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Found 443 results

  1. Hello all, I have been a long time lurker of the forum (simply reading has been helpful enough these years) but have finally decided to request identification help on some fossils. I spent the summer conducting research in Illinois and spent my spare time collecting fossils. I was fortunate enough to collect Mazon Creek fossils about 14 years ago on a trip so I was thrilled to finally return to the area and collect at the Mazonia Braidwood Fish and Wildlife Unit. I have Key to Identify Pennsylvanian Fossil Animals of The Mazon Creek Area as well as Jack Wittry's The Mazon Creek Fossil Flora and these have been very helpful in identifying specimens but this one has thrown me a bit. As for the fossil, it resembles an arthropod appendage (like a Eurypterid walking leg) but I might be blinded by my wishing it to be that. I appreciate any help and insight from people more experienced with Mazon Creek. I will likely post more unidentified material from Illinois and Missouri soon. Thanks for your time. -Tom
  2. Weird Iron Nodule

    So I live near the Mazon creek and have found many fossils in my yard but this one has be puzzled. Most if not all of the iron nodules I have found have been smooth and oval or rounded in shape, This one has bumps all over it similar to some species of tree branches. it is long and round and heavy for it's size and the typical color of most of the iron nodules I have found and opened. But I have never seen a long one like this. Hopefully I got the size right on the photos, and I do have much higher resolution photos. Found lots of grass and ferns and a large piece of coral as well in the past. Along with lots of coal. The area where is live was once a very large strip mine area so the spoils were piled all over and if you dig you will find something almost every time. Edit to add about 6" long and 2" in diameter.
  3. I decided to take the time and try to shoot pictures of slides that I received years ago from my Fossil Mentor Walter Lietz. They are slides that he would show and talk about at the various Fossil talks that he would give prior to us taking the participants out collecting. This post may take me a couple days to complete due to the number of slides that I have to take pictures of. I have tried to do this before, but the machine I was using made it difficult. This time I am using a lighted hand held slide viewer and shooting them with my I Phone. It is tedious, since I then have to e-mail them to myself in a reduced size format and then save each one. Some will show up real good and some may not. The slides contain pictures of many of the fossils that were in his collection, as well as some that were in his friends, Francis Tully, of who the Tully Monster was named after. There are also slides that we received from Northwestern University’s Mazon Creek Project and probably some from other collections. This post is more as “Eye Candy”, as I will not be naming the individual slides. There will be a lot of different flora and fauna species to look at, as well as pictures of the collecting areas. I am going to post about 50 pictures now and I will try to take more pictures later in the day. They are in no particular order, I am shooting them as I grab them and I believe you will enjoy these. If you see something in particular that you find interesting and want to know what it is, let me know and I will try to help out, or another member may be able too. I figured that I would start with a couple pictures of Walter that were taken about 40 years ago. The first picture is of him out in the field collecting and the second is him in his garage standing by some of his display cases, he had tons of them. He entrusted me with his slides, knowing that I would always take care of them. These are the first time that they have been shown in maybe 20 years. Most of the slides that you will see throughout this post were taken in the early 70’s and 80’s. I hope you enjoy these. On with the fossils-
  4. Today I had the pleasure of attending I & M Canal Corridor Trip to collect on the "actual" Mazon Creek (River) in Morris, Illinois. I believe that this is the 11th year for this trip, which is held on Saturday and Sunday on a 400 acre farm that has access to the river. This is the first time that I have participated in this trip and thanks must go out to Rich @stats for letting me know about this trip last year. In January of this year Rich contacted me again to let me know that the sign-up for the trip was on line, so on 1-6-20 I sent my payment of $150.00 in and reserved my space. Some of you may question the $150.00 payment for this trip when you can collect out at the pits. First off, the money goes to support the I & M Canal and at the end of the day there are drinks, hors d'oeuvres and then dinner, which includes steak, chicken or pork chops, plus vegetables, corn on the cob and dessert. (Social Distancing was in place). We all met around 12:30 pm and the lecture started around 1:15 pm. The collecting started around 2:20 pm and we collected until 5 pm, which was plenty of time. When we arrived back we had dinner and sat around to talk until about 8 pm and then I headed out for the 1 hour drive home. Prior to the collecting portion, there is a nice informative talk given on the history of Mazon Creek fossils, what to look for and also some displays so the participants can visualize what they are looking for and what they might find. There were also a number of Fossil Forum members present and I will let Rich tag those members since I forgot their Forum names. I will start off with a few pictures of the pre-collecting time of trip. There were 3 dogs that were running around the property and I could not stop petting them. Some pics of us driving to the collecting site- The walkway to the river. Here are some pictures of the creek area. Continued on next post.
  5. I headed out to Mazon Creek IL a few days ago and came back with some fair nodules. I found a big nodule(6) and used the freeze thaw method to open it, I think it might be a jellyfish but I’m unsure, as I guess it could be nothing. 1 and 2 just have irregular shapes and I believe are made of pyrite. 3,4 and 5 are nodules that did not open from freeze thaw so I broke them with a hammer, and they have some white marks but I’m not sure if they are anything at all. Help with any of these finds would be awesome, and I had quite the adventure at Mazon as it rained and was quite filled with ticks!
  6. Mazon Creek plants

    These two Pit 11 nodules popped over the past couple weeks. I haven't found anything similar to either in the past, so I'm hoping for a bit of help. #1)
  7. Everyone here on the forum knows @Nimravis is very generous with his...um...poop. I was the lucky recipient of a Mazon Creek (Pit 4) carnivore coprolite with a very intriguing inclusion. Does anyone recognize this once tasty morsel? Bug bit? EDIT: The scale bar in the photos is 1 mm.
  8. 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!
  9. Mazon Creek unknown

    This Pit 11 nodule popped today. I'm getting shrimpy vibes but I'm really not sure what to make of it. Any thoughts?
  10. I really only want to keep one of these, probably either the bottom left or the right fern. Not to concerned about the others.
  11. Mazon Creek Fern ID Help?

    Hi again! I feel very fortunate to have such great minds helping to ID fossils here. I have one other Mazon Creek fossil that I would like some help with it. It’s a fairly large (5 inch) fossil fern nodule from Mazon Creek. My first question is, is this the common fern species variety Pecopteris? I think it might be but I see some variation within the leaves (that is the fern degree terminations). Is it unusual or rare to find ferns with them still attached to the plant stock/shaft from Mazon Creek? Last question, are the oriented dots on some of the ferns fossilized sporangia? I can’t find comparable examples like this online. Thank you!
  12. Mazon Creek ID help?

    Hi all, Wondering if anyone can assist with IDing this fossil nodule from the Mazon Creek area. I think it’s a body fragment of a tully monster but not 100% by any means. I think there is an eye bar present so near the head area before the proboscis. Any help is greatly appreciated!
  13. Mazon Creek ID

    Hey Folks. Here’s another that opened up over the weekend. Thoughts?
  14. New study reveals Tullimonstrum was a vertebrate: https://www.livescience.com/ancient-tully-monster-vertebrate.html?utm_source=sendinblue&utm_campaign=542020_Educational_Kits&utm_medium=email
  15. 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?
  16. 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.
  17. I went on a bit of an unusual fossil hunt this morning--in my office closet. I'm getting things packed up for a move next month to Gainesville, FL. We're moving up there from South Florida because I've had my fill of hurricanes (and year-round yardwork). In Gainesville I'll be able to volunteer more with the FLMNH. So I'm slowly repositioning the contents of my house into a growing stack of moving boxes. I got to the bottom corner of my office closet today and found a box that had some childhood memories in them. No favorite stuffed animals, no catcher's mitt and baseball, no cheap trophies for athletic prowess demonstrated. Nope, this was MY childhood and it was slightly (or more so) more eccentric than portrayed in Leave it to Beaver. My childhood contained as many science books as comics or Mad magazines. I had access to my dad's workshop and knew my way around a soldering iron building kits from Heathkit (a reference that will mean little to those of a younger generation). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heathkit The box I found in my closet contained my first microscope--a simple little slide scope with a pair of AA batteries in the base for backlighting. It also had part of my childhood rock collection--some pyrite, a piece of green quartzite, an agate, and a heavy chunk of specular hematite (given to me my by 3rd grade teacher who knew I was a science geek). The best "discovery" was my nascent fossil collection. It had my first fossil book (copyright 1962): There were plastic bags filled with little scraps of poor quality fossils. I was living in Chicago at the time so my fossil horizon contained items mostly from the Ordovician, Silurian and Devonian. My 3rd grade teacher must have had a summer home up in the upper peninsula of Michigan (the likely source of the chunk of specularite) and she also gave me my first mystery fossil. It's a partial negative cast and I never could quite figure out what it was. I pressed clay into it as a kid to view its positive form and often suspected some form of trilobite. Could never make out any eyes on the end and looking at it now I suspect the "head end" may be some sort of pygidium. Maybe someone here may be able to hazard a guess. Several years ago Tammy and I visited the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in D.C. and of course spent an inordinate amount of time in the paleontology section. When I saw a nice example of a complete (and highly enigmatic) Recepticulites my mind went back to this piece that I found nearly 45 years ago. Most of the fossils that I collected myself were found wherever I had access to either beaches (like Lake Michigan) which had tumbled cobbles containing fossils or from a campground I remember a couple hours west of Chicago that used large rip-rap limestone boulders as erosion control where a road crossed over a large lake. So, in addition to bringing marshmallows for flambéing in the campfire in the evenings, and a fishing pole in attempt to see what types of fishes were hiding beneath the surface of the lake, I also brought a hammer and stone chisel--that's normal, right? I'd clamber around on the rocks looking for evidence of some poor quality fossil poking out here and there. I'd spend much more time than it was really worth freeing gastropod steinkerns, barnacles, crinoid stem segments, and other representative fossils of the time. I was always quite happy when I found find something that was included in my fossil guide book. Fossil books were few and far between in museum book shops and this was long before the ubiquity of the internet and longer before @Cris had the idea for TFF. I'll unpack this box again when we reach Gainesville and look back on my humble beginnings collecting fossils. I may organize some of these into a showbox display and hang it in my office in the new house. Back in the day I told (mostly adults) that I wanted to be a paleontologist when they asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. Not hearing the expected answer of teacher, fireman, or astronaut (this was the era of the space race), the questioner would stare blankly at me till my grandfather or my parents would explain that it is someone who "digs up fossils". It took me a few decades but I've finally been able to travel around and "dig up fossils" if only on a serious avocational level. You'll see some indications that I was trying to be a serious collector back then. I had numbered several of my finds when I had made a potential identification. I had a notebook (long since vanished) where I recorded the collecting information and (probably) identification for my finds. The little adhesive numbered tags were cut from strips of numbered tape used to identify both ends of cables when building racks of switches and relays (back in the day before semiconductors). I have my first specimens of a rugose horn coral, a faint brachiopod, a crinoid segment, and my first worn partial trilobite. I remember some of these fossils and some I've long since forgotten about but the one that was the most surprising to see while picking through my old collection was a reasonable example of a Mazon Creek fern frond. While this is a well known fossil locality here on the forum (and beyond), I was surprised by this as Mazon Creek and its fossil lagerstätte had escaped my awareness till about a decade ago. Tammy and I were visiting the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago with our nieces and we happened upon the great exhibit they have there on Mazon Creek. That was the first time I was conscious of the fact that there was a great place to collect fossils relatively close to where I grew up but that fate and the relative lack of information back in the day had hidden it from me. Had I known about Mazon Creek back in the day and been able to amass a more impressive fossil collection as a kid I might not have chosen computers for a career. Actually, computer programming came natural to me like walking or breathing so computers were likely baked into my fortune cookie of fate and interest in fossils would rekindle later in life as it has. I still have no recollection of how this Mazon Creek concretion came into my possession. I can only assume that I received it as a gift from some adult trying to fan the flames of a passion for fossils. With the possibility of a long-term time-delay fuse this effort seems to have worked. Think about that next time you gift some fossils to a kid who shows interest. Cheers. -Ken P.S.: Tammy thinks I should choose one of these as a last minute entry for the FOTM contest since I (re)found them this month.
  18. Anyone out there have any Tully Monsters they would be willing to trade. Partials ok. PM if you want.
  19. The Mazon Creek deposit records one of the best representations of Pennsylvanian aged millipedes. A variety of different types have been found representing several different orders. This is one of the rarer and lesser known types belonging to a relatively new order named Pleurojulida. Pleurojulus lacks spines and has body segments that consist of an upper and lower plate. It is one of the smallest millipedes that can be found in the Mazon Creek deposit.
  20. There are 5 pectinoida (scallops) that can be found in the Mazon Creek deposit. Aside from Aviculopecten mazonensis, all are uncommon to rare. Dunbarella striata is commonly found in Pennsylvanian aged black shales but fairly rare in the Mazon Creek deposit. Like all Mazon scallops, they are only found in the Essex (marine) portion of the deposit. It has a relatively round shell compared to the much more common Aviculopecten. I actually collected this first specimen on March 1st 2020 (opening day for collecting). It just split open this evening and is the largest example that I have seen.
  21. Chitons are the most primitive of all living mollusks. They belong to a class called Polyplacophora (bearer of many plates). There lineage extends as far back as the late Cambrian. There are over 430 described species in the fossil record. Almost all are only known from individual body plates or valves. The Mazon Creek deposit is one of the only sites in the world where complete examples have been collected. Modern chitons have changed little from Glaphurochiton concinnus. The basic chiton body plan consists of 8 valves made of Aragonite. The front plate is named the cephalic plate and the rear plate the anal. The plates have fine ornamentation which is a key feature in differentiating species. Modern chitons can roll into a ball when threatened. The muscular body is known as the girdle. This girdle is covered with tiny spicules that are sometimes preserved on Mazon specimens. Most modern chitons use this girdle to attach themselves to rocks. To feed, the animal has a radula that can have over a hundred rows of denticles. Each row consists of 17 each. Most modern chitons attach to rocks and feed on algae. Glaphurochiton was a mud dweller feeding on detritus. Like all chitons, Glaphurochiton is strictly marine and is only found in the Essex portion of the deposit. Glaphurochiton is rare but 2 concentrations of chitons have been found. The areas have been termed “chiton hills”. It has been noted that modern chitons have a homing ability to return to there same resting spots despite lacking eyes. This first example is the largest chiton that I am aware of that has ever been found in the Mazon Creek deposit. Not including the skirt, the animal measures 70 millimeters. The typical size is usually between 30-40 millimeters.
  22. Friends- Thanks for your patience with my last couple of posts, these concretions are a carnival ride. I collected this delicate little (9mm) winged insect in 2010 at the Mazonia-Braidwood South Unit. Any thoughts on what ballpark I should be looking in for an ID? Some kind of damselfly, maybe? (Is it possibly newly-hatched with uninflated wings?) I appreciate your time.
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