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Found 596 results

  1. Over the past year, I've become fascinated with the often bizarre fish and sharks of the Pennsylvanian. Fortunately, my home state of Illinois is a great place to hunt for such fossils. I've shared several of these in other posts before, but wanted to put everything together in one thread. Probably won't have much to post for a few months after this, but once summer rolls around, I should hopefully have plenty of new finds to share. I would say there are three major settings in which you can find fish fossils in Illinois: Mazon Creek, black shales, and limestone. I have not had luck at Mazon Creek yet, but hopefully that will change. So I'll start out with the black shales. These specimens, my first fish fossils, were collected in August 2019 from the Mecca Quarry Shale exposed at a clay quarry in Utica, IL. This shale directly overlies the Francis Creek Shale (i.e. Mazon Creek) at this location. The three specimens below are stomach ejecta from some kind of fish, and are composed mostly of partially digested fish scales. In addition, I found this very nice pair of associated acanthodian fin spines. The top fin has an area showing damage, possibly due to predation.
  2. Pennsylvanian mystery of Arizona!

    Hey all, last week I was visiting my grandma in Arizona, and of course I had to stop at a local fossil spot! I’m just now cleaning up everything we collected (I’ll hopefully post a trip report tonight !!!) and I revealed this little thing from the mud. I believe the brachiopods on the flip side are Derbyia crassa. If you could help me with my little mystery, I’d really appreciate it! From the Pennsylvanian Naco Formation of Arizona.
  3. My Mazon Creek Finds

    I will be using this thread to post what I have found fossil hunting in the Mazon Creek area, including the ESCONI Braceville pile, Mazonia/Braidwood, and any other sites I get a chance to explore. Although I had been to Mazonia a few times previously with virtually no luck, my first successful trip was with ESCONI last September at the private spoil pile they have access to. These first fossils are all from there. I have tried to give the best IDs I can- please jump in if you think I have anything wrong. I also forgot to put something in for scale on this first batch of photos, my apologies. First are three that I believe to be Essexella asherae, all very different looking though. The first is quite large, 7.5 cm across, and I love the red color. Next are two Achistrum sp., the first is my favorite fossil I have found from Mazon Creek thus far- curled up neatly in the nodule and nearly complete. The second is partially pyritized- I couldn't find any similar examples online, so it seems fairly unusual. Here are a few Mazonomya mazonensis, the top one is adorably petite- the shell is less than 1 cm across. This is small impression fossil of some bark- I'm still learning to ID the Pennsylanian flora, so I'm not sure exactly what this would be called. This appears to be a trace fossil, possibly a tunnel of some sort? I believe this is a coprolite. Finally, a few incomplete worms. The first I have identified at the tail end of Didontogaster, while the second nodule seems to have a few thin worm-like fossils preserved- perhaps Flabelligeridae sp.?
  4. I am going to start adding some images of my favorite finds which I call Collection Pieces. Identifications range from maybe, probably to most likely. I've only started to seriously collect over the past year. I've spent a great deal of time studying and learning Geology, as a hobby. I am located in Western Pennsylvania. At first, a map of the area. Anything in bright yellow is the Glenshaw Formation. The Ames Limestone layer exists between the Glenshaw and the Casselman Formations, which is the Orange color on the map. I have yet to explore the Ames Limestone, so I've only found fossils that exist in the marine zones below the Ames. Second and Third, are Metacoceras. The Fourth photo is of another Metacoceras. The id is slightly less likely as I can only see a few of the rounded spines. But I'm pretty sure it is one. Coming up next is a Mooreoceras that I found just this past weekend. I maintain everything on a website, that is listed in my profile. Thank you! Clint
  5. Managed to stop in for a little Mazon Creek style Easter egg hunt when I was up in Chicago last June. Brought back maybe a gallon or so of concretions and I've been cycling them in my freezer (when I remember). I like to give them a bit of a (gentle) tap around the edges from time to time. This often helps the concretion to shed an outer layer or to coax a split that is nearly there and just begging to pop. As expected, I've had a number (the majority) of concretions open up to reveal a complete lack of anything at all within. The only thing that revealed itself to be of interest was this little concretion that measures 3.5 x 4.0 cm. I pulled out my copy of The Mazon Creek Fossil Fauna book and you think with that information at my fingertips that I'd be able to make a coherent guess as to the identity of this fossil but I am at a loss to match it up convincingly to any of the taxa described there. Hoping some of the members here with more experience can chime in. @Nimravis @RCFossils @stats @Mark Kmiecik
  6. Conditions in Western PA have been unusually warm recently, with highs in the 40s and 50s. I decided to take advantage of this warm spell by getting a little bit of fossil hunting in. I decided to do a hunt focused on plants as I’ve been hunting for vertebrates for the better part of the last year and a half and, although I could never get tired of vertebrates I thought some variety was well overdue. So I headed to one of my favorite plant localities in the area. It is located in the Connellsville Sandstone of the Casselman Formation, which is in turn the upper half of the Conemaugh Group. The sandstone is around 305 million years old. The Casselman Formation holds the record of the tail end of one of the largest plant extinctions in our earths history. The prolonged wetness that had existed for much of the Pennsylvanian gave way to dryer conditions, and, as a result, the lycopsid forests fragmented. Many of these lycopsids went extinct during this event, which is known as the Carboniferous Rainforest Collapse. Conifers took advantage of these newly opened ecological niches. Their fossils have been found in this area, although I have never personally found them. Anyway, on to the fossils. Today I mostly found partial Pecopteris fronds, Neuropteris pinnules and Annularia leaflets. I’m going to include some of my better finds from other trips as well, as this trip was rather unproductive. Pictured below is the best Annularia I found today. Or Asterophyllites. I’m not sure. We’ll just go with Calamites leaves for now.
  7. Wister OK

    Found this item while digging around after some heavy rains eroded some channels down the hill directly behind the cabin near Wister Lake. This area is Pennsylvanian in age. Any ideas?
  8. Hi everyone, I haven't been able to post much lately as I've been ill for a few months so haven't been getting out hunting as much as I'd like but I've had some good luck when I have been able to get out so wanted to share some finds! All are from the Carboniferous of the Midland Valley of Scotland from several formations, I haven't gotten round to photographing everything yet so I'll post some more stuff over the next few days. First some finds from the Lower Carboniferous/Mississippian marine Blackhall Limestone. Undescribed jellyfish, Fife Coast, 3cm across. Apparently a paper describing these is about to be published very soon. I'm told this ones a male, the bumps in the center being the male reproductive organs. This is by far the more common form, there is a second spotty form known from this formation which I found a specimen of a few weeks back and will post shortly.
  9. Pennsylvanian unknown

    I found this fossil last year in the Mecca Quarry Shale (Pennsylvanian) of Illinois. I posted it previously but no definitive answer. I got a new digital microscope recently and decided to snap a few photos of this specimen up close. Hopefully they might help, though I still have no idea what it is. Thoughts?
  10. Trace fossil?

    I found this in our property southeast Oklahoma. The area is Pennsylvanian in age. My first thought was that it may be weathered barite (Rose Rock) which is the state rock. However, they are Permian in age and not found in this area to my knowledge. Now I’m thinking either weathered chrinoid (calyx?) maybe a cluster of burrows, or just a really cool looking rock. Any help would be appreciated. The item is 4” x 5.5” in size.
  11. Hello from Kansas again. As I posted yesterday in the intro section, my 10yo daughter has stated an interest in fossil collecting. So, I took her out to known spot with a couple thick shale members in the lower part of the Virgilian Stage, so ~305million. We were actually searching the Stull Shale to be exact. Luckily, it had rained a decent amount a few days ago so we just examined the runoff spots. It was pretty run of the mill stuff as far as I can gather but she is really excited and wants to do more outings. I might just have created a monster... Although, there are worse things that she could bug me about. Anyway, on to her finds. I hope I have identified them correctly, feel free to correct me if I'm wrong; I do have a college degree but it has absolutely NOTHING to do with paleontology LOL. I will also post a couple that I am having problems with in the ID section. For reference, all specimens are 2-3cm in length. Crinoids Neochonetes Rhombopora Rugose coral - Most likely Lophophyllidium, or rare chance of a Caninia tip
  12. I am excited to share with my friends on The Fossil Forum a significant discovery that I made last week. In 1870 an unusual spine like structure was described from a Pennsylvanian aged black shale site in Illinois. The fossil was believed to belong to an unknown chondrichthyan (shark) that is unlike anything anyone has ever seen. For over 150 years, these denticles have shown up in sites around the world. This animal ranges from the Pennsylvanian to the Triassic meaning that it survived the Permian extinction. Researchers have been perplexed and frustrated as aside from a few patches of scales, no articulated material has ever been found. Dr Rainer Zangerl spent many years extensively collecting black shale sites in Illinois and Indiana. He claims to have found a specimen in Indiana only to have it disintegrate in front of him. He described it having had an eel like body covered in the feathery denticles. I am pleased to announce that I have found what appears to be a complete well preserved specimen. For almost 20 years, I have been searching several black shale sites in North central Illinois. The shale is very similar to the Mecca Quarry black shale found at sites in Indiana.I have posted pictures in the past of various other fossils that I have found at the site. The denticles are relatively abundant but I have never seen any other signs of this mystery shark. Last week, I made a last minute trip out to a site that I occasionally collect and spent a few hours splitting slabs of shale. I was not having much luck and getting ready to call it a day. I decided to open one last large slab. I took a whack and it split perfectly. There in front of me was probably the most scientifically significant fossil that I have ever found. I knew almost immediately what it was but could not believe what I was looking at. A small shark like animal with an elongated eel like body and various spines. The majority of the fossil is covered by a thin layer of black shale so it does not look that impressive. Once prepped, the preservation should be fantastic and similar to other fish that I have shared from these shales.. I am in the process of searching for a researcher who wants to describe it. The fossil appears to be relatively complete from head to tail. I will keep this thread updated as things progress. Without further delay please enjoy being some of the first people to ever see what Listracanthus looked like.
  13. I am looking for confirmation on my IDs of these plant fossils, especially what I think is form genus Lepidophyllum. Buck Mountain No. 5 coal mine, Llewellyn Formation, Upper Pennsylvanian, Pennsylvania, USA. Scale in cm / mm. Lepidodendron sp. Lepidophyllum?
  14. Pennsylvanian disc-shaped fossil

    Hi experts, this year during one of my trips to the San Diego Canyon in northern New Mexico, I found this mystery fossil. It looked a lot like a mushroom to me, complete with radial fissures on the surface and a hint of a stalk on the backside. It is about 4cm in diameter and about 1cm thick. Any ideas? Coral? Heavily deformed bivalve? Red herring? Thanks for your input!
  15. Chouteau OK

    Found this piece just east of Chouteau, OK the area is right on the boundary of Pennsylvanian and Mississippian era rocks but I suspect this plate is Pennsylvanian. There are some pretty cool chrinoid pieces in the plate but I am specifically trying to identify the piece that looks like a piece of barbed wires in the middle of the piece. Archimedes?
  16. Pennsylvanian bone?

    I took advantage of the (eerily) nice weather today to make a trip to my favorite spot, an exposure of the Pennsylvanian LaSalle Limestone near Oglesby, Illinois. I found what appears to be a fragment of bone, or at least that's my best guess. The "inside" is very smooth with some twisting striations running partway down. What's left of the "outside" is porous and purpleish, similar in color and texture to the petalodont roots I find which is why I thought bone. I also found a small fragment (pictured) right next to it that appears to be associated, although I haven't found where the two might join yet. This certainly doesn't look like any shark teeth I've found, and besides the occasional fish scales or tiny indeterminate fragments, I've never found any other vertebrate material. I will say that my first thought was a tetrapod bone fragment as I know at least one such specimen has been found here, but I won't get my hopes up just yet.
  17. Any idea what these silicified possible crinoids are? Are they even crinoids? They are from the Pennsylvanian Naco Formation from near Payson. The ones in the photos (both sides are shown) are from 0.8 to 1.5 cm wide. @crinus These two references might be of help. Anyone have access to the photos from these? Webster, G., & Olson, T. (1998). Nacocrinus elliotti, a New Pachylocrinid from the Naco Formation (Pennsylvanian, Desmoinesian) of Central Arizona. Journal of Paleontology, 72(3), 510-512. Webster, Gary; Elliott, David. (2004). New information on crinoids (Echinodermata) from the Pennsylvanian Naco Formation of central Arizona. The Mountain Geologist. 41. 77-86.
  18. Possible Syringopora?

    This isn't the best field shot and I'm not sure how much I can clean up the specimens I brought home as they appear to be glauconite encrusted. My thought when seeing these was Syringopora. They are both somewhat dome shaped. The larger one is about 6" (16cm) in diameter and half of the bottom is exposed and looks like the top. Some of the indents have tiny crinoid segments captured in them.
  19. Pennsylvanian Holocephalian teeth

    Here are a few holocephalian teeth from the Pennsylvanian LaSalle Limestone from Illinois that I have been unable to ID. I find these teeth hard to ID since the tooth plates of a single species are often so varied in morphology, and I can rarely tell if I'm looking at a fragment or whole plate. Hopefully someone more experienced than I can tell. For the first tooth, I tooth a picture in situ before trying to split the boulder as I was afraid it would crack. Well it did unfortunately and I was only able to save a few pieces. This second tooth looks like Psammodus but I'd love a second opinion (or even a species identification if possible). And this third tooth looks like a fragment, but I really don't know. @Archie @deutscheben Let me know if you have any thoughts. Thanks.
  20. 3D Jellyfish sharing

    Merry Christmas folks. Just wanted to share some photos of one of my favorite specimens.. It's a 3D mold of a Scyphozoa conostichus jellyfish from the Pennsylvanian period from the Nellie Bly Formation, Sand springs, Tulsa, Oklahoma. It's 5.3 x 4.5 x 4.0cm.
  21. Odontopteris perhaps? Fern / Plant

    I think this is Odontopteris. The flat leaf tips are what have me thinking that. I have lots of local shale that I can pull these from readily, but maybe once or twice over an hour I can pull one this size out. Any fern experts here able to validate? Attaching a couple fossil plates that I use to identify local ferns.
  22. Our new Shark Education Displays

    Pictures first, full descriptions will follow Paleozoic Sharks and “Sharks”
  23. I just received this nice Aviculopecten bivalve from Mazon Creek today. What catches my eye is the thing extending from the top of the shell. It almost looks like it could be the siphon protruding outwards. I haven't seen a similar specimen before. Any thoughts?
  24. Petalodous Teeth

    To date, I've found 4 teeth, all in the same general area. One is shallow, the others are a big longer. The 3rd is a bit broken, I don't think I have a photo online right now of it. All are attached firmly to the limestone and I don't have any hope of ever getting them out clean. 1st Tooth: 2nd Tooth: 3rd Tooth No photos of this one. Sorry I promised 4 teeth, sadly only photos of three. 4th Tooth:
  25. New Mazon Creek Collection

    Hello everyone! I've been inspired by so many good Mazon Creek topics in this forum, I thought I would start my own. I'll post my own finds, which so far don't include anything as exotic as a Tully Monster, but maybe I'll get lucky on page 134 or so... I have to credit my kids with getting me interested in fossil collecting. I was always interested in rocks and fossils but when my 10 year old son had his dinosaur phase it really sparked my interest again. I wondered if an ordinary person like me could go out and find fossils? So I Googled fossil collecting and found out that not only could I search on my own, one of the world's best sites for amateurs was just 3 hours away! The date I discovered Mazon Creek existed was 9/10/2017. I know that date because earlier in the day was the last ESCONI trip to the Braceville spoil pile for the year - I just missed it! So in May 2018 I finally went on that trip and was hooked. Since then I've gone to Braceville several times, the I&M Canal trip once, and a handful of trips on my own into Pit 11. I want to thank too many people to list for helping me learn about this new hobby. Everyone I've met on the field trips has been so friendly and helpful. And if you have posted something about Mazon Creek on this forum, I've read it. Special thanks to Nimravis for his Sometimes You Have To Whack It thread, which he started the day after my first trip to Mazon Creek - it has taught me so much and I'm so impressed at what a genuinely nice person he is. And Andrew Bach's book from his American Fossil Hunt site is wonderful, so so helpful. With that, onto the fossils (and lots of questions from me). I thought to start I would show some of my jellyfish, all Essexella asherae, I believe. I find it interesting that they are all so different, although they tend to fall into various "types" - some have a distinct "head", others are just faint outlines, some are just cylindrical shapes. #1-3 below are all from Pit 11 - the first two have a distinct head and the other is more cylindrical. For anyone who hasn't heard of Mazon Creek, these fossils are found in siderite concretions from the mid-Pennsylvanian epoch of the Carboniferous period, from roughly 305-310 mya. Cheers! Chris
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