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I visited my favorite spot in the Early Kimmeridgian the other day and along with the usual ammonites, I came up with something quite interesting. It's a block out of the sponge reef facies with a Laevaptychus obliquus Aptychus as the center piece along with a Streblites tenuilobatus ammonite and a couple of smaller ones, a rhychonelloid brachiopod and even a little echinoid spine all attached to pieces of sponges. Everything is strongly calcified, so it's quite stable. I just had to abrade away the soft clay matrix and there they were.
John and I headed out for a couple hours to our Washita Group site this afternoon. The water was still deep in some spots, but we were able to get around to a few new locations. We found three or four of the expected ammonites (Oxytropidoceras acutocarinatum), plus a couple things I have yet to id. By far MY find of the day was an echinoid spine that I spied (even though it was partially covered by leaves) in a Denton Clay exposure. This exposure also gave us a few irregular echinoids, and several Neithea sp., including the one shown below, which has exceptional preservation. I do have to say this, however, my favorite part of the day was later this evening at my daughter's high school parent/teacher conference while talking with her Biology II instructor. John was with us, and I mentioned we'd been out fossil hunting this afternoon. That started a little conversation between the teacher and John. John told him "You know, understanding geology is really important when you're looking for fossils. You have to understand the different layers of rock to know where to look for fossils, and the ages they represent to identify them properly." The instructor looked at him, shook his head and said, "You know, I don't think there's anyone in my classes, other than your sister, that would have any idea what you just said--and how true it is." It made me proud that he's soaking up important stuff while having a good time.