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Found 398 results

  1. What is this???

    Does anyone know what this concretion is? It came from Mazon Creek and was listed as a Unusual Rock concretion fossil. I purchased it ten years ago and am hoping others like this have been found since then and a description determination has been made. Help.
  2. Paleozoic insects can be extremely difficult for an amateur collector to identify. Partial specimens, poor preservation and outdated publications make it nearly impossible to identify most specimens to the species level. To further compound the problem, many species names are synonymous and no longer valid. In my future posts on Mazon insects, I will not attempt to identify specimens beyond the family level unless I have a firm identification. Geraridae are known from many Paleozoic sites around the world. The first Gerarus specimens were described in 1885 by Scudder from specimens collected from the Mazon Creek Deposit. While all Mazon insects are rare, they are one of the more commonly found types. Some of the defining characteristics are the four wings are similar in in length. The wings fold back over the thorax and abdomen.The prothorax is elongated and often times has large spiny projections. One interesting note is that it has been observed that the wing veination on Geraridae can be highly variable. It can even be different from wing to wing on the same animal! This has led to dozens of species being named. Many are synonymous and no longer valid. The largest recorded specimen size is 7.5 centimeters. I have one in my collection that is slightly larger measuring 8 centimeters. There has been much debate over the lifestyle of Geraridae. Current thinking is that they were not strong fliers and may be distantly related to crickets and grasshoppers. While Geraridae are known from Paleozoic sites worldwide, they are usually flattened and preserved as a thin film making study difficult. Mazon specimens can be found inflated exposing key structures not usually seen from other sites. Professor Jarmika Kukalova-Peck extensively studied Mazon Creek insects. She used Gerarus specimens from Mazon Creek to formulate her hypothesis of the origin of insect wings. The hypothesis is still debated and much more work needs to be done. This first specimen was collected from Pit 4 (Shadow Lakes). It has wonderful preservation and is the largest known specimen that I am aware of. Jarmila Kukalova-Peck studied this specimen and thought it might be a new genus. She also figured the specimen to determine various structures and wing veination.
  3. There are 3 species of centipede described from the Mazon Creek Deposit. Mazoscolopendra is one of 2 described Scolopendromorphs. The second being Palenarthrus impressus. The main difference being Mazoscolopendra having 21 body segments and Palenarthrus having 23. It is interesting to note that while centipede translates to 100 feet, all known centipedes have an odd number of segments. Mazoscolopendra is essentially indistinguishable from modern day scolopendromorphs. Modern types have Front legs modified into fangs that inject venom into their prey. Some species are known to prey on birds, mice and even bats. It is assumed that Mazoscolopendra had a similar venom. A few modern types of Scolopendra are the only known aquatic centipedes. While Mazoscolopendra is found in both the Braidwood and Essex portions of the deposit, it is believed that it was strictly terrestrial. While some modern Scolopendridae can reach lengths of over 25 centimeters, the largest recorded length of Mazoscolopendra was around 5 centimeters. I do have a larger example in my collection that measures over 7 centimeters. Centipedes are a very rare component of the Mazon Creek Deposit. Based on the relative abundance study that I have referenced in previous posts, they make up approximately.002% of all Essex fossils. Out of approximately 230,000 concretions collected, 2 specimens were found. This first specimen was collected at Pit 11 and has been prepped to expose more of the animal.
  4. Mazon Creek Microfossils

    I had a few duds pop open yesterday but saw one had a tiny speck of something on it, no more than a millimeter long. I had my digital microscope out for other microfossiling activities and decided to take a look. Nothing super interesting, just a tiny plant fragment. But it did get me curious if anyone has done micropaleontology work on Mazon Creek material? I would think there would be quite a bit to explore, but that said I've never really seen the topic mentioned. The only microfossil I've seen discussed from Mazon Creek is a species of ostracod, but usually the only specimens you see are nodules containing hundreds of ostracods as they are readily apparent to the naked eye in that case.
  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. Mazon Creek - Wood ? Bark ??

    Odd looking piece found in the Mazon Creek . Looks to be bark ?? Any ideas ?? Thanks, Phil
  7. This middle Pennsylvanian concretion from Mazon Creek (Francis Creek Shale), was discovered in the fall of 2014 in the Mazon Creek Heritage Site. I could use some help identifying. The preservation is not the best. I see no indication of the existence of wings but I sense there were some.
  8. This middle Pennsylvanian concretion from Mazon Creek (Francis Creek Shale), was discovered in the fall of 2013 in the Mazon Creek Heritage Site. Whip Scorpion Phylum: Arthropoda Class: Arachnida Order: Uropygi Geralinura sp.
  9. This middle Pennsylvanian concretion from Mazon Creek (Francis Creek Shale), was discovered in the fall of 2013 in pit 2. Pill Bug (Pill Millipede) Phylum: Amynilnilyspes Class: Diplopoda Order: Amynilyspedida Amynilyspes wortheni
  10. Below is the fertile fern found in pit 2 fall 2019. It was identified by Fiddlehead early this December as being Crenulopteris mazoniana. The significance being the rarity of fertile ferns in the Mazonia fossil flora. Hope to gain more information on this specimen in the new Flora book once publish.
  11. Opened mazon creek nodule

    Hey, i just opened a mazon creek nodule with my hammer with a few light taps (since a month going in and out the freezer didnt seem to work) and i found these balls inside. Are they the actual fossil or are the specimens inside the ball? Any answer is appreciated!
  12. Just joint and wanted to get my first entry in. This middle Pennsylvanian concretion from Mazon Creek, was discovered in 2015 in pit 2, in an area I call Ivy Ridge thanks to all the Poison Ivy in the area. The finger near the top right should be where the shark emerged. I did not find this shark egg case variety posted. I hope this helps in future identification. Eventually I will be getting the measurement blocks. Shark Egg Case Phylum: Chordata Class: Chondrichthyes Palaeoxyris multiplicatum Horseshoe crab Phylum: Arthopoda Superclass: Chelicerata Class: Merostomata Order: Xiphosura Euproops danae
  13. Mazon Creek - seed pod ? cone?

    Found this piece in a spoil pile, just the way it is, minus the dirt. Seems to be something, but I can't find any reference. Any ideas ?? I was thinking some kind of seed pod, or cone perhaps ?? Thanks for any help !! Phil
  14. Here is a few of my Lucky finds for 2019 Mazon Creek fossil collecting season. I will try to keep adding to it as time and posting ability permits. My wife and I collected 14 times in 2019 at 4 different areas. We had a great time, met many great people, learned a great deal, on our adventures. Anyhow, I'll give this a try, and apologize in advance for the less than perfect photos. Phil
  15. A few weeks ago Mrs R was asking me about TFF. General questions about members and their collections. I did not realise she was fishing for some Christmas gift ideas. I showered her a few of our members collections and she really liked Ralph’s thread “Sometimes You Have To Whack It !!” So yesterday I was very surprised to unwrapped a nice little collection of Mazon Creek fossils . I don’t think there is any rare specimens and unfortunately there was no IDs included. Mazon Creek material is quite rare to pick in the U.K. so she did brilliant and I was very spoiled. I will have to check Ralph’s thread for some IDs. Thanks @Nimravis for inspiring MrsR to purchasing me a wonderful gift . And if anyone has not seen Ralph’s thread it is really interesting a worth spending time looking though it. Cheers Bobby
  16. Does anyone have a map demarcating the different Peabody Coal pits in Illinois (i.e. the pits where Mazon Creek fossils are found)? I can't seem to find one online.
  17. This is an interesting animal that many are not even aware exists in the Mazon Creek deposit. It is a fossil gooseneck barnacle named Illilepas damrowi. Barnacles are known from as early as the Cambrian but are relatively rare in the fossil record. A barnacle is actually a crustacean and are distantly related to lobsters. Modern gooseneck barnacles also have a similar taste to lobster. Like all gooseneck barnacles, Illilepas has a stalk like body and a calcareous head region consisting of plates called a scotum and Tergum. In life, the animals appendages would extend out and filter the water for nutrients. Barnacles will permanently cement themselves to a solid surface. Illilepas is quite rare and only found in the Essex (marine) portion of the Mazon Creek deposit. This first specimen is a fantastic grouping of several individuals still attached to a bivalve (Myalinella meeki).
  18. 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?
  19. The Mazon Creek Deposit is known for many enigmatic creatures. Esconichthys is one of them. The animal has a tadpole shaped body with a usually well preserved pair of eyes. Some specimens preserve 2 pairs of long external gills. Muscle segments called myomeres are sometimes present on laterally preserved specimens. What makes it unusual is that it does not have paired fins. It was originally suggested that Esconichthys may be a larval lungfish or possibly an amphibian. Later studies have stated this is unlikely without offering an alternative placement. Due to the presence of external gills, it is believed that these are likely a larval stage. The largest specimens known can reach almost 8 centimeters. Early collectors referred to these animals as blades or grasshoppers based on their general shape. They are the most common vertebrate found in the Mazon Creek Deposit. Specimens are only known from the marine (Essex) portion. Esconichthys was named to recognize the Earth Science Club Of Illinois (ESCONI).
  20. Mazon Creek Unknown

    This nodule split a while ago. At first I thought it was just a neat looking dud, but after looking closer there appear to be faint radiating lines on the specimen which makes me think it might be plant material, although I have no idea what exactly. Any ideas?
  21. Etacystis communis is one of the more unusual animals that can be found in the Essex (marine) portion of the Mazon Creek deposit. Since being described, there has been much debate over what it might be. It has been suggested that it might be a Pterbranch hemichordate, a marine algae or a coelenterate. It is currently assigned as a hydrozoan. Etacystis is commonly referred to by collectors as the “H” animal. Relatively complete specimens bare a resemblance to the letter H. Unfortunately specimens are always incomplete with parts extending off the edges of the concretion. The animal is interpreted as having a main branch called a stolen that may serve as an attachment point to anchor itself into the substrate. It has also been suggested that this animal was free floating as numerous examples have been preserved with the jellyfish Octomedusa The stolen was flexible and would make up one leg of the letter H. The cross bar of the H is referred to as the peduncle. The peduncle bifurcated into 2 arms of different lengths. These arms make up the other leg of the letter H. Also attached to the peduncle is a strange sac like structure with a small aperture. This feature may be a mouth. On a few specimens, wart like bumps are preserved. These bumps could represent stinging cells, suckers or attachment points for tentacles. Etacystis could grow quite large. Based on incomplete specimens, it has been calculated that they could reach lengths of over 15 centimeters.
  22. There are currently 3 recognized species of horseshoe crab known from the Mazon Creek deposit. Of these 3, Liomesaspis is the rarest. They are only known from the Braidwood (non marine) portion of the deposit. The most defining feature is the bulbous cardiac lobe. The few specimens that I have seen are often poorly preserved.
  23. Octomedusa is a type Scyphozoan jellyfish. It is the smallest described species of jellyfish that can be found in the Mazon Creek deposit. The bell can reach a maximum diameter of approximately 2 centimeters. Like all Cnidaria from Mazon Creek, they are only found in the marine portion of the deposit. In the faunal study that I have referenced in previous posts, Octomedusa made up .03% of 230,000 concretions collected. Often times, only the bell is preserved. Well preserved specimens will show 8 tentacles. Depending on orientation in the concretion, some specimens will show a crenulated edge around the bell. Most specimens show very little raised detail and often appear as just a color difference in the rock. A large “X” shaped mouth opening is preserved in some better specimens. This first specimen shows most of the defining features.
  24. This next species is the second most common animal found in the Essex portion of the Mazon Creek deposit. While there are over a dozen described bivalves found in the Mazon Creek deposit, Mazonomya is by far the most abundant. It is restricted to the Essex (marine) portion of the deposit, where in some areas have been found to make as much as 70 percent of all bivalves collected. At one collecting site, these clams are so common the area has been nicknamed Chowder Flats. Despite the abundance of specimens, Mazonomya was not formally described until 2011. For years it had been misidentified as a type of bivalve named Edmondia. Current research has shown it is actually a Solemyid. Before formal description, Mazon collectors referred to these bivalves as clam-clams due to the fact that they are often preserved in a death position with both valves opened. Mazonomya is the largest clam found in the deposit . While quite rare, specimens have been found over 4 centimeters in length. preservation can be excellent and in some cases, soft tissue can be preserved. Specimens have been found with preserved “death trails”. Solemyids are still found today in oxygen poor and sulfide rich marshes. This first specimen is the largest in my collection. The valves measure almost 4 centimeters. There is also some evidence of the hinge ligament (soft tissue) between the valves.
  25. There are 8 species of paleoniscoids currently described from the Mazon Creek Deposit. While all are relatively rare, the vast majority can be identified as Elonichthys peltigeras and Elonichthys hypsilepus. The other six species are known from very few examples (sometimes only one or two). Almost all Mazon Creek paleoniscoids are juveniles but there are a few larger examples. There are also some isolated body parts of larger individuals. The fact that most Mazon fish are juveniles and often poorly preserved can make identification difficult. To compound the problem there needs to be much more work done as some species may be synonymous with fossils from other areas. The specimen that I am highlighting is an extremely rare species named Elonichthys remotus. At the time it was described (1987) it was known from a single fossil (possibly 2). This is the only other example that I am aware of. It has a rather distinct body when compared to the other Mazon paleoniscoids. The dorsal fin sits far back on the body and begins behind the pelvic fin. The body is also more elongated then other described species. It was collected at Pit 15 which is located a little further South then Pit 11.
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