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Found 154 results

  1. In the last two weeks i have found two new very promising fossil sites. They are on private land that i have permission to be on. And please don't ask where. There are so many things that i have to leave many behind. I hope i am lucky enough to find something truly amazing from these sites and share them with science and ultimately all of us. I believe this to be the first Orthacanthus sp. specimen ever found in this area of Illinois. It would be pretty neat to add this awesome predator to this fauna. As found: After prep: On the same trip i found a bone block associated with crinoids, a Metacoceras, a shark denticle, possible shark cartilage and what i believe are tetrapod bones. Please feel free and let me know what you guys think about the bones. A deep water environment with tetrapod material???? This strangely shaped bone has a thin outer layer on the "ornamental" end, almost like tooth enamel, but it's not thick enough. Continued..........
  2. Yesterday I was cracking open some concretions that I collected from the Braceville Shaft Mine (Essex Fauna) in 1999. I came across this little piece and posted it on my thread - "Sometimes You Have To Whack It". @Peat Burns replied that it looked like a tooth from a Cladodus type shark and I also agree that it looks like a shark tooth. In all my years and thousands of concretions from Mazon Creek, I have never seen anything like this. I would like to get other opinions on this or an exact ID. @fiddlehead , @RCFossils , @fossilized6s , @Rob Russell - what do you think?
  3. mazon creek help

    On my recent trip from Florida to Wisconsin I decided to bypass Chicago and head a little further west. In doing so, I realized I was coming very close to the Mazon Creek area. While I didn't have time to collect nodules there on my way north, I am planning to stop on my way back south towards the end of the month. At best I'll have 3 hours to collect ( as long a time as it takes for my wife to grow impatient and want to get moving again). So, since I am totally unfamiliar with the area, I am hoping someone who frequents the site could give me some pointers. I have read several posts about the site, and realize I am not hunting during the best time of year with all the vegetation at its prime, but being so close I just couldn't pass by again. Any suggestions re: making the most of my time there would be much appreciated. I am thinking I should collect nodules, rather than spending time splitting them, but i've also read only 40 % or so contain something...so suggestions as to that would also be appreciated. (Yes, I have lots of bug spray, mosquitos in Wisconsin have been huge this year,)
  4. Any Permian/Carboniferous shark experts?

    Found this last Sunday. And i can't seem to narrow down who lost it, Xenacanthus or Orthacanthus. To my knowledge neither has been formally described from the location it was found. And, no, i will not say where. I'll simply say LaSalle county, IL. Still not sure if my site is Permian or Carboniferous. I'm 90% convinced it's Carboniferous. Any ID help is much appreicated. I'm leaning more towards Orthacanthus. Sorry, i'll add mm later. As found: After some needle prep:
  5. Fossil???

    A friend of mine found this at Lake Shelbyville in Illinois. I'm new to all of this and can't identify it. Is it a fossil? Thanks for any input!
  6. Squashed Mazon Creek Crustacean?

    This is another piece from the Mazon Creek Chowder Flats site, it was shattered into quite a few pieces, but I was able to reassemble it. However, I can't tell what it is. I am certain it is some kind of crustacean, based on the texture and color of the shell and the presence of a long segmented antenna. But it seems to be rather flattened, and I can't make out many other details. There does appear to a segmented piece extending from the top edge of the blob to the edge of the nodule, but I can't make out any clear segments or limbs. The shape is reminiscent of Mamayocaris, perhaps just a poorly preserved one? The only other Essex Fauna crustacean that seems to roughly match the squat shape is the rare Dithyrocaris.
  7. Found a cluster of small fossils??

    Hello all! I'm back again with some unidentified fossils. I was working in my garden this afternoon and stumbled across a rock containing a cluster of small fossils, ranging in size. These were found in Northern Illinois, close to where I found another shell fossil I asked about. All comments are appreciated! Thanks!
  8. Unknown fossil

    Hello everyone! I have another unidentified geological object. I'm assuming it's a fossil but I'm not sure. I'm thinking it's a sea shell of some kind? Since I'm an amateur when it comes to fossils I might be wrong. I found this around my farm in northern Illinois, so it very well could be just a chopped up rock. If it is a fossil, is it rare? All input is appreciated! Thanks guys!
  9. I just wanted to post something that is not very pretty but is something thing that is harder to find now in the Mazon Creek Fauna- a fish, possibly Elonichthys peltigerus. I posted it earlier in an on going post titled “ Sometimes You Have To Whack It”, in that thread, I daily posts fossils (Mazon Creek) that I have opened that day. Today I opened a concretion that has been sitting in one of my buckets for the last 15 years. A slight strike of my hammer did some real damage to this concretion which shattered upon impact. I put together the pieces that I could and was still happy with the results. The shattering does not normally happen, but some of the time you get a concretion that will do just that. Hopefully tomorrow I will have better luck, as I will continue to use my hammer.
  10. My kids and I made a trip to the Burpee museum in Rockford Illinois twice in the last 2 months. There is a children's museum that is housed in an interconnected building if you are visiting with children. We got in free to the Burpee museum with our Milwaukee Public Museum membership, so worth a check if you are a member of a museum. I try to find museums that are half price or free with our membership for our family to travel to, and the astc pass that comes with most museum memberships makes these memberships more than worth the money. The museum itself is pretty easy to find, with free parking, which is a nice change up from most of the museums we go to. The museum has a juvenile t-rex named Jane, which is what the museum is probably most famous for. I've included a pictures below of it(although it got chopped a little trying to fit in the nameplate). On this same main level there is a room filled with triceratops and related skulls, some real, some casts. There's also the typical set of chronologic fossils that one can find on the main and 2nd floor. The 2nd floor also has a bunch of minerals in a couple display cases. In the lower level, they have a pretty decent assortment of green river fish, as well as a prep lab, which one of the weekends had its window open with a graduate student explaining what he was doing. He was very friendly and we talked for a few about prepping of fossils. The upper level of the museum has a modern history area, along with a kids room that has a bunch of things like puzzles, dress up, etc for kids. The museum itself is probably a tenth of the size of the Field Museum, which is obviously the more famous museum in Illinois. However, if you're in the area and want to kill an hour or 2, it's worth checking out in my opinion.
  11. The town of Morris, Illinois was once home to a number of rich sites for Mazon Creek fossil collecting, remnants of early 20th century strip and pit mining of the Colchester Coal. As the town grew, these localities were reclaimed, turned into subdivisions and commercial developments. One of the most well-known sites was called Chowder Flats, named after the high proportion of clams found there. In the late 1980s the spoils were plowed under and development began at that spot, but it was not built up all at once. New houses have continued to be put up on empty lots right up to the present- in fact, construction has recently started on two of the last three remaining lots. I was lucky enough to be checking out the site this last week on a day off work and found that they had dug up those two lots to lay the foundations, leaving piles of fill surrounding the building sites- and I was hoping in that fill I would find some of the famous Mazon Creek nodules. I parked on the street nearby and approached one of builders to ask if he minded me searching the piles. He said it wouldn't be a problem and asked if I was searching for fossils, so I told him I was indeed. He had actually been involved in construction at the site for years, and told me how years back the building sites there used to be crawling with fossil collectors, but I was the first person he had seen collecting in a long while. I thanked him and started searching, and throughout the day he would also toss me nodules he came across! It didn't take long to find my first nodule, and I was able to turn up many more over the next few hours- by the time I had to leave, I had collected about 1-2 gallons worth weathering out of the dirt piles. Great results for not a lot of effort, especially in comparison to the work needed to find things at Mazonia-Braidwood/Pit 11 these days! But that wasn't what made the day truly unforgettable... I will continue with that in the next post!
  12. Hello all! Another question from a fossil and geology newbie. I found a bag of interesting rocks in my home today. It contained what looked like store bought rocks but I have literally no idea where they came from or how I got them. Included were two fern looking fossils and I'm not sure if they're real or not. This is probably an extremely stupid question, but I just want to make sure. Thank you! (also my apologies for the terrible lighting in the photo, I can attach more if needed)
  13. Hello! I'm new to this website and I'm wondering what interesting geological things and fossils I can find in Northern Illinois. I'm new to geology and fossils so any tips/education would be welcome! Thanks!
  14. Fossilized coral??

    I found this different looking rock in a pile of gravel. It appears to have a very different texture and I'm thinking it may be a fossilized coral. I'm new to fossils so feel free to educate me! Thanks!
  15. claw, tooth?

    Found in creek in Southeastern Illinois. Has a rattle so there's something loose inside.
  16. This past Saturday I was finally able to join ESCONI on one of their quarry field trips, this time to the Vulcan Manteno Quarry in Kankakee County, Illinois. After a relatively quick jaunt up I-57, I arrived at the quarry along with about 20 other enthusiasts, all clad in hard hats and neon safety vests. It is still an active quarry, although no mining was happening on that day, so the manager went over the rules with everyone- no climbing the rock piles, no getting too close to the high wall or the edge of the pit. Then we car-pooled down to the bottom of the quarry. The quarry exposes the Silurian Racine Dolomite Formation, and pile after pile of grey to orange colored rock was arranged on the quarry floor. It was hard to know where to start, so everyone wandered off to poke around and see what they could find. I didn't find much to begin, but after a little while I started noticing some interesting shapes, and within about an hour I had filled my bucket. I say "shapes", because I am not as familiar with this deposit as Mazon Creek, so my IDs for most of these only get as specific as "cephalopod" or "crinoid"- and in many cases more like "round organic-looking thing" . At the designated time everyone began heading back to the cars as a light drizzle came down- we only had about an hour and a half, but like I said, that was plenty of time to fill a 5 gallon bucket. It was an excellent trip, and I have to thank ESCONI and Vulcan for making it happen- I will definitely be signing up for the next one! My most interesting find is two associated partial impressions of echinoderms- the field trip leader suggested the one on the right was from Caryocrinites but he was not sure about the one on the left. I also found another small echinoderm piece, perhaps the base of a crinoid calyx?
  17. Southern Illinois

    Not the best pictures but don’t have the pieces in hand yet. These were purchased from a man who bought them from a southern Illinois estate sale. The son of the original collector said they are as collected and the parent said the teeth were mammoth. Not sure about that as some look possibly equine or maybe camel? Are these poor quality photos enough to point in any particular direction? Definitely no idea on the plant trace or bone. Any help in ID or direction would be appreciated.
  18. Tooth or Claw

    I found this in a creek bed in central Illinois and wondering what it is?
  19. This fossil was dug up fishing recently in Kankakee County, Illinois, where the bedrock is Silurian, but this fossil would have to be Pleistocene. Any help with ID is appreciated. I do not have possession so these are the only photos I have. If you provide an ID, please provide your reasoning. Thanks!
  20. Mazon Creek ID

    Hi there had a successful outing at Mazon Creek today! Came back home with a 5 gallon bucket full of nodules. Made it a long walk back to the car though! Was hoping to get some insight on some of the preopened nodules and the ones that crack open in the future. 1.) 2.) Sorry if pictures are poor quality, I tried my best. Please let me know if better ones are needed .
  21. Pareidolia dino tooth?

    May I add my pareidolia-esque mis-identification here as well. Found this today on my hike (along Du Page river, Northern Illinois)and my first thought was "holy cow a dinosaur tooth!" and then my second thought was "no." But it was fun for a minute to pretend. It seemed to have an "enamel" layer on the base around the outside and such a great shape. Doubt you find those in Northern Illinois. It was near where I have been finding bison bits so maybe it could be a horn or something? Anyway, here are some pictures for fun :
  22. NEW find today is very interesting!

    I recently have been finding bone along a path about 15 or so from a river. We have had a bunch of serious flooding so it is uncovering lots of things. Today's hike produced quite a group of finds. This is all in the same place: Du Page river, Northern Illinois, West of Chicago. I have shared a bunch of bones on this thread: I was going to continue there but it won't allow me to post pictures or continue writing. Not sure why? This small piece came from the same spot. The item I just grabbed without examining to much in the field turns out to be maybe the most interesting. It has a smooth shiny patches on it. It is heavy and looks like it was part of maybe a horn or a toe of some kind. No idea. This intrigued me as it is the first thing I have found that seems fossil-like that isn't coral etc that you expect to find here in Illinois.
  23. Toe bone? Deer or MAYBE fossil?

    Hello everyone! I have found quite a few bones recently but most, I assume, deer or small mammal. I didn't think to post them here except this one I found yesterday. I assume it is some modern animal but can't be sure. When I saw this post: It made me think to just post this for more information. This came from the DuPage river in Northern Illinois, West of Chicago. It was found among gravel type rocks about 15 feet from the river ina trail. The huge flooding we have had recently is opening up all kinds of things and I can't wait for the rivers to go down to see what else is uncovered. It seems it has not become stone-like as fossilization would do but it doesn't look like the other bones I found. I know being in or near water will change the look, feel and degradation of the bones. Still curious though. Thoughts?
  24. This weekend was the first weekend that the Mazon Creek formation in Braceville, IL was open for collecting. Each year, visitors and avid collectors flock here every spring to gather concretions from this woodland, that potentially hold 300 million year old plants and animals. They are very difficult to find these days. It used to be a coal mine where fossils were gathered by the bucketload. These days, you would be very fortunate to gather 1/2 bucket in a full days collecting. I went the mornings of 3/3 and 3/4, for about 2 hours of collecting each. The haul was a total of 27.8 lbs of potentially fossiliferous material. Only 1/10 of the concretions will hold a good fossil. For my in-the-field trip report you can check out my blog: http://americanfossilhunt.com/2018/03/04/mazon-creek-opener-2018-day-1/ ...there I post some field photos and the day's collecting vibe. Below is what I came home with. Not much to show off in regards to already opened concretions, a few jellyfish and worn out ferns, but the closed ones will hold the treasures. Here is the collecting terrain, at the South Unit, just before the bend in the trail. I also collected the North end of Monster Lake. Here is the ~28lbs in full There were some very nice symmetrical shapes within the finds. Another close up of some of the more promising ones. And the ones that were already opened in the field. Will post updates as these crack open! for now, they are out for processing.... AKA soaking in water for 5 days, then freezing, then thawing, then freezing... for about a dozen times. I was fortunate enough to run into some ESCONI and FF members on my way out on Sunday. I wish it wasnt an early call for me, would have loved to been out there with them! Updating this thread as the finds open, but it may take a week or 2. And will likely be out collecting again before then.
  25. Two new finds that I need help with!

    Hello everyone! Spring is almost here! Thank god. I don't think I could shovel my driveway one more time to be honest. Today was a beautiful day and so I ventured out to hike and do some exploring. We have had a bunch of flooding lately so my usual river hunting spots are underwater but I found an area south in the same river and I found some cool items. These are from the DuPage River, western suburbs of Chicago. Northern Illinois. I believe rock number one has a crinoid on one side and maybe a shell on the other? Hard to tell but I knew it was something as soon as I saw the circular object on top as I walked past it. The second item was right on the edge of the banks in the water. I saw the crack in it and hoped it had something inside it. I picked it up and it cracked open in my hand. It seems to be a worm. Maybe? Any guidance in this is greatly appreciated and I think you for your time! OBJECT #1: