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Found 91 results

  1. Hi all, I am going through the latest finds from our trip to the upper cambrian Abrigo Formation from south eastern Arizona, and one of the limestone pieces under magnification had some intriguing fossils. The fossils are calcified as are all the trilobites and brachs in the same material from this site, and are small spheres about 1mm in size with a hole in one end. My first thought was some sort of protist, but my micro paleontology friend suggested they might be tiny round sponges. I have lots of photos to share with you on these enigmatic fossils. What do you think? 7x view of a gaggle of them on the limestone: And a series of 40x close ups of individuals: Microsponges or non fossils?
  2. Sponge ID

    What type is this sponge from the Pennsylvanian Naco Fm. from near Payson, Arizona? The silicified sponge is about 1.5 to 2 inches across. Was it originally a silicious or calcareous sponge? Does anyone know of an expert who is interested in undescribed sponges from Arizona/USA? I know of at least 3 other undescribed Arizona sponges. Thanks, John
  3. Hi all, Winter is the perfect time of the year to collect cambrian fossils in South Eastern Arizona. Its temperatures are perfect, its not raining and traffic is low. We will have lots of material to cover here, but I thought Id start off by posting a few shots of tiny inarticulate brachs from tonights scope shooting session. I used photoshops "contact sheet" function and it worked pretty good. The Abrigo is middle cambrian and upper cambrian. The lower part is the same age (and ocean) as the Bright Angel Shale in northern Arizona. The upper Abrigo is upper Cambrian and is a latter period which is not represented in the BAS. I wont be identifying these at this point, but they are probably Lingulella or Billinslella sp. Oh isnt the Cambrian FUN?!
  4. Naco Fm. fossil

    I found this "spiky head" chert fossil in Pennsylvanian Naco Formation Limestone NW of Payson, Arizona near Pine. The "head" is about 1/3 inch across. Is it a crinoid head without arms, what kind? Thanks, John
  5. Unknown Glossy patch

    Arizona, Mississippian, Redwall limestone, Mooney member. Hello, hope everyone had a good Christmas. About a week ago I found the first one of these two. Flipped the rock over and the small glossy area really stood out. First one I've seen. Then today I found another, about the same size, roughly 3/8". I have no idea what this could be, any thoughts would be appreciated. @Arizona Chris have you run across this?
  6. Ediacaran Fauna -- or Flub?

    Hi all, well this is the second drawing Ive ever made in my life other than stick figures. I consider my last post a total failure (trilobite) so Im trying another subject material. Since the last post, Ive watched a few hours of You tube videos on how to do basic drawings, and hopefully that made a difference. This one took me on and off - about two days to do. So what do you think - Fauna or Flub?
  7. Hi All, This marks the final chapter of this years exploration of the Permian Fort Apache Limestone micro fauna found east of Payson, Arizona. This entailed sorting throgh thousands and thousands of tiny gastropods under the microscope, and catagorizing them into 22 types. We then set out to identify as many as possible. Here is a part of the photo tour, the rest can be found on our website! Gastropods / Monoplacophorans from the Permian Fort Apache Limestone East of Payson By far, the largest project in the Fort Apache Limestone series! We found more tiny gastropods than any other type of fossils in the acid fines. Literally thousands and thousands of pinhead sized gastropods and monoplacophorans were found, and after months of picking through the residues, we had several teaspoons of the microscopic fossils. The sorting process took weeks and we decided to sort them according to morphological type. This yielded 22 different varieties, some of which may have been duplicates that were preserved different or incompletely. Fortunately for us, Winters in his huge GSA 89 monograph identified scores of gastropods making many of the identifications possible for us. We also found several types which he did not show or mention. The conclusions that can be drawn from our gastropods is still clear - a very muddy bottom which preserved huge numbers of juveniles either because of inclement conditions for their survival or a high mortality rate. The preservation ranges from very poor to superb. Many of the smallest fossils show amazing details in their outer shells and large numbers of ornamented types were uncovered. The most common type was the small squat cones, ten times more common than any other type. They were also the very smallest to be found as well. Bellerophon sp. - Monoplacophoran There is considerable controversy as to where Bellerophon resides in the mollusk group. Latest papers seem to indicate that it is about half way from the limpet shaped basal primitive monoplacophorans and the accepted standard gastropod. No one has ever found fossils of their soft anatomy, and until this occurs, they will remain an enigma. Ribbed Cones (Paleostylus giganticus) Honey Buns (Apachella prodontia) 10x view of a nice collection of bun shaped gastropods with a unique proto conch region. Ornamented Rimmed Buns (Worthenia arizonensis) Fantastic ornamentation on these! Ribbed Bellerophon shaped Gastropods (Knighties modestus) These look very much like a Bellerophon but they do not have the same fine features defining that group. They are much smaller too, pin head sized. than Many Many more can be seen on our web site, Thanks for looking! our web site page: http://www.schursastrophotography.com/paleo/Fortapache-15.html
  8. Hi all, Slowly the pieces are coming together for our Permian panorama. This week I tried to make my first drawing ever of a crinoid. In my first attempt, things did not go well. Think of a kindergarteners crayon sketch of a big flower, and you get the idea. Next, I spent days studying the anatomy of crinoids in the Index Fossils of North America book and the Treatiis. My second attempt was more ghoulish stick figure than crinoid, and went in the trash. Finally, in the past few days I got something closer to reality. I hope you find it amusing....
  9. Id like your opinion on this one....

    Hi All, This is one of a kind - we found only ONE of these in 250 pounds of Permian limestone that we reduced in the acid bath over the past few months. Its a lovely thing, I think its a stellate miniature ins branching sponge, but Id like your opinion. Its hollow inside the main tube, and no pits or chambers like a bryozoan. Anyone seen a tiny sponge like this? Here is top and bottom shots: (20 layer stacks!) Your opinion is appreciated!
  10. Crinoid arms?

    Arizona, Redwall limestone, Mooney member. I've found several examples of what look like plants but because they are around crinoids I'm thinking possibly crinoid arms. Anyone know what these are? Thanks
  11. Hi all, We are on the last two major topics in this formation before we finish off the entire Fort Apache Limestone Project. This week, we examine the enigmatic two species of Straparollus gastropods in detail, from pin head sized juviniles through teenagers starting to get thier whorl ornaments to 6 inch monsters. The shape of this flat planispiral mollusk is unmistakeable, and to actually be able to see an entire growth series in our fossils was highly enlightening! So without delay, here is a synopsis of our latest photo pictorial on Straparollus. (Full write up with many more images can be found on our palo web site: http://www.schursastrophotography.com/paleo/Fortapache-14.html) Straparollus (Euomphalus) Gastropods from the Permian Fort Apache Limestone East of Payson. This is the only planispiral gastropod to be had in any quantity in the Fort Apache Limestone. The size range of specimens is huge, ranging from pinhead size microscopic juveniles up to six inch monsters found impressed in the limestones. And to add as a bonus - two species are found here in this formation - Straparollus sp. and Straparollus kaibabensis. Straparollus gastropods are unusual in that they have a nearly square cross section of their tubes, and are quite flat on the sides as well. While most Straparollus are rimmed with a linear continuous rib on the outer coils, Straparollus Kaibabensis is nearly unique in that it has nodes or tubercles along its coils instead. This makes it appear at first glance to be a nautiloid, however without any septa or the pear shape opening cephalopods have, they are simply huge gastropods. Winters found both types as well in his GSA Memoir 89 from outcrops all on the Fort Apache Indian reservation. Our finds include many silicified specimens, most partials, and several limestone impressions as molds. Also, they can be very small indeed, the smallest members are best seen in the microscope at 30x magnification. This contrasts with the monstrous specimen we found back in 2006 that was over six inches in diameter! Straparollus (Euomphalus) Kaibabensis - Quick Cam shots The outer 2 or 3 whorls is where the nodes develop in mature specimens. This partial outer arc shows them very well. The entire outside rim of the shell is wider as a result of these ornaments. (Straparollus kaibabensis) Dorsal view of the same conch, which you can see the swelling of the width for every node present. This also gives it a very nautiloid like appearance. (Straparollus kaibabensis) Inside view shows the double wall that is characteristic of Straparollus. This is another feature that differentiates it from nautiloids in the field. (Straparollus kaibabensis) Straparollus (Euomphalus) Kaibabensis - Digicam Shots This big fella was found back in 2006 on an expedition with some museum members on an exploratory hike. I hauled this one back in my back pack over 2 miles to the truck. Its preservation is poor, but you can easily see the nodes. Straparollus (Euomphalus) sp. - Microscope shots A gorgeous miniature Straparollus! You can see the coils have gaps between them here as well. The ridges and nodes have not developed yet. This juvenile is starting to show the beginnings of the linear ribbing. It will grow very fast. While a bit distorted from compression of overlying sediments, this complete specimen shows the linear ridges well and detail all the way into the protoconch. I left it in the limestone along with some beautiful cone shaped gastropods for a composite view of the sea bottom. It almost looks as if its sitting in the bottom muds. Well thats it for this week. This was a really rewarding study of this amazing mollusk. Next week is the really big project - all the rest of the thousands of small gastropods. I promise not to show you ALL of them!
  12. Hi All, Another chapter done on our study of the enigmatic Fort Apache Limestone! We found one orthocone, and juvenile coiled conchs in our search in 250 pounds of limestones. One larger specimen which we thought was a huge nautiloid turned out to be a big Straparollus gastropod when we finally made a clay cast of the mold in limestone. So without delay, here is this weeks write up! Lower Permian Nautiloids are found in both the Fort Apache Limestone, and overlying Kaibab formation. Far more commonly found in the Kaibab, they range in size from quarter sized to 12 inch monsters. But in the Fort Apache, we have found so far only two nautiloids in our years of searching. Fortunately, they are both different morphologically and offer an interesting cross section of cephalopod life in the Fort Apache Sea. It is notable that Winters, in his monumental GSA monograph memoir 89 found only the orthocone type and identified it tentatively as Psudorothoceras knoxense. Aperture comparison. The differences in similar mollusks can be ascertained by comparing the shapes of the openings. (Aperture) On the left, Bellerophon - a monoplacophoran has a decidedly triangular opening. Center are a gastropod called Knightites sp. which looks very much like a small Bellerophontid, but is a gastropod. And on the right, the cephalopods have a much larger and oval opening, such as the small pea sized specimen we found below. This little cutie was found mixed in with our first picks for gastropods out of the acid fines. This was the only one like this, and you can clearly see the septa evenly spaced along its periphery. The center is filled in with sediment thus appears as a mound here hiding the details of the inner whorls. View of the aperture, a bit crushed showing the inner whorls tucking into the opening oh-so-nautiloid style! Orthocone nautiloid section found at site 2 as well. This is an orthoceras type cf. Psudorothoceras knoxense. The septa can be seen inside the eroded openings in the outer conch. Fortunately, one end has a great view of one of the concave septa. This then would have been the side that the animal lived on in the conch. It is difficult to say how long the original conch was, perhaps 6 inches or so. We Well, thats it for this week. We were hoping for some really big nautiloids like we find in the overlying Kaibab formation - which is the same age. But no, that will have to wait till next year! Next weeks posting will be on the gorgeous Straparollus gastropods we found, ranging in size from pinhead to hefty 6 inchers.
  13. Crinoids and what are these?

    NW Arizona, Redwall limestone, Mooney Falls member. Hello, I found an area with lots of crinoid parts. There were also a few of these dimpled rocks and some with holes all the way through, some tapered. Any ideas what these are? Thanks
  14. HI all, A new Sunday upload for you, we just finished our evaluation on two more types of fossils we have found hidden in the limestones of the Fort Apache formation. Now crinoid material and corals are very rare in this deposit - the blowing sands and silt from the nearby Schnebly Hill formation sand dune complex made life nearly impossible for any filter feeding organisms, and the constant rain of mud from above would clog their filter feeding apparatus. So its not surprising that crinoids and corals are almost never found in the acid fines we obtained from just over 240 pounds in limestones. In fact, only a few dozen echinoderm ossicles from a variety of unknown types which might include crinoids, cystoids or blastoids were found at all. No calyx or plates were found. As far as corals, ONE rugose coral was found, and its a tiny one at that! That at least was identifiable from Winters Memoir 89 as it was the same coral. So lets start with the crinoid stem pictorial: Sections of stems from stalked echinoderms are rare in the Fort Apache Limestone at all three of our sites east of Payson. This could include Crinoids, blastoids, and cystoids. There is really no way to identify the exact genus and species from scattered stem ossicles, so here I present to you anything that even remotely resembles a stem piece. The most common shapes are the small ovals with a round central axial hole, followed by more conventional round crinoid stem ossicles which are the larger sizes here. The extreme mud present on the bottom and raining down on the benthic community most likely prevented a large population of filter feeding crinoids from taking hold in this formation. This represents a low power view of nearly every recognizable stem fragment we ever found in over 200 pounds of limestone. Some are round, some are star shaped. Many are ovals. A few ring shaped pieces are questionably stems, however they are included here for completeness. 7x A three stack of crinoid ossicles, we can almost can call this one a stem! Very strange piece, a crinoid stem ossicle covered with an encrusting bryozoan. Few hard grounds existed in the Fort Apache, and we find quite a few shells, urchin parts and gastropods covered with such an encrustation. Next we show off our rarest fossil found in the entire formation, the rugose coral. Ten times rarer than trilobites, rugose corals are a very small part of the Fort Apache Sea benthic community. We only found one specimen in over 230 pounds of limestones that went into the acid bath. And its a small one - not even 1 centimeter in length. But its cnidarian features are unmistakable. Winters in his monumental monograph on the Fort Apache Fossils (GSA Memoir 89) found a very similar coral, in fact it appears to be identical to his photos - Lophamplexus sp. In addition to this rare coral find, just inside the calice was a coiled microconchid tube, which cemented itself to the coral after it had expired and was an empty husk lying on the sea bottom. Why corals are so rare goes along with the missing crinoids, blastoids, sponges and brachs. The bottom of the Fort Apache Sea was filled with gooey muck from settled silt and sand from the nearby Schnebly Aeolian dune field. With a constant rain of such fine material, the filter feeding mechanisms of such animals would not function properly and get clogged. So only silt tolerant organisms are found here. All images with an AmScope Trinocular microscope, 10mp camera and stacked with focus stacking software - Picolay. (free!) Lophamplexus sp. - 7x. Side view showing detail in the crenelations and bands on the exterior. Lophamplexus sp. with the microconchid tube on the left edge inside. 7x. You can see the septa defining the corals calice as ridges on the inside wall. Lophamplexus sp. This Close up at 20x shows the interior is filled with essentially sand that has been cemented together along with the coiled microconchid with its open tube on the lower left inside. The tube worm lived by cementing itself to a flat hard surface for an anchor. We have found plenty of them attached to urchin spines, shells and bryozoans. (Think similar to modern feather duster marine worms). Well thats it this week, hope you enjoyed my presentation as much as we did writing it.
  15. Hi all, Im no paleo artist, but here is my one small step beyond stick figures drawing of what we got when we put together all the parts of the trilobite from the Fort Apache Limestone near Payson. We never found a whole one, but all the parts from molts were eventually revealed. While the major paper on the trilobites from 1960s listed the only trilobite found here was Anisopyge, we are not seeing this - I think it is Ditomopyge. All three pygidiums found do not match anisopyge! Anyway, here is my attempt at the recreation. Ok, you can start throwing tomatoes now. O
  16. Hello all, Another small project completed for our seemingly never ending study of the Lower Permian Fort Apache Limestone east of Payson Arizona. This week, we have put together all the images and data from the hordes of productids (with spines) and one teensy brach found in the acid fines. Brachiopods are a minor faunal element in the Fort Apache Limestones, nearly 100% were found as Productids and their hordes of tiny spines. Only ONE other brach was found, and it was microscopic in size at a size of 1 mm. No doubt the large amount of mud and silt raining down on the bottom of the Fort Apache Sea made life very difficult for any type of filter feeders. Largely missing as well are corals, crinoids and sponges which also feed by filtering the muddy waters. Only the Productids seemed to be adapted to such conditions. Both silicified and calcified fossils were found. Some of the silicified fossils were very delicate and had many of the spines still attached when dissolved out of the limestones with muriatic acid. Winters in his monumental GSA memoir 89 identifies the productids as Bellaclathrus spinosus, and the tiny brach as Pseudodielasma sp. Since this is a very generic looking brachiopod, well go with his identification. Pseudodielasma sp. top view, pedical valve. This brach is the size of a pinhead and is the only one found after processing over 200 pounds in limestones! 45x Pseudodielasma sp. bottom view, brachial valve. Here you can see the opening at the top for the pedicle to emerge for external support on a hard substrate. 45x Bellaclathrus spinosus, only about an inch across it is far smaller than the average size of the productids found in the overlying Permian Kaibab formation. This one is calcified on the surface of the limestone found by cracking open large rocks. 2x Bellaclathrus spinosus - very flat upper valve that is calcified. 3x Bellaclathrus spinosus - Silicified specimens show much external detail. But they are hollow and very delicate! Notice the spine coming off the wings. 2x Bellaclathrus spinosus - We found hordes of loose productid spines in the limestones. 7x Bellaclathrus spinosus - Close up at 20x of some of the spines. Most are hollow tubes, and never come to a point. In life they are filled with live tissue and the spines grow by adding on to the ends. Bellaclathrus spinosus - Two spines on a common base which was once the outermost layers in the productid shell. 20x. Well, thats it for this week. Hope you enjoyed our little presentation!
  17. HI all, Found this one this week, a 5mm juvenile Aviculopecten. Until this, we had not seen in 25 years of searching Permian marine (or Cretaceous Dakota Marine) such a small specimen. The smallest we ever found was a quarter to 50 cent sized. Isnt it cute?
  18. Were finding dozens of what we believe to be some small flat coiled monoplacophorans in some Permian sediments. The spirals dont touch and sometimes the openings are not round. I was surprised to find that other than the normal cap shaped ones we find a lot of, the were also many with half a dozen coils. Ever found this type? Id be interested to see if what we have is similar.
  19. HI all, Our latest finds from the acid fines from our new site on the Mogollon Rim - Scaphopods (Tusk Shells) from the Permian Fort Apache Limestone East of Payson. A minor but very important faunal element in the upper early Permian Fort Apache Limestone are Scaphopods - Or more commonly known today as "Tusk Shells". These mollusks were conical tubes - some linearly ribbed some smooth, with both ends open for water current movement. Fortunately for us, In 1963 White, in his monumental GSA Memoir 89 had found the smooth scaphopods, and identified them as Plagioglypta. We also found a smaller number of ribbed scaphopods which were a different genus. The most complete scaphopod material never had transverse ribs, even in their juvenile sections. About Preservation A wide range of sizes of scaphopods were found, ranging from millimeter sized diameters to nearly a centimeter. The larger conchs were usually flattened and many cracked under the pressure of the overlying sediments. About half of them were still filled with terriginous material after dissolution in acid, and only the short sections were free of internal sediment. Most were seen to have a curved profile, especially the juveniles. Smooth exterior (Plagioglypta canna) Four sections of Plagioglypta, with varying degrees of flattening. (7x) A complete specimen would have been up to 80mm long. Although poorly preserved in white silica, this pair of nearly complete tiny scaphopods shows the curving nature very well. Three more with varying amounts of curvature. One of the largest flattened specimens. Section of a large scaphopod. End on view showing wall thickness. The top is cracked inward from the overlying sediment pressure. Dentalium sp. Linearly ribbed exterior (Dentalium sp.) The ornamented exterior of this genus is stunning under the side lighting! Worn piece with the larger part at bottom having its ribs worn smooth by wave action. Close up of linear ribbing. Thanks for looking!
  20. Multiple sea specimens

    I love this piece. Every time I look at it i see something new. Although, I have no idea what I'm looking at. This was left behind by previous tenants so its exact location is a mystery. I live in Arizona and have found many shells just not like these. I'm excited to learn more about my fossils.
  21. What is this

    While hiking a dry riverbed I came across this. It has a few shell imprints, which is very common here, but the rounded area I've never seen before. Is this a fossil or have I just come across a neat rock formation? I'm still trying to resize the photos but if you need a different picture, let me know. Thanks!
  22. Hi all, Fort Apache sponges are quite uncommon, only one sizable specimen was obtained from over 200 pounds in rock. But it is well preserved, and show the major features of fossil sponges from the Paleozoic. To be more precise, from our first locality, where nearly all the ostracods came from - we had no sponge material at all. The second new site, a half a mile further down the trail produced this specimen from about 35 pounds in limestone. They were also with numerous bryozoans and gastropods in the same mix. The one sponge we found is a calcareous type sponge that have been preserved by silica replacement. What I dont know is if this is a part of a big flat sponge, or perhaps a section of a tubular one. Maybe some of you can ascertain that. This is the largest specimen we found, it was in a class by itself! About 4 cm long and about 1 cm thick, this fragment of a large irregular sponge had excellent pore and ostium details. A millimeter scale is at bottom. 3.5x view . A closer 7x view of its surface reveals the very "spongy" appearance of the type you might wash your car with. The holes are the pores which take in water to an interior cavity for respiration and feeding on plankton. If this was a part of a large flat sponge, those larger holes might be the osculums and the tiny surface pores the in current holes. Even closer at 20x, this shows the pore details more clearly in a massive 16 focus layers stacked image. There have been a few false alarms on these calcareous sponges. Some of the really worn down bryozoans that are wrapped around urchin spines look indeed like a tubular sponge! We continue to look. This last weekend, me and my auxilliary rock hauler - I mean my wife - packed out another 36 pounds of promising rock from the second richer locality along the Highway 260 Trail east of Payson here in Arizona. We hope to find more! Thanks for looking, its a pleasure for us to show what we have found so far!
  23. Are there any papers available or known that extend the time domain of Tentaculites past the Devonian into the Permian?
  24. Hello everyone! We just finished our study of the diminutive bryozoans we found in the Fort Apache east of Payson along the Highland Trail. As expected, they are all very small indeed and tell us once again that the environment they lived in was a stressed and sediment filled sea bottom, with little escape from the huge clouds of silt and sand raining down on them constantly. Thanks for looking, and it is with great pleasure we share this write up with you! (Adapted from our Paleo web site) For the amount of Limestone we have dissolved - now in excess of 200 pounds or so, it was surprising to only see about a teaspoon of bryozoans show up the acid fines. But this is an additional clue to the conditions which deposited the Fort Apache Limestone. As noted from write ups on previous batches of material, the amount of sand and silt mixed in with the limestone was a whopping 10%. The source of course was the Sahara like dune complex on shore with its blowing winds and large amount of muds and silts washing into the sea. The dune complex is now lithified into the adjacent Schnebly Hill formation, and forms the gorgeous Permian red buttes seen in Sedona and surrounding areas. Great for scenery, but at the time, bad for the marine fauna which had to deal with large amounts of sediment always raining down on the ocean bottom. This explains the almost complete lack of certain fossils, such as crinoids, brachiopods and corals. These invertebrates cannot tolerate large amounts of sediments raining do on on them as it clogs their filter feeding apparatus, and will not be found in such areas. Bryozoans were also filter feeders, and they are very limited in this formation, as are sponges. We encounter three types of small bryozoans in the acid fines from the Fort Apache. First, we have a branch or twig like diminutive bryozoan with extremely small pores over its surface. These are some of the smallest bryozoans we have ever seen! Second, a larger zooid type that encrusts shells and urchin spines. These have excellent detail in each zooecium. (the body chambers for each animal) And finally, fan shaped fenestrate bryozoans can be found in small broken pieces. These net like "moss animals" have some very nice fine details in the fan segments. Only a half a teaspoon of those were found, so are quite rare. Here are some representative images of the bryozoans we have found in the Fort Apache Limestone, with magnifications that vary from 7x to 45x. Fenestrate bryozoans - 7x. These fan shaped colonies were always found in tiny centimeter or less sized fragments, and never larger. But they have excellent surface details on the zooecium side. Closer view, with pin head at bottom for scale. 45x view showing small tube like pouches which contained individuals. These small tube like chambers are called zooecium in fossils and cystid for still extant living species. Every small branching bryozoan we found can fit in a half a teaspoon. Some have Y shaped branching, others are straight or tapered. A pinhead for scale is at the bottom. Some of the smallest members of this type seen here. Millimeter scale at bottom. 45x view of individual with very tiny pores. The third type was a more robust larger encrusting bryozoan. This one covers the exterior of a broken urchin spine. Millimeters at bottom. An urchin spine with a bryozoan partly encrusting its surface. The largest encrusting specimen was stained red by oxides in the silica. Encrusting type over a spine, showing detail in the zooecium. Thanks again for looking, we are now starting work on sponges we found, a very few of them, but they are spectacular in micro details! Living Bryozoans - Gary McDonald.
  25. Well, here is the latest microfossil work on the acid residues of about 35 pounds in limestone collected a few weeks ago at our new Highline trail locality east of Payson. In all, we found perhaps a score of these fossils, mixed in with hordes of gastropods. They are pretty tiny, and definitely classify as microfossils. Every shot here is a stack of at least 5 frames of varying focus, the one killer serpulid tube at 45x is a stack of a dozen images. The background is a nice blue paint sample chip from Home Depot. They have all colors and they are free! Serpulids worm tubes from the Permian Fort Apache Limestone East of Payson - Serpula Spirorbis sp. Live serpulid from Canada: Over two dozen serpulid tubes have been found so far in the acid fines from the second site we have found in the Fort Apache Limestone. Serpulids have been around since the Ordovician and are indeed a very ancient lineage. These worms build small coiled tubes attached to either hard surfaces such as shells or other small invertebrate hard parts, or on the leaves of sea weeds. We have found both types in this formation. They are small, barely visible to the naked eye, yet their coiled tubes are very diagnostic when sorting the silicified remains under magnification. Here are a few of the better preserved specimens found from about 35 pounds of rock from the latest locality east of Payson. Note: captions are below images. Section of spiny Urchin spine, with three serpulids attached permanently. This view shows the coiled tube on the lower left corner. 10x view. Side view of flattened spine, showing two more. Flattening occurs when the sediment containing the fossils are compacted before lithification. A collection of loose Spirorbis serpulids. They would have lived on the bottom of the leaves of sea weeds and when the weed died, the serpulid tubes fall to the bottom to be fossilized. Seen here at 7x magnification. The head of a straight pin is just below. Close up at 45x of the tube spiral that is at the bottom of the above image. You can clearly see the opening coiling over the top of the earlier tube dwelling. It is preserved in nearly pure silica. Bottom side of same specimen, 45x. Note how it is flat - this is the side that attached to the sea weed and grew against it. The serpulid essentially glued itself on to the leaf, forming a flat on the weed side.
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