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Found 8 results

  1. Don"t have a clue what it is

    Last hunting trip, something was found that in Many years of hunting I have never encountered. Any thoughts as to what it might be ?? Another question, do you think my old and trusted footwear has reached their limit ??
  2. Finished prep of my first specimen from this formation. It's a Placenticeras placenta identified by tubercles located on the umbilicus. Always educational to have a first time find from a location.
  3. I went exploring today. I hit 3 places. The 1st two were the Ozan in Rowlett. The first 2 were a busts, but the 3rd was in the Eagle Ford in Dallas and it was a very interesting place. I can’t say that I found specific fossils per se, but I did find the product/remains of prehistoric animals. I was ecstatic with my finds. Septarian nodules have been on my bucket list of things to find. I found a hill full of them!!! I got there less than an hour before sundown and was thrilled with what I found. This one is very cool, but I’m not sure what the original creature actually was. The only thing I can think of is that it was an ammonite and maybe the septa became crystal filled, but that is a total guess. The curves on the edge and sides don’t look right, but I’m not sure exactly how these formed in the particular area. It honestly looked like the badlands or something desolate with nothing growing there and was a very fine soft gray shale. I found a lot of what I think are aragonite crystals at the site as well as some other beautiful crystals. I have never found any crystals in this form before. So I’m thrilled and hope to go back tomorrow if I don’t get paged into work tonight. This is the one I’m very curious about. Maybe some of you may have seen something like this before, but I have not. I think it is super cool though. I’m pretty sure it was once a critter of some sort. I believe it is a septarian nodule, but there are no septarian marks externally like you usually see. When I was washing off other nodules I found, as I was washing, the exterior began to slough off and the septarian lines became visible. There are basically 7 bundles of crystals across this thing. Some are kind of merged. #1 This one has me most curious of all. #2 other edge. Right edge is encrusted with what I guess could be considered pyrite disease, rusty material mixed with crystals encrusting it. I have found an ammonite before that was rusty with crystals like this. #3 Close up of the encrustation with small crystals jutting out. They’re hard to see. #4 one side. The other side is less descript. The curve on this doesn’t look ammonite to me. I found some pieces that looked almost turtle like, but I don’t know turtle stuff when I see it. I will say the rock material is soft and is a fine shale like texture and material so when wet it becomes slick almost like soap, but no bubbles. This is a 2nd find in the same area. In the center below the crystal on top is a sea shell. Wish I knew what kind, but not much is exposed. All you can see is the mother of pearl inside the shell. #5 note crystal branching in 3 directions below shell, there is also a beautifully formed crystal on top that is pristine and wafer thin that was part of the septarian, but the non-crystalline material has eroded away leaving the flower petal like crystal. #6 This is it from another side. You can see more of the septarian sections. If anyone knows the critter this arose from or the crystal type I’d like to know it. Calcite and gypsum are most common here. There is brown too. I also found stone with green crystals. This is a 3rd find in the same area. #7 I found these bars just laying on the ground like this. They looked so peculiar. I couldn’t figure out what they were. I thought they looked a little like columnar basalt, but knew that wasn’t it. There was a small nodule in the ground less than a foot away that was cracked all over and filled with crystal. I wanted to dig it out. In the process of digging it out I found another hard object just under where these were. I thought it was a solid rock, but when I started to move it the rock came apart in these shapes. #7 cleaned up a little at home. #8 one up close. I believe they are all covered in aragonite or brown crystals. I’ve been told that when an ammonite is encased in a nodule and then the mineralization process takes place that often aragonite crystals form as a result from the nacre in the ammonite shell. I have not found the source of that claim though. Can anyone tell me how these formed and what the crystal is? Is it aragonite? How would I know? I can provide higher resolution pics upon request. I had to make these low res to get all of them in here. @Uncle Siphuncle, @Fruitbat and @BobWill you 3 have hunted the Dallas and North Texas area for many years. I assume you’ve seen these sorts of things and may have insight you can share.
  4. My finds so far from the Dallas Paleo Society field trip to the Martin Marietta quarry. ( I still have a lot of matrix to break down.) IDs are based on my comparing the teeth to the best of my ability with Welton & Farish's book on fossil sharks & rays of Cretaceous Texas. A shark tooth peeking out of the matrix. I managed to fumble-finger while trying to extract it in the field, and lost the side cusp. An overview of the teeth. Top row, L to R: Unknown, Cretodus, Scapanorynchus, unknown, Cretolamna. Bottow row, L to R: Carcharias? symphyseal tooth, broken Scapanorynchus crown, rest unknown. (Continued in next post)
  5. I found this object partially visible in a chunk of matrix from the Martin Marietta quarry near Midlothian, Texas. (Formerly the TXI quarry.) The site is listed as being basal Atco contact between the Eagle Ford shale & the Austin Chalk. The rock I found this in was Eagle Ford shale. At first I thought it might be a tooth, but on-site tentative ID was possibly brachiopod, but as the ends were buried in matrix, no one could be sure. I do note a "ridge" down one side that LOOKS almost like the worn serrated edge of a tooth, but the broken end of the piece doesn't look like tooth structure.
  6. I am trying to identify the some bony fish inclusions in coprolites from the Eagle Ford Formation in Texas. Can anyone out there identify fish by vertebrae and scales? I have not been able to find any teeth in them that would help with ID. The first two pictures are from a coil-shaped coprolite that has numerous bony inclusions. I'm assuming the vertebrae (40x) and bony thing that looks like coral (20x) are from the same fish. I forgot to take measurements of this one, but the photos were taken through a microscope. The fancy scale is in a different coprolite and measures about 4 mm x 1.5 mm. The vertebrae in the last picture measures approx. 1.25 mm x 0.75 mm. Thanks for your help!
  7. Back in July of 2009, I was crawling around an Upper Cretaceous Eagle Ford Formation (late Turonian) site that was exposed by recent excavations. There were many amazingly preserved marcasite / pyrite encrusted ammonites and other fauna to be found. However, one of 'gems' of that site was a beautiful, tiny regular echinoid. I was fascinated with it and I made additional discoveries that I wrote about in an article on The Fossil Forum. (early images) In trying to establish an identification, I checked with several experienced Texas collectors and none of them recognized it. When that happens, you really start to get your hopes up you may have found something new to paleontology. Then, I saw a similar echinoid on London's Natural History Museum website, The Echinoid Directory. Ahhh! Finally, I figured out that the genus must be a Bathysalenia ...but, there was no species listed for North America and my find had some distinct differences. This ID was tentatively confirmed by a few other echinoid experts and a new search began. (holotype - early images and actual size @ 1440 x 900 screen resolution) It still took almost another year of personal research and networking to find someone able to take on the project of the little urchin. Again, I must mention that Alex Osso (thank you, my friend) was very patient, offered good advice and was helpful in facilitating paleo connections. Ultimately, he introduced me to paleontologist, John W. M. Jagt. This surprised and thrilled me because I was familiar with some of his work on mosasaurs (another of my favorite fossils.) His interest was due to his prior research on Turonian aged fauna of Europe. Over the next four years, the article had many "starts" and "stops", since it was a personal project. However, we stayed in touch and the work continued when possible. During this process, I decided to name this fossil after one of my older nephews. He accompanied my late Dad and me on many outdoor adventures when he was younger. So, I'm really excited to introduce a new species of echinoid from the Eagle Ford Formation of Texas: Bathysalenia skylari n. sp. This is the first record of the genus in North America and the first regular echinoid in the Eagle Ford Formation. The holotype and one paratype have been contributed to the University of Texas Non-vertebrate Paleontology Lab. Another paratype has been donated to the Maastricht Natural History Museum (where John Jagt is the Curator of Paleontology.) (specimen #7 and #13) Bathysalenia skylari, a new late Turonian (Late Cretaceous) saleniid echinoid from central Texas, USA Abstract: "A new species of saleniid is recorded from the so-called ‘Eagle Ford Condensed Zone’ with typical elements of the late Turonian Prionocyclus hyatti cephalopod Zone, which rests unconformably on the South Bosque Marl (Collignoniceras woollgari cephalopod Zone) in the Georgetown area, Williamson County (central Texas). It is easily distinguished from both extinct (late Albian - early Paleocene) and extant congeners by a comparatively low test, wide ambulacral zones with large (near-)horizontal pore pairs, a large peristome with conspicuous gill slits and a highly ornamented apical disc with a relatively small suranal plate. The new species constitutes the first record of the genus Bathysalenia from North America."
  8. A Matter Of Perspective

    October 4, 2009 The Central Texas weather forecast for the day was a wet one. However, a quick check of the radar revealed I had a few hours before dealing with any storms. My wife just smiled as I mentioned going out for a few hours. I told her that maybe all the recent rain had washed out some tiny jewels at my best Eagle Ford Formation site. She knew, at the very least, I would return with some dazzling, pyrite studded, Prionocyclus sp. ammonites and other late Turonian fauna. Drizzle and overcast skies shadowed me on the drive to the site. Yet, when I arrived it had temporarily ceased. I geared up lightly and slid along in the fresh mud. In a short time, half a dozen micro ammonites were in my plastic container, and my knee pads had begun to accumulate a load of the gray clay. I alternated between macro scanning (without a magnifying visor) and micro scanning (with the visor). No, wearing the visor doesn't look cool; but I prefer the results. Besides, it's not as bad as having an empty fossil container. There are all kinds of surprises that occur when you are near ground level and looking at a magnified world. The detail is fascinating and absorbing. Small, 5 mm ammonites are sanded with reflective pyrite prisms. After a few minutes, you forget the scale of things before you. ...That's when you innocently lock eyes with a 2 inch praying mantis! Using a 4X visor...well, you do the math! After the danger signal flashes through your brain and your vision has not quite focused, it tilts its head a few degrees to the side and slightly, but abruptly, flexes a ninja move with its front legs. From a third party perspective, (and I'm relieved there wasn't one) the scene probably resembled someone getting electrocuted off their hands and knees. It's amazing how fast the mind works – before my muddy slide ended, I completely recognized what I had seen. After gathering my fossil container, visor and my thoughts, I crawled back and saw the small insect running for its life. I thought about getting the camera out to photograph the mantis, but a few drops of rain alerted me to the weather. To the northwest, the overcast darkened into very heavy rain clouds. They would miss me on their northeast track; however, their trailing edge would probably build to inundate me soon. I figured I had about 15 minutes before the rain, so the visor lowered for some quick scanning. It was just a few feet further when I saw my prize! Nestled at the edge of eroded matrix, I found my third rare Saleniid echinoid from this Upper Cretaceous formation. Even though it was partially coated in the matrix, I could see that it was the most inflated specimen I had found. A quick series of 5 or 10 raindrops hit me in the back. I scrambled with the camera and took a few in situ photos. Then, I carefully packed away my tiny treasure and made my way to the vehicle. Muddy shoes off, sandals on, gear inside, I closed the door and the rain began to pour…ahhh! Success! This was what I had hoped for…. Late October A few weeks pass, bringing erosive, periodic thunderstorms. Other locations have my attention during this time…places where you don't need a magnifier to see mammoth and mosasaur fossils. While my attention was diverted, the rains did what they have done for millennia. Then, on the 25th of October, I met a friend and his son for a quick, impromptu hunt while on their way back home. It wasn't long before they had to leave the Lower Cretaceous location we were scanning; so, I decided to drive to the Eagle Ford site. Miles later, I found it completely refreshed! The rain had washed away all my tracks from the previous trip. Since my time was also limited, I headed to the area that had produced the unknown Saleniid echinoids. Soon, Prionocyclus, Worthoceras, and Scaphites micro ammonites along with the occasional Ptychodus shark tooth were coming into view of my 4X visor. I picked up a few exquisite, pyrite/marcasite dusted specimens, but no Saleniids. Still, I hoped to add to my small collection of rare echinoids. I stood up and stretched...crawling around the rubble of this site searching for 5 – 7 mm sea urchins is an unintentional yoga routine. The higher view gave me a chance to change my vantage point, and I noticed an area that I had not hunted in a few trips. Prionocyclus sp. cf. Worthoceras sp. cf. Scaphites sp. cf. Worthoceras sp. Being careful to look for the resident rattlesnakes, I pulled up some dead vegetation at the new spot and began scanning. It took just 5 minutes to find what I had been searching for...another little echinoid gem! My wife describes these moments of discovery like a cartoon where your eyes go rubber-banding in and out of your face. I could see it was a fantastic little urchin! (apologies for the video quality, but you'll get the idea) Since finding the first of these unknown echinoids in July of this year, I have been on a steady quest to find an identification. However, through my research, members of the Fossil Forum, and others, I soon realized these may represent a new species. Initial research seems to indicate they are new to the known Texas species, and it is probable they are Bathysalenia echinoids. I would certainly welcome any knowledgeable assistance in keying out a more specific ID. But that was not all this "new" area had to offer, because I soon found the 3rd and 4th partial specimens of a different species of regular echinoid I had been chasing at this site! The 3rd one was embedded in the matrix of what might be a fragmented burrow cast. This species is a completely different puzzle…and yet to be identified by me. Oh, and after I picked up this echinoid, I saw a small fish tooth where the urchin had been. Later, in the photos, I saw it was in plain sight next to the echinoid. Sometimes, it's really just a matter of perspective. June 27th, 2014 UPDATE: A New Texas Echinoid Species
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