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Found 245 results

  1. 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
  2. Over the past year, I've become fascinated with the often bizarre fish and sharks of the Pennsylvanian. Fortunately, my home state of Illinois is a great place to hunt for such fossils. I've shared several of these in other posts before, but wanted to put everything together in one thread. Probably won't have much to post for a few months after this, but once summer rolls around, I should hopefully have plenty of new finds to share. I would say there are three major settings in which you can find fish fossils in Illinois: Mazon Creek, black shales, and limestone. I have not had luck at Mazon Creek yet, but hopefully that will change. So I'll start out with the black shales. These specimens, my first fish fossils, were collected in August 2019 from the Mecca Quarry Shale exposed at a clay quarry in Utica, IL. This shale directly overlies the Francis Creek Shale (i.e. Mazon Creek) at this location. The three specimens below are stomach ejecta from some kind of fish, and are composed mostly of partially digested fish scales. In addition, I found this very nice pair of associated acanthodian fin spines. The top fin has an area showing damage, possibly due to predation.
  3. Claw or strange rock?

    Here is a 45 second closeup video of a claw shaped rock. I found it in a creek in North West Illinois, Whiteside County USA. I took it home just in case it actually was something other than a rock. What do you guys think. Thanks for the help. Claw or Rock Video
  4. Does anyone have experience with the Middle Ordovician brachiopod faunas of the upper Mississippi Valley? I came across this odd fragment in rocks from a quarry in south-central Wisconsin. To my knowledge they are known in North America only from the Appalachian Basin (Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Quebec, Newfoundland), not the interior basins like the Illinois basin. Has anybody else seen this critter or similar in the Platteville? As far as I am aware, the only species documented from the Platteville that looks anything like this is Megamyonia unicostata, but that has a single costa rather than the several apparent here and in the types of Ptychoglyptus. Platteville Fm, probably in P. undatus biozone = Upper Ordovician, Sandbian stage (old North American Turinian Stage)
  5. Pennsylvanian bone?

    I took advantage of the (eerily) nice weather today to make a trip to my favorite spot, an exposure of the Pennsylvanian LaSalle Limestone near Oglesby, Illinois. I found what appears to be a fragment of bone, or at least that's my best guess. The "inside" is very smooth with some twisting striations running partway down. What's left of the "outside" is porous and purpleish, similar in color and texture to the petalodont roots I find which is why I thought bone. I also found a small fragment (pictured) right next to it that appears to be associated, although I haven't found where the two might join yet. This certainly doesn't look like any shark teeth I've found, and besides the occasional fish scales or tiny indeterminate fragments, I've never found any other vertebrate material. I will say that my first thought was a tetrapod bone fragment as I know at least one such specimen has been found here, but I won't get my hopes up just yet.
  6. Found in Illinois, USA quarry

    Hello! Picked this up in a quarry in Livingston County, IL USA near the town of Ashkum.
  7. When I woke up this morning I look outside and saw that it was going to be a nice day in the low 40's and I decided to go out and do a little collecting before it gets really cold and the snow shuts everything down. So i figured why not do the 130 mile round trip to Oglesby, Illinois and collect a nice road cut that I have been to several times that exposes the Pennsylvanian LaSalle Limestone member of the Bond Formation. As with all of the other times that I visited, I was the only one at the site. I only spent about 1 1/2 hours here looking around. I did not collect a lot of fossils, but did pick up a few. If you like brachiopod hash plates, you can find some nice ones just sitting there waiting for someone to pick them up. You do not many weathered out fossils at this site since most of the rockfall is recent, but you can find Composita argentia laying around sometimes- these cool brachiopods pop out of that matrix when struck by a hammer or in natural falls. Here are some pics of the area, hash plates and some small pieces that I collected in the field. Fossils in the head wall- Fossils in the field- Part and Counterpart- Here are some of the pieces that I collected and photographed with a photo cube- Inarticulate Brachiopod- PeltalodusTooth portion- Unknown- Inarticulate brachiopod ? Composita argentia- More to follow-
  8. Mazon Creek Fossil

    Hi all Found this in Braidwood club. Has cylinder like tubes that are crystal like tubes.Input greatly appreciated.
  9. Trilobite ID

    I found it near Byron, IL. Can see gabella.... I need confirmation. My guess is gabricersurus....?!?
  10. On my way out of town after a family gathering at Starved Rock State Park (it was packed like crazy with people, but I was still able to get a quiet hike in early Sunday morning with my mom. The food at the Lodge is not bad at all, also!) I made time to stop by one of my favorite sites, a roadcut near Oglesby, IL. This steep, talus-covered slope is known to produce generous quantities of brachiopods, as well as rarer shark teeth, cephalopods, echinoderms, trilobites and coral, among other things, primarily from the Pennsylvanian La Salle Limestone Member of the Bond Formation. With the wet weather this year plants had grown wildly over the slope, but there was still plenty of rock to explore. I got out of my car, jumped over the little brook running through the ditch, and made my way up the slope. As erosion slowly eats away at the bluff, fresh boulders fall away and expose new things. A large section had fallen last year, and at the top of the slope I saw another section perilously close to breaking away, so I steered well clear of it. Caution is definitely required at this site, especially because of the risk of rock fall near the overhang, but also the danger of slipping on loose rock and falling- a good sense of balance is very helpful! Working my way carefully along the cut I began to find some interesting things. First up was this hash plate- it doesn't look like much here covered in mud, but in the middle are some Archaeocidaris sea urchin spines, and it also features a number of crushed brachiopods, including some with spines, as well as crinoid stem pieces and other bits. I have started cleaning it up, so I will need to take a picture of it after I'm done.
  11. ID help please

    My friend found this near a parking lot just outside of Chicago in Lisle, IL. Any idea of what it is? Looks a little like the shape of a tooth to me. Thanks!
  12. I Like Him! -- What is his name?

    OK folks, Really have no idea on this one, so need some help please. Thanks all in advance with this riddle. Dan
  13. Unknown Ordovician fossil?

    I found this back in July from the Ordovician Platteville Formation in Oregon, IL. This is the only picture I have of it, and unfortunately, since it’s at home and I’m at school, this is the only picture of it that I have. It’s less than 2cm from side to side. I just don’t know with this one, my best guess is part of trilobite maybe? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks!
  14. First Mazon Creek Fossil Hunt

    This weekend I made my first trip out to Mazon Creek! Sorry this is such a scroller, I'm going to try and have this post be informational since there is definitely some stuff I wished I'd known about in advance and some stuff I did that really aided my success. There are pictures at the bottom. The most important thing I did before my trip was print off a topographic map of the area that I pulled from ArcGIS online. It really came in handy. It was also necessary to have a permit to collect there, something I only discovered the night before. Here is a link to a PDF of the permit. I drove down with a fellow UChicago student. We parked at the first lot off of WN5000 road from the Kankakee road side. Our plan was to use the topo map to find the steepest erosional surfaces to collect on. Initially this strategy seemed like a bust. In our first forty minutes we only found three concretions between us. I think that was because the area near the parking lot and WN5000 road was just really picked over. As we moved deeper into the brush, our finding rate increased. At some points we literally found piles of concretions, this was usually because they had landed in the roots of trees or come up against some other impediment. Our best finds were usually midway and above on the hills. Finds near the bottom of the hills tended to be weathered more extensively and were often fragmented. The concretions themselves were reddish and mostly about the size of half dollars, but larger and smaller ones were also abundant. Concretions found in sunny areas tended to have oxidized to a rusty orange color. We found fragments of some very large concretions, so those are out there, but the largest intact ones we found were about the size of a tea saucer. Many were also pre-split from weathering. We collected a fair number of these since they were covered in mud and it was hard to tell whether there might be a fossil or not. By the end of the afternoon we each had about 1/3rd of a 5 gallon bucket filled with concretions. We could easily have filled the buckets with an additional hour or two of effort, but we were pretty tired and satisfied with our success, so we called it a day. In terms of the environment, the terrain was very rugged and filled with dense brush. Open spaces were filled with burr plants to the point of absurdity. By the end of the day we looked like we had ghillie suits from the sheer quantity of vegetable matter clinging to our clothing (picture below). I recommend wearing long sleeves and pants to protect the skin, and selecting fabrics that burrs will not easily cling to. Additionally, there were lots of biting insects, but a quick spray of DEET solved that problem. I'm prepping the concretions by throwing them in the freezer. However, I'd appreciate it if somebody could link me to a post on the proper treatment, or enlighten me below- both for my own knowledge and for other readers. Photo of two of my pre split finds- the rest are in the freezer right now. (I think a polychaete worm on the bottom, and I have absolutely no clue what the thing on the top is) Our overall route (roughly) Concretions/concretion fragments in situ Me covered in burrs and looking like a dork
  15. I found this in the sangamon river by Decatur Illinois in Macon county. It was found in what looked like a glacial depost in the river. I don't think it is a brachiopod as the shape doesn't quite look right. I think it might be the tail of trilobite.
  16. ID help: Illinois Fossil Plants

    Does anyone know what these are? The previous owner forgot where they were found but thinks they are from the Fox river in Illinois. Can anyone confirm this? They look like plant fossils similar to those found at Mazon creek. Thanks.
  17. Encrinurus species ?

    Hi, wondering what these two Encrinurid species might be? Sugar Run formation. Can't seem to find a match.Thanks for any help. 1
  18. Last weekend, August 17th and 18th, 2019 was the annual I&M Canal Corridor Mazon River Fossil Trip. We were collecting Mazon Creek concretions on private property. The site is designated a National Historic Landmark and is a protected site. It's only accessible once a year by permission of the land owner. The weather was rainy in the morning for both days, but managed to clear up by 1:00, when the event began. On Saturday, Andrew Young gave an interesting lecture about the history and science of Mazon Creek fossils. He mentioned Lagerstatte, Cyclothems, Tidal Rhythmites, Braidwood Biota, and Authigenic Mineralization/Precipitation. How often do you hear those terms in one lecture? I have collected with Andrew for many years, he never fails to get you excited about collecting Mazon concretions. On Sunday, it was Dave Dolak's turn to give the opening talk. He covered the history and science from a slightly different view... also, interesting. Along with teaching geology at Columbia College in Chicago, Dave is known for his original music and songs on various Chicago subjects. Check him out on Youtube. Both speakers did a great job mixing personal experience with the actual science and history. This is a paid event and dinner is provided after collecting. The dinner is always excellent! Lecture photos. The first one is Anna Koval, President of the I&M Canal Corridor Association. Andrew Young Dave Dolak River Pictures Some already open concretions are the next post. BTW, there were a few fossil forum people there, @flipper559, @bigred97, and possibly others. Please speak up if you were also there.
  19. I am excited to share with my friends on The Fossil Forum a significant discovery that I made last week. In 1870 an unusual spine like structure was described from a Pennsylvanian aged black shale site in Illinois. The fossil was believed to belong to an unknown chondrichthyan (shark) that is unlike anything anyone has ever seen. For over 150 years, these denticles have shown up in sites around the world. This animal ranges from the Pennsylvanian to the Triassic meaning that it survived the Permian extinction. Researchers have been perplexed and frustrated as aside from a few patches of scales, no articulated material has ever been found. Dr Rainer Zangerl spent many years extensively collecting black shale sites in Illinois and Indiana. He claims to have found a specimen in Indiana only to have it disintegrate in front of him. He described it having had an eel like body covered in the feathery denticles. I am pleased to announce that I have found what appears to be a complete well preserved specimen. For almost 20 years, I have been searching several black shale sites in North central Illinois. The shale is very similar to the Mecca Quarry black shale found at sites in Indiana.I have posted pictures in the past of various other fossils that I have found at the site. The denticles are relatively abundant but I have never seen any other signs of this mystery shark. Last week, I made a last minute trip out to a site that I occasionally collect and spent a few hours splitting slabs of shale. I was not having much luck and getting ready to call it a day. I decided to open one last large slab. I took a whack and it split perfectly. There in front of me was probably the most scientifically significant fossil that I have ever found. I knew almost immediately what it was but could not believe what I was looking at. A small shark like animal with an elongated eel like body and various spines. The majority of the fossil is covered by a thin layer of black shale so it does not look that impressive. Once prepped, the preservation should be fantastic and similar to other fish that I have shared from these shales.. I am in the process of searching for a researcher who wants to describe it. The fossil appears to be relatively complete from head to tail. I will keep this thread updated as things progress. Without further delay please enjoy being some of the first people to ever see what Listracanthus looked like.
  20. Hello all, Last Saturday I took my 7-year-old boy on a fossil hunt along the River Road (Hwy 100), NW of Alton IL. He found the item in the attached images somewhere near here: Google Map Location The longest dimension of the smooth "bit of whatever" with the porous / speckled texture is about 9 cm. I've tried various keyword combinations with google images, and haven't been able to find anything similar. I imagine it's something common and I'm just not describing it correctly. Does anyone recognize what this is? Thank you very much for any help. My kid will be very excited to find out what this is. James
  21. Yesterday I went on a combined field trip with ESCONI and LOESS to the Starved Rock Clay Products pit in Utica, Illinois. ( @connorp was there too!) This open pit exposes the Pennsylvanian Mecca Quarry black shale, Francis Creek shale, Colchester Coal, and an underclay below the coal- an assembly of strata that have produced world-renowned fossils elsewhere, including Mazon Creek fossils further east and complete sharks from the Mecca Quarry Shale in Indiana. At this location, unfortunately, the concretions are almost all blanks but the black shale does produce isolated fauna including bivalves, brachiopods, cephalopods, and shark teeth and scales. The underclay also contains petrified and pyritized wood and root traces. About 30 of us gathered at a nearby McDonalds before heading to the pit- dark clouds on the horizon brought intermittent hard rain that kindly let up by the time we reached the pit floor. My interest for this trip was in the black shale, with hopes of finding shark material in particular. With the recent rains everything was muddy, and the black shale could be found in chunks strewn along the slumping highwall. Some folks were splitting the shale, but I did not have any luck with that-all of my finds were already exposed. The mud really made it hard to see whether or not there were fossils in the exposed black shale, but I was happy to be able to find a few pieces worth taking home- as often seems to be the case for me when fossil hunting, I found my best stuff in the first hour and virtually nothing the rest of the time I was there.
  22. Mazon ID Help

    I am thinking that this is a Drevotella proteana, with, but not necessarily attached to, a Palaeolima retifera.
  23. Some odd wood imprints from Lasalle County Il.

    I need help identifying these, they are everywhere here in Marseilles but I don’t know what they are
  24. Help with large Carboniferous fish tooth

    Hey guys. I'm looking for some help with this large mystery fish tooth from the late Carboniferous of Illinois. The closest match i can find is from the Devonian lobed finned fish Hyneria. But this is late Carboniferous almost Permian. Another contender just based on size is the Rhizodont. But it's not rounded. This tooth flattens out to two cutting edges that are very sharp. It honestly reminds me of a Barracuda tooth. This broken tooth measures about 20mm, but would have most likey been around 30mm if complete. It is associated with a Megalichthys scale and Orthanthus teeth. Any thoughts?
  25. If anyone can please share their knowledge on what this may be it would be much appreciated! I found it along the bank of the Illinois River in Morris. Image 1 was taken from what I assume to be the top and image 2 is from the bottom. Image 3 is from the side which appears to me to be a crossectional view of the midline of the fossil. It measures approximately 2"W x 2"L x 1"H. I'm a novice collector but my first thought was half of an urchin or something along those lines. Thank you.
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