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Found 217 results

  1. Sorry for the belated congrats. Just published in the November issue of the Journal of Paleontology. The accomplishments are already legendary. TFF is very fortunate to have Jack Wittry as a member. @fiddlehead
  2. Another plant or maybe an insect?

    This one has the black coloring of some of my plant fossils but the shape suggests an insect to me. Could just be my imagination. Any suggestions?
  3. Mazon Plant?

    I found one half of a worn open nodule with asterisk-like grooves crossing the surface. This is a cleaned up version. Is it a fossil or just strange weathering?
  4. Mazon Creek ID help

    Hey folks! Just cracked open a nodule from Mazon River, Grundy County and wondering if its a fossil or just geologic? I can't see any detail to determine that its a fossil. It looks like could be a seed cone or coprolite but just guesses? Any thoughts? I found a lot of plant material there. Thanks
  5. Twigs and leaves?

    I've noticed some black material in some of my findings. Is this plant material, maybe pieces of twigs or wood? I'm not sure if the bottom picture contains a small leaf or just has dirt impersonating a leaf.
  6. shrimp

    From the album Mazon creek assortment

  7. Unknown tetrapod head

    From the album Mazon creek assortment

    Confirmed by field museum as a tetrapod, species uncertain.
  8. I was watching the Clint Eastwood movie “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” recently and it made me think about collecting Mazon Creek concretions and how the movie title applies to them. Let’s start with a couple of the “Good” things: -Over the years there has been numerous books and articles written about the Mazon Creek area and concretions and they provide outstanding information for the collector of all levels. -With about 400 species of flora and about 320 species of fauna that are found in these ironstone concretions plus the remarkable preservation of so many soft bodied animals, I feel that it rivals the fossils found in the Burgess Shale and Solnhofen.
  9. To Clean or not to clean?

    These are some open specimens I found at Mazonia Lakes. I think the set may be a crayfish. The other two seem to be some type of plant. I didn't know if I should soak these in vinegar. I am afraid if I do I may not be able to see the detail.
  10. I've had some luck cracking open my first trove of nodules and my students have found a few cool things too. I haven't ID'd everything yet and would appreciate any suggestions on that topic. I'll be posting more photos as I get through the material. Our collection was carried out at the end of September, 2017 as a part of the Ecology and Evolution class I teach in the Environmental Studies department of Lake Forest College. Here's a jelly from a small nodule that gave up both the positive and negative casts. Here's an awesome polycheate one of my students found. I'm not 100% sure that this is a real fossil. It popped out of the siderite matrix like this but I've seen other nodules with this lighter-colored mineral inside but not taking any organic shape. If I was to guess, this is a Pteriomorphan bivalve of some type but it doesn't look like anything else I've seen online. I sincerely doubt that I am lucky enough to have found an etacystis fossil on my first trip but this thing looks a lot like what I've seen described as such elsewhere. Plenty more to follow, I am totally hooked on this hobby. Dr. John
  11. Stains or Fossils?

    After freezing and thawing, I broke open some nodules from Mazonia Lakes that have some interesting patterns inside of them. These are nodules that did not show any signs of opening along any natural cleavage. The first nodule broke in half vertically when the shape (oblong oval) suggested it would open horizontally. The white material seems very thin and reflective, it reminds me of a plastic decal..Any ideas of what they could be?
  12. Mazon Creek 2017 Collecting Season Mazon Creek is open for collecting fossils from March 1- September 30. The area known as Pit 11 is famous for concretions from the Carboniferous period. It is far past its collecting heyday, where concretions were very easy to find. Now this coal strip mine has become quite overgrown and difficult to collect. But there are still treasures to be found. "There are Tullys in these Hills, still" I collected Pit 11 and the South Unit about 15-20 times over the course of the summer, some trips alone, and some with friends, and one with the Earth Science Club of Northern Illinois. I posted some of my trip reports on my blog, and wanted to create a FF post to compliment them, and share photos that are not on my other trip reports. http://americanfossilhunt.com/2017/03/08/mazon-creek-fossil-collecting-opener-trip-report-3517/ http://americanfossilhunt.com/2017/04/14/mazon-creek-pit-11-collecting-report-492017/ http://americanfossilhunt.com/2017/06/23/mazon-creek-pit-11-collecting-report-5292017-torino-hill/ http://americanfossilhunt.com/2017/10/01/mazon-creek-pit-11-collecting-report-islands-braceville-hill-late-2017/ Also, below is a cool poster I made to memorialize the season. It hangs in my collecting gear closet, above all the concretions I will be freezing and thawing this winter. 2017 In spring, this wildlife area is very peaceful. Its hauntingly quiet, and a refreshing feeling to smell the sprouting plants and earth, after an always seemingly very long Chicago winter. To spend a day hiking and exploring 2000+ acres of undisturbed land is one of the more unique fossil collecting experiences as far as sites in the United States go. One of my favorite things about collecting in the early season, is finding some of the animal bones and skulls of those who didnt make it through the winter. This buck skull was one of my coolest finds from the area. When i found it, it still had some meat on it, so I took it home and tried to boil it and soak it in biological detergent. The thing reeked! even though there was very little tissue on it. After a few days of trying to clean it myself, I actually took it back to the woods, and stashed it under a fallen tree, to let nature do the heavy lifting. I returned a few weeks later, and found it very clean and bleached by the sun. It now hangs above my display case. Below is an area by Monster Lake, that I liked collecting. There is some exposed shoreline, and its not uncommon to find concretions in, or right next to, the water. Here is a mixed lot of pre-opened fossils, a couple jellyfish, fern fragments, a worn out shrimp, and corprolite. And a nice neuropteris that opened after a few freeze/thaws. Another mixed lot of pre-opened. As the summer wore on, the collecting got immensely more difficult. By May, some of my favorite collecting areas were so overgrown, they were impassable and un-collectable. My friend invested in a boat, so we can collect Torino Hill, which extended the collecting season quite a bit. Most all of my Torino finds are still unopened, and I am working through them little by little. Photos to come soon. I was going to create a longer post, but it appears I am capped at photos for this entry. I downsized them, but perhaps not enough. I will post follow-ups on this later, and likely throughout the winter, as my concretions start to open up, whether by freeze/thaw, or some days I have planned to do some hammering. til next year! But I will keep the MC posts on the blog and here coming over the next few months. I have 300lbs of concretions to go through, and keep me busy this winter.
  13. Today I took a quick ride to the small suburb of Evanston, right out side of Chicago. This is the home of Dave's Down To Earth Rock Shop and Prehistoric Life Museum. If memory serves me correct, Dave's has been in Evanston for the past 40+ years and it is a family owned business. Dave's recently moved to it's new home on Main Street and if you every get a chance to be in the Chicago area, this is a must see- you will definitely not be disappointed. From the outside, you would not believe that this store has a museum that houses such a great variety of fossil life and the most extensive collection / variety of Mazon Creek fauna that I have ever seen, including 3 Holotype Mazon Creek fossils named after Dave and his parents who found them. Here are some overview pictures of the Museum. Here are some overview of the various displays.
  14. Mazon Creek Foss Identification Help

    Once again, I am seeking assistance in identifying a Mazon Creek concretion fossil. Might be an easy one for someone here, but I'm just not finding it. Both halves are pictured below. Thanks!
  15. Any ideas? It is hard to see in the pictures but the body seems segmented and seems to have little dots in each segment. I wasn't sure which way to orient the pictures, I lost detail depending on the tilt towards the light.
  16. Another Jellyfish?

    Two halves of the same nodule.
  17. Mineral Deposit or Fossils part II

    Here are some more specimens I found that I am not sure are anything or not. The pair looks like a fish to me. Another view of the second above and another sample.
  18. Bumpy Nodules

    Two halves of the same nodule.
  19. Mineral Deposits or Fossils

    I found some already opened nodules that I cleaned up. I wasn't sure if these were fossils or just mineral deposits.
  20. Mazon Fossil Identification Help

    This first fossil looks like it probably is a Pecopteris pinnule that had already started its death roll before burial. Is this actually the case? The other fossil I have much less of an idea about. Possibly a crustacean of some sort?
  21. Just Rocks or Fossils?

    I found some what I think are rocks at Mazonia that have interesting patterns. They feel gritty like sandstone but I have never seen it with these patterns. Is this a type of sandstone? Could they be fossils? The last two are opposite sides of the same sample.
  22. As I was going through pictures today to post a picture of a friends Bandringa rayi, I started to look through some pictures that I had taken of the Mazon Creek area in the late 80's and early 90's and figured that some members might like to see the area(s). When the Mazon Creek Project was active and run by Northeastern Illinois University you could contact them for and an orange Permanent Collecting pass. Before you could receive the pass, you had to sign a release and get it notarized. The Mazon Creek Project would then send the larger orange card that was signed by the collector to the Commonwealth Edison Nuclear Power Plant in Braidwood, Il. Every year, you would also receive a postcard, similar to the one below, that would tell the collector when the season opened / closed and notify them of any changes. When Commonwealth Edison ran the grounds, you would drive to the "Fossil Gate", which was manned by a Commonwealth Edison guard Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm. Sometimes during the week you could try to enter through the main gate for the plant and every once in a while someone would let you into the property. When you arrived at the "Fossil Gate" on the weekend, you would pull your car up and show them you small orange pass. The guard would then take that pass and compare it to the signature on the larger card that was in his possession and if everything was good, you received a numbered pass and drive on into the property and to your collecting area. Now there were many times when the weather was terrible, and the only people collecting were me and my son, who was about 5 years old at that time. The guard would stay there for the whole 8 hours until it was 4pm and we were leaving. I believe around 1990 or 1991, the area was turned into the Mazonia- Braidwood Conservation area and the "Fossil Gate" was closed and we had to walk in from W5000N. At that time we received different personal cards. Here are some pics of Pit 11, the area where great fauna was found. During this time, there were still plenty of areas to collect that were not covered by vegetation. Here are some pics of the road W5000N and the "Tipple Area". During one season some construction equipment showed up and was doing some work, it helped uncover concretions. Also once in a great while, you could be walking down W5000N and notice a large pile of opened and closed concretions that were dumped by someone. I always figured that it was possibly done by the spouse of child of an older collector that had passed away. They knew that there were collectors out there that would cherish those concretions. Sometimes some great looking shrimp or a fish was found in the opened concretions. Below is an example of one such pile.
  23. Today I figured that I would crack open a couple dozen concretions to see if there was anything of interest. Hitting them with a hammer is not the preferred practice, but I have so many that I could never freeze / thaw them in 2 lifetimes. The concretions that I opened today were collected from Pit 4, mostly flora and fresh water fauna are found at that location. Today I found the run of the mill ferns, leaves and a couple very pretty pieces of bark.
  24. More Mazon Creek Duds?

    I went fossil hunting again Tuesday and, while I think I am getting more discerning about what I pick up, I still do not know if what I found is a fossil or just an interestingly weathered rock. This is the condition in which I found it. If these are not fossils I think I may change my name to Dud-ley Do Wrong.
  25. Bandringa rayi or Bandringa herdinae? Brand new to site - thanks in advance for any assistance here.