pry info out of him at the next paleo meeting at HGMS. I washed some, screened it at 10, 40 and 80 mesh. I have been spending a great deal of time with the 10-40 stuff and am amazed at the number of vertebrate microfossils I am finding. (Thank goodness I married a tolerant woman 35 years ago. Microscope, dirt and misc. containers have been on the kitchen table for 3 weeks!) I wanted to quantify the richness of the material, so I filled a 1" x 1" ziplock bag with 1/4 ounce of the materials, then sorted and counted. There were 32 xenacanth teeth and a total of 275 teeth, denticles, fish scales as well as an uncounted number of fossilized shark cartilage pieces.
  9. Pliocene Microfossils, Uk

    Dear All, I have these two pictures that I took it from my sample of Pliocene microfossils, but am not sure about them. Could you please help me to identify them: the firs one is transparent wall (hyaline) i think, elongated with narrows end in both sides: the second picture: Cheers, Majed
  10. Just wanted to share an idea for taking better stack of photos when imaging microfossils. For some background, ostracods, foraminiferia, conodonts and scolecodonts are three dimensional despite their small size. As microscope magnification is increased a smaller and smaller vertical section of the fossil is in focus making it nearly impossible to take a decent photograph. Stacking software (e.g. CombineZP, Helicon Focus) permits you to take a series of photographs at different focal planes and the software then creates a composite photo taking just the in focus parts of each photo in the stack. My microscope doesn't have a fine adjustment knob which made it difficult to take many photos in a stack before the complete fossil was out of focus. I recently purchased a small vertical stage with micrometer on Ebay under Opto-mechanical stages (usually used to adjust mirrors and such in laser setups). The micrometer moves the stage vertically 0.5 mm (500 microns) per revolution of the micrometer and it smallest vertical move is 2 - 3 microns. This allowed me to increase the number of stack photos and hence the focal planes when trying to capture the ornamentation of ostracods and the tooth-like projections on scolecodonts. Check out some of my recent galleries: http://www.thefossil...hale-ostracods/ http://www.thefossil...n-microfossils/
  11. This series of unfortunate experiments may well turn into some fortuitous knowledge. Maybe. Unfortunate in that I acted likea sixth grade scientist when I started these experiments. No protocols whatsoever--I just went wild. I should be starting this thread with a picture of a rock. But I wasn't sure where the rock came from in the first place, and then I messed with the rock. And messed with the rock some more. But I should at least end this post with some picture of the rock. Best I can do tonight. Tomorrow will come the story of the unfortunate rock. Which does appear to be very fossiliferous.
  12. In picking out my sample of microfossils from the Middle Pliocene Coralline Crag Formation, Suffolk, England, I noted a few fragments of what appeared to be a species of the ostracode genus Pterygocythereis, a particularly spiny-looking genus of the family Trachyleberididae. I assumed it to be Pterygocythereis jonesi (Baird, 1850), the common species of the North Sea. As luck would have it, while finishing the picking of the last bit of the sample, up popped a complete valve, in almost perfect condition. To my surprise, it turned out not to be the common North Sea species; rather, it is Pterygocythereis siveteri Athersuch, 1972. The image does not do it justice, as even with image stacking software, the great length of the alae and the 3-D spininess are not very apparent. (Published dorsal views of the complete carapace are quite impressive!) Further cleaning of the specimen should greatly improve its appearance. In the standard book on the recent Ostracoda of Great Britain, we find the following: "British records of P. siveteri are sub-Recent, and there are, as yet, no live records outside the Mediterranean." (Athersuch, Horne and Whittaker 1989: 146) Presence of this species thus provides further evidence that the Middle Pliocene sea around southern Great Britain was warmer than it is now, and that the ostracode fauna was essentially Lusitanian, characteristic of the modern Mediterranean Sea and of the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa. The genus Pterygocythereis today is commonly encountered in the sublittoral zone, down to a depth of about 200 meters. Faunal studies of the Coralline Crag have suggested that it was deposited in a high energy environment with a maximum depth of about 20 meters, which seems to fit. However, this species is rather rare in the Coralline Crag, suggesting that it may not have been a member of the original, local biocoenosis. Athersuch, J., D. J. Horne, and J. E. Whittaker, 1989, Marine and Brackish Water Ostracods, The Linnaean Society of London.
  13. I have always enjoyed looking at ostracodes of the family Trachyleberididae, for their varied and complex structures, and interesting ornamentation. The family seemingly first appeared in the Middle Jurassic, became abundant during the Cretaceous, and remains abundant in the seas of today. About a month ago, in an exchange of microfossil material with an Italian friend, I received a sample of material from the Coralline Crag of southeastern England, a well-known and extensively studied Middle Pliocene (Zanclean) marine deposit of cross-bedded sands. The deposit averages about 12 meters in thickness, varies from weakly to more strongly consolidated, and is highly fossiliferous. The name comes from an abundance of bryozoans, which early scholars mistakenly thought were corals. Ostracodes and foraminifera are both abundant. Faunal studies have suggested that the sea was a bit warmer when this formation was laid down, perhaps more closely resembling the Mediterranean Sea, or the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa. Hence the Coralline Crag contains many species that do not much resemble those found in the marine littoral deposits of modern-day England. I have recovered quite a few species of both forams and ostracodes from my sample, and am just beginning the identification process. The species I want to show off in this entry is the first I have identified, chosen to be investigated first because it is both common and showy. The taxon is correctly known as Cletocythereis jonesi Wood et al., although it was previously known by various other names through misidentification. It is a typical trachyleberidid, although with much coarser surface sculpture than most. The valves are subquadrate and rather thick, with an amphidont hinge. The surface is coarsely reticulate, with a strong sub-central tubercle, and dorsal and ventral ridges. The anterior margin is also reticulate, divided into elongate, transverse cells. The ventral ridge terminates posteriorly in a complex loop. The eye tubercle, just below the anterior dorsal margin, is large and shiny. Here is an interior view of the same right valve, unfortunately obscured by residual matrix. The ventral margin exhibits a strong concavity; the posterior dorsal corner is not broken, contrary to appearances, and is a close match to images of the type specimens. The hinge of the right valve has a strong, round anterior tooth. The posterior tooth is weaker, and the middle element is of the smooth groove-and-bar type; the right valve has the grooved element, and there is a corresponding thin bar in the left valve. This dorsal view shows the thickened central part of the carapace, due to the dorsal and ventral ridges, and the relatively flat anterior and posterior margins. Personally, I think this is a really handsome microfossil -- considering that its largest dimension is only about 1 millimeter in length! In future entries in this blog I hope to illustrate a few other ostracodes and forams from this interesting formation, if I am able to make more identifications. Fortunately, I have access to a good research library! Two interesting references are: Wilkinson, I. P., 1980, "Coralline Crag Ostracoda and their environmental and stratigraphical significance," Proceedings of the Geologists' Association 91:291-306. Wood, A. M., R. C. Whatley, C. A. Maybury, and I. P. Wilkinson, 1992, "Three new species of cytheracean Ostracoda from the Coralline Crag at Orford, Suffolk," Journal of Micropaleontology 11:211-220.