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Found 287 results

  1. Last weekend I decided to take a short drive to Vermilion County, IL and get outside for a little bit. I haven’t been able to do any fossil hunting since COVID-19 reached our shores, so I had a few iffy sites less than 40 minutes from home in mind as I was driving. The first two proved fruitless, but I decided on a whim to take a new road over a local river in hopes of finding some exposures there. The river was running high with verdant growth all around and dragon and damselflies filling the air. As I looked down from the bridge I saw sandy shore, concrete bridge abutment, and then a small section with some intriguing rocks scattered along the river’s edge. Once I made my way down to river level, I found that the black rocks visible above were pieces of black shale and coal. I was excited! I had been thinking of black shale since collecting some on an ESCONI trip last year and reading @connorp’s posts about black shale finds. This shale was much more fragile and bedded than the Mecca Quarry Shale I found last year, so I was able to split it easily by hand. I was too excited, so I forgot to take any in situ photos (I took the ones above on my way back to the car). Before too long, I spotted the unmistakeable shape of a dermal spine from the iconic black shale chondrichthyan fauna Listracanthus hystrix- a strange shark relative covered in spiny denticles. I spent about 30 minutes searching this small exposure and turned up several more Listracanthus, the inarticulate brachiopods Lingula and Orbiculoidea, fish scales, and some mysterious spine fossils. Unfortunately, almost everything was tiny (less than 1 cm) and I don’t have a macro lens for my phone yet, so photos of most of them will have to wait. Here is everything I kept after trimming the matrix down: I will share some more pics of the best Listracanthus in my next post.
  2. Burlington limestone fossil IDs

    Hey all, hope it's ok to do 2 for 1 here. Both of these were found in a creekbed in Pike County Illinois while hunting for chert in the Burlington limestone formation. The first looks like urchins I've seen from other places but with a lot less detail. Possibly a crinoid impression below it. The second I don't even know where to start. It's a split rounded cobble with....something going on inside it. Mostly used to finding crinoids and horn corals in the area so these really took me by surprise. Thanks for looking.
  3. Mazon Creek Plant ID Help

    5 plants I need help with. 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 3 & 5 look to be the same species. Number 4 also appears to have 2 separate plants on it but am not 100% confident. Thanks for the help!
  4. This weekend, I have to drive up to Michigan to finish moving out of my apartment since I graduated, so I thought I would hit up a couple spots along the way. I'll hopefully have plenty of pictures to post here, but my fossil-filled week began earlier than expected so I'll start with that. I couldn't sleep much yesterday and ended up getting up way too early, so I figured I would go check out a Middle Devonian spot (Milwaukee Formation) in SE Wisconsin. I think this spot is pretty well known, so I wasn't expecting to find much. The fauna is pretty similar to what I find in the Silica Shale in Ohio but not as well preserved, so I didn't collect that much as I will be hunting the Silica Shale this weekend. The location is quite scenic, and I spent a lot of my time hiking the trails. Along the trails are a few outcrops, including one that appeared to only have been recently exposed from a tree falling. Unfortunately, most were poorly fossiliferous at best. It seemed like a lot of fossils were concentrated in what are perhaps storm deposits, but these were in the middle of massive dolomite beds and were not worth the effort. I only found one outcrop that was really worth exploring. I think only surface collecting is allowed, not that I would want to bust out a sledge next to hikers and fishermen anyways. The best collecting seemed to be from the more fossiliferous Lindwurm member. The underlying Berthelet is much more thickly bedded and formed a natural ledge for the Lindwurm to collapse onto.
  5. Me again

    Hi it's me again. I'll be asking for help a lot. Found in metro east Illinois. TIA
  6. Me again

    Hi it's me again. I'll be asking for help a lot. Found in metro east Illinois.
  7. My current favorite

    Found in Illinois near st Louis.thanks for your help!
  8. Found a number of fossils today along a bank of the Middle Fork Vermilion River near Oakwood, IL. There was a long coal seam (see 1st picture) with lots of fossils and concretions sticking out above and below, and nearby on the ground. I'm fairly new to fossil hunting, but I've taken some guesses on what these are. Looking forward to see what you all think Coal Seam #1 - Huge piece of what looks like fossilized wood? Was very heavy #2 - Calamites? #3 - Fern-like, not sure #4 - Not sure. Scaly part makes me think it's coral shell or something, but the rest is clear like quartz with some iridescence inside. #5 - Looks like a fossilized charred pointy piece of wood? #6 - Maybe coral with red spots. Translucent/pink on the inside #7 - Some sort of space peanut? Coprolite? Iron Slag?
  9. Sponge? Anemone?

    Found this peculiar pattern on a rock containing other fossils from Northern Illinois, from the Silurian period best I can figure. Haven’t seen the like before. Anyone know what it might be?
  10. Hope you can help! Thanks

    Hope you guys can help found in Illinois in a creek. Southern Illinois near st. Louis
  11. Unknown Maquoketa Trilobite

    Found this while splitting some slabs I brought home from an outcrop of the Maquoketa Group (Upper Ordovician) in Illinois. Started a bit of prep work but figured I'd try to see what I'm dealing with before going any further. My completely uneducated guess would be a lichid pygidium or something of the sort?
  12. Pennsylvanian bivalve, Dunbarella?

    Bivalves always challenge me. If the ear (is that the right word?) on the left wasn't present, I would have called this Dunbarella sp. But the rounded ear doesn't match any species of Dunbarella I've seen. Maybe another genus, like Aviculopecten? Not sure. From Pennsylvanian black shale in Illinois. Thanks for any help.
  13. Fish remains?

    I feel like this is a smattering of disarticulated fish bones, but I'm not positive. The preservation is not amazing so even under magnification I'm not sure if these are bone or not. Found in Pennsylvanian black shale in Illinois. Any thoughts? @RCFossils Various levels of magnification
  14. Need help with this scale like fossil

    Found this about three hundred feet underground in between coal and limestone
  15. Today I decided to revisit a stream exposure of the Upper Ordovician Maquoketa Group in northern IL. I believe these outcrops are all Brainard Shale, which is the second highest member of the Maquoketa in Northern Illinois. The olive-gray shales exposed at the base of the outcrops are packed with Tentaculites, and the few times I've been here I've always searched for those. Today I wanted to explore more of the creek and see what else I could find. The stream was running pretty fast but wasn't too high, despite all the recent rain. Shale and dolomite outcrop for quite a distance along the stream, although the water is usually too high to get to many of them. I probably won't come back until the water level drops quite a bit so I can wade through, the stream isn't super deep. The stream runs near shops and well-traveled footpaths, so to be respectful I don't hammer here. That makes it a little tough since most rock faces are highly weathered and covered with vegetation, but some nice things can still be found. Water-worn brachiopods are common sights, though rarely worth collecting.
  16. Yes, I realize that mammalian fossils in Illinois are extremely rare, however, this appears to be a fossil, based on rock being present below the layer of red. This was found near the Illinois river in a dried area.
  17. For the last 4 years I have been collecting plant fossils from sites in East Central Illinois. These fossils were all brought to the surface by underground coal mining in the first half of the 20th century. Most of the spoil piles in the area have been graded or flattened out, but a few still remain, standing tall above the flatland. One particular pile is, I believe, the source of most or all of the fossils I find. The shale that makes up the spoil has been fired by the internal heat of the pile, resulting in the hard, reddish material known as "red dog". This shale is then crushed and used as paving material, on trails, parking lots, and construction sites in the area. It's at these secondary locations that I am able to search the material for the impressions of ancient plants and collect them. The shale is pretty smashed up, so complete or large fossils are rare, but the preservation of detail is generally quite good. Geologically, the fossils come from the Energy Shale Member of the late Pennsylvanian Carbondale Formation.
  18. I found this right above the coal seam in black shale. It is approximately 4 1/2-5 inches, 1 inch at the base and a 1/4 inch at the point. It is a 1/4 in thick. I am completely lost on what it could be.
  19. Ordovician inverts are not my specialty, and thus I have a few that I would appreciate some help narrowing down the species on. The first three are from the Upper Ordovician Platteville Group (Mifflin Member I think). 1) A large cephalopod section. 2) What I think is a bivalve steinkern. Not sure if a species can be ascertained. 3) A tiny trilo pygidium. 4) This last one is from the Upper Ordovician Maquoketa Group. My guess is Eochonetes? Any thoughts @Tidgy's Dad? Thanks for any help.
  20. Newbie ID Help 2 - Fish tail?

    Hi, my kids and I are completely new to this, would love some help. Also if there is a paleontology version of "Let Me Google That For You", or Fossil ID for Dummies, etc., we'll gladly take those too! We found this one in Pit 11 of Mazon Creek a few weeks ago, on an eroded slope under heavy shrub cover. It was cast in a concretion/nodule that we exposed through freezing and thawing. The nodule was already broken, so we do not have the whole fossil. To my untrained eye it looks like a fish tail (my 8 year old is convinced it is the claw of a Tully monster, of course). Can anyone make it out?
  21. Newbie ID Help 1 - Snails and a twig?

    Hi, my kids and I are completely new to this, would love some help. Also if there is a paleontology version of "Let Me Google That For You", or Fossil ID for Dummies, etc., we'll gladly take those too! We found this one in Pit 11 of Mazon Creek a few weeks ago, on an eroded slope under heavy shrub cover. It was found as-is (exposed), this was not inside a nodule. The rock is harder than the sandstone of the nodules. To my untrained eye it looks like debris in pond muck: snail shells, and a twig. I found a very similar fossil last summer on a rocky beach of Lake Michigan, though much more worn down and polished.
  22. I recently came across this very old paper (1899) that discusses an unconformity in the Silurian limestone of Illinois, in which a small lens of Devonian rock was found. The matrix was particularly packed with a variety of fish teeth, including two new species. I, along with the author, found this quite interesting as the nearest Devonian outcrop is 80 miles away in Milwaukee – the Devonian is just not well represented at all in Illinois. In fact, this is the first time I've heard of Devonian fossils coming from Illinois, although the paper indicates that there were outcrops in Illinois to the west, although by over 100 miles. The paper is not super specific on the location of the quarry in question, although it is within 30 minutes of my house. That said, this is a discovery over a century old, so the quarry is certainly filled in by now. Hope some Illinois residents find this interesting. Just goes to show that significant finds can occur in the most random of places. elmhurst_devonian.pdf
  23. This came from a quarry in Kankakee county near Manteno, IL.
  24. Pennsylvanian Aged Mystery Fossil

    This is a very odd fossil that I collected from a Pennsylvanian aged black shale site in North Central Illinois. i have been collecting this site for many years and have never found anything like it. The specimen measures approximately 3”. The site primarily consists of a Thylacocephalan type arthropod along with a variety of fish and a few nautiloids. it is very similar to the Mecca Quarry Shale of Indiana. My best guess is that it is some type of nautiloid or possibly a spiral coprolite. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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