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Found 92 results

  1. From the album Plants

    oak leaf, (Quercus). Pléistocène Re (Val Vigezzo) Italy
  2. Dear members, today I want to tell you about one of the most epic misinterpreation in the history of italian palaeontology. A story that many newspapers and websites rushed to spread, but that was nothing but a leap! As you read in the title, it's about how an ammonite got mistaken for a dinosaur, in particular for a skull. How that could possibly happen? Let's see. Vigevano is a small town 31 km (20 milles) west of Milan, northern Italy. Famous since the Middle Ages (Leonardo da Vinci resided there several times), today a castle and a porch are its main attractions. But we will focus on the cathedral: built between the XVI and XVII centuries it is decorated with frescoes, paintings and decorative stones. Many italian churches feature very impressive decorative stones in their architecture: one of the most widely adopted is the Rosso Veronese (Red Verona's marble, even though it is a sedimentary rock!), a red and white stone that usually preserves fossils. In the Vigevano case, a slightly different rock was used, called "Broccatello". Still nowadays it is quarried in the swiss town of Arzo, extremely close to the Italian-swiss border, 60 km (38 miles) north of Vigevano. It is a marine limestone that dates to the Early Jurassic; common fossils found within include brachiopods, sponges and crinoids. Ammonites and other molluscs are more rare. On the map the red arrow shows the location of Vigevano and the purple arrow that of Arzo. Well, in fall 2010 one of the most respected italian newspapers shared the news that a dinosaur skull had been discovered in a slab of "Broccatello" that decorates a balaustrade in the Vigevano Cathedral. Responsible for the discovery was Andrea Tintori, then full professor of vertebrate palaeontology at the University of Milan. He reported that the in the cross-sectioned specimen, a cranium, nasal cavities and numeros teeth could be seen. At the beginning he thought it belonged to an Ichthyosaur or a crocodile, then he was convinced that it was a dinosaur. He also claimed to be intentioned to remove the slab and put it through a CT scan, in order to see it in 3-D. You can see a picture of the balaustrade and of the "skull" (the latter taken by me). After 9 years, however, the slab is still in its original location, untoched. Why? Well, because it is absolutely not a dino skull! A close (but not very sophisticated) analysis can easily show that is actually a cross-section of an ammonite shell: no teeth at all can be seen and other features (like symmetrical knobs or indentations) are not even remotely consistent with the original interpretation. (Picture obtained with permission of the original author) So, this is the end of our story: maybe a little disappointing, but in my opinion it teaches that any claim or fact should always be checked two times rather than one! You can read an article about this story from the Smithsonian Magazine website: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/a-dinosaur-in-an-italian-church-86306076/
  3. Hello everybody, My new museum tour focuses on the Geological and Palaeontological Museum of the University of Padua, Italy. I have visited more than 30 institutions in Italy, but this one remains my favourite. And it is generally acknowledged as having the most important collection of all the Italian universities. After seeing the pictures, I think that you'll agree with me!! The origin of the museum can be traced back to 1734 when the son of a professor donated his dead father's collections that were housed in a brand new natural sciences museum. in the following decades many more scholars helped to expand the collections. The museum moved in the present location, a XVII building decorated with frescoes, in 1932. After having been closed for many years, it reopened to the public in 2018. Unfortunately the whole invertebrate collection (more than 45.000 fossils) has been stored due to the building restoration. That's why only the plant and vertebrate collections can be visited, but nevertheless it is not short of surprises and amanzing specimens!! In this post I'll show you only the plant section. It is housed in a single large room and specimens are displayed like the XIX c. collections, but with modern equipment. It does nothing but enhance the astonishment. Padua is located 35 km west of Venice and 55 east of the Pesciara di Bolca, that is undoubtedly the most famous Italian palaeontological site (you can see specimens in the New york and Washington D.C. museums for example). it dates to the early Eocene and has yielded exceptionally well-preserved fishes, palm fruits and terrestrial and acquatic leafs. Most people don't know that around Bolca there are other important lagerstatten sites, with a similar age, that have yielded very different assemblages. For example in the Purga di Bolca, complete or isolated palm trunks and leafs have been found, as well as crocodiles and turtles. In the nearby province of Vicenza, an Oligocene outcrop preserves even more spectacular palm trees! I would have liked to explain in more detail the history of research in this areas and a description of flora and ancient environment, but it would take too long. If you are interested, I suggest you to read the most comprehensive and up-to-date work about the Bolca lagerstatten. You can download it for free from many sources. "CARNEVALE, G., et al. The Bolca Fossil-Lagerstätten: A Window into the Eocene World. 2014." Back, to Pauda, in the center of the room, plant specimens dating from the Carboniferous to the Pleistocene age and coming from all over Italy and other countries are exhibited. Now it's finaly time for the pictures!!! Let's start with two complete views of the room! It's impressive, isn't it? In the first case that I show you, you can see a wide range of plants from the Pesciara of Bolca, another outcrop near Bolca and from the province of Viceza: conifers, angiosperms, indeterminate specimens and horsetails. The close-up images are those of two conifers and of a horsetail. Next an undetermined plant showing inflorescences. In the Pesciara di Bolca, spectacular palm fruits can be found, some of them more than 30 cm (12 inch) long!! And now the amazing and almost breath-taking palm fronds! There are so many that you cannot take pictures of all of them, it would take so long!! Found from both in the Verona and Vicenza province, they show different stages of the growth of palms and and come from different parts of the plant. Of all of the aforementioned palm fronds, one stands out above all. It is actually a whole palm tree, 3 m (10 ft) tall. Definetely one of the most amazing fossil specimen that I've seen in any museum of the world. It belongs to the species "Latanites maximiliani" and was found in the Chiavon valley, Vicenza province. The next picture shows me (1,8 m or 5'9" tall) for size comparison. In the next post I'll explain to you the other plant exhibit. But first, enjoy this part!!
  4. Not Sure What It Is

    Hi Folks, Found this on a beach of the Island of Ischia, Italy (August 2019). Not sure what it is and, though I'd write more about what I think, I have no background or expertise...which of course is why I am here. Glad to provide any additional information if it would help. Thanks for your insights!
  5. Hello guys! Today I want to talk to you about an interesting museum situated where you wouldn't be expecting one: Venice, the City of Water. In a place famous worldwide for its architecture, art and food, the natural history theme is left behind, but it is not devoid of surprises. The museum was founded in 1860 and located in a XIII century palace, that served as a private residence and then as a market. The present appearance of the buidling was given by major renovation works that altered the original aspect. Nevertheless, it is an impressive location for a museum!! The area around Venice is an alluvial plain and no fossil can be found. That's why the museum collection are made up of specimens found in other parts of Veneto region, Italy and of the world. the highlight of the whole museum are the specimens collected during explorations that underwent in Africa in the 70's. In particular, the desert of Niger was explored. Back in the Early Cretaceous rivers and forests flourished there, as well as a very rich faunal assemblage. Italian-french excavations have yielded hundreds of dinosaur bones: theropods, ornithischians and sauropds are known. in the exhibits two specimens stand out above all: First the skull, teeth and back plates of "Sarchosuchus imperator", a crocodyliform and one of the largest crocodile-like reptiles that ever lived. (I only took a picture of the skull) Then the mounted skeleton and paratype of "Ouranosaurus nigeriensis", an hadrosaurid dinosar, 6,5 m (21.3 ft) long. Hadrosaurids had an unusual plant-smashing beak, multiple rows of teeth and they were facultative bipeds. Like in the theropod "Spinosaurus aegypticus", the neural spines of "Ouranosaurus" form a sort of "sail" on his back, its function his unclear; a social (display) role is generally more accepted than that of thermoregulation. The Venice specimen lacks the skull, atlas vertebra, ribs, the distal segment of the tail and few other bones. It was not fully grown, but close to adult size. Other exhibits from the Niger expedition include teeth and bones of dinosaur and a turtle shell: Regarding the other collections, they are less relevant and impressive in my opinion. You can see fish and plant remains from the Eocene of Bolca, a world-famous site not far from Venice. A couple of interesting tracks of amphibians and reptiles from the Permian of South-western United States Two amphibian body-fossil from the Permian of Germany Eocene crabs from Veneto A bird from the Cretaceous of China The skull of temnospondyl amphibian from the Permian of Russia The death track of a limulid from the Jurassic Solnhofen lagerstatten of Germany And a sirenid from the Oligocene of France Overall the Museum is interesting and I was satisfied. I didn't know about the African expedition and of a dinosaur paratype!! It was actualy difficult to take decent pictures (for the little lighting) and for most of the exhibits, labels and boards were minimized. Anyway, if you stop by Venice, don't miss it!! P.s.: if you'd like to have any additional information about the specimen that I uploaded a picture of or those that I left out, please ask, I would love the help!
  6. Ductor vestenae VOLTA, 1796

    From the album Vertebrates

    Ductor vestenae VOLTA, 1796 Eocene Ypresian Monte Bolca near Verona Italy
  7. Fossil News Summer 19 issue is available

    The Summer 2019 issue of Fossil News features the paleoart of Jimi Catanzaro, an article about late-Cretaceous pterosaurs in Cuba, more on that ammonite in amber you've been hearing so much about, an exclusive excerpt from Enrico Bonino’s new book about fossil medusozoans and how primitive algal mats helped preserve them, and a whole lot more! tinyurl.com/fnsubscribe
  8. Starting Monday, I'm going to have a weeklong trip across multiple parts of Italy. The main attractions being Naples and Sicily, visiting the volcanoes of the country (people may not know that volcanology is my second biggest interest). If there are days of downtime, I'm wondering if there are any spots I should check out while I'm there. Thanks in advance!
  9. Harpactoxanthopsis quadrilobatus

    From the album Crustaceans

    This crab like most other Italian crabs is from an area that is no longer accessible to the public, in a location known as Malo, Vicenza, Italy within the Lutetian limestone and this formation is roughly 40 million years old (Eocene). This species of crab is a mudcrab variant with large front claws and a hardened carapace. This crab was meticulously prepared and is currently on display at the Museum of Ancient Life in Lehi.
  10. What could it be?

    Hello, please could you help me to Id this fossil? I do not know were it come from, I bought it in Milan. Thanks
  11. Hello, can you tell me how it is possible reconize and which are the Differences between Agerostrea and Rastellum? Thanks
  12. Do you guys know if there are any paleontological museums in Italy?
  13. Scipionyx samniticus

    Again something new...Scipionyx samniticus found in Italy
  14. The theropod informally called "Saltriosaurus" is finally published after so many years as a nomen nudum: The following link is available here: Dal Sasso C, Maganuco S, Cau A. 2018. The oldest ceratosaurian (Dinosauria: Theropoda), from the Lower Jurassic of Italy, sheds light on the evolution of the three-fingered hand of birds. PeerJ 6:e5976 https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5976 Although Scipionyx interested me as the first dinosaur found in Italy (it happens to be named after the Roman general Scipio Africanus, who defeated Hannibal at the Battle of Zama in 202 BCE in Tunisia, ending the Second Punic War), I first heard of the dinosaur now called "Saltriosaurus" while reading the book Scholastic Dinosaurs A To Z back in 2003, but what was informally dubbed "Saltriosaurus" is now called Saltriovenator, and after being initially considered a tetanuran, it is apparently an early ceratosaur.
  15. New papers recording new occurrences of fossil Monodontidae are available online: Hiroto Ichishima; Hitoshi Furusawa; Makino Tachibana; Masaichi Kimura (2018). First monodontid cetacean (Odontoceti, Delphinoidea) from the early Pliocene of the north‐western Pacific Ocean. Papers in Palaeontology. Online edition. doi:10.1002/spp2.1244. (describes Haborodelphis japonicus) Pesci et al. (2018). First record of Monodontidae (Cetacea, Odontoceti) in the Mediterranean Basin from the Pliocene sands of Arcille (Grosseto, Tuscany, Italy). Fossilia, Volume 2018: 37-39. Denebola and Bohaskaia were long the only described fossil monodontid species from the pre-Pleistocene, but Haborodelphis and the new monodontid skull from Tuscany shed new light on the distribution of monodontids.
  16. Myctophum sp.

    From the album Vertebrates

    Myctophum sp. Late Pliocene Vrica Italy
  17. Rastellum or Agerostrea ?

    Hello, what do you think could it be ? It is about 20 cm in leght. Many thanks in advance!
  18. Dear all, yesterday I went out for some hiking on Monte Faito (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monte_Faito), a Mesozoic mountain near Sorrento/Pompeii/Napoli, in the south of Italy. This 1400m mountain is mostly made of dolostone (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolostone) and limestone - like Dolomites in the north of Italy. In this photo you can appreciate the rock layers of this beautiful mountain viewing the Gulf of Naples. On the path of my excursion, I found (free on the ground) and picked a brown piece of rock that caught my eye because it was different (but not the only one) from all other light gray rocks. Here you can see some photos that show the strange radial texture that cover the top side of the specimen, but also the layered side that is also very interesting and may help identifying it. First of all, is it a fossil or a mineral formation? If it is a fossil, what kind of marine fossil? While writing this topic, I found this map - http://www.isprambiente.gov.it/Media/carg/466_485_SORRENTO_TERMINI/Foglio.html - that shows all the different formations of the mountain. I collected the specimen maybe in CLU or CRQ formation. The map includes the name of all the fossils that can be found in every formation (CLU and CRQ formation's fossils are listed in the first column on the right side), I serched on Google the name of every fossil written in the map, but none of them seems to correspond to my specimen. Please, help me giving a name to this specimen Thank you!
  19. Bivalve iD

    Hello, can you help me to ID this fossil? Lenght is about 12 cm Thanks
  20. Is it a fossil from Alps?

    I recently found (on the ground) this rock. I collected it on the top of the Sass Pordoi mountain (https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sasso_Pordoi), Italian Alps. It seems a fossil, but I can't identify it. What do you think? In the same place I also found this imprint that remembers me of a "Megalodon" bivalve - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Megalodon_(bivalve), a very common fossil in the region. Other than those two, I didn't find any other fossil in the area.
  21. Could it be fossil wood?

    Hello, please, colud it be Fossil Wood? Thanks
  22. Dear all, I have many duplicates in my collection and I would like to exchange them with other fossils from around the world. I'm interested in any kind of fossils, (dinosaur) teeth in particular. #1 This should be a piece of echinoid. A gift from a friend, it may have been found in Italy. #2 Fossil wood slice (probably from USA). #3 and #4 Pectinids from Favignana, Sicilia, Italy. #5 Unknown piece of marine fossil from Sorrento (Amalfi Coast), Italy.
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