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GeschWhat posted a topic in Fossil IDI was a lucky recipient of a wonderfully CRAPPY package from @Nimravis a couple of months ago. Now I need some educating. 1. The only recognizable inclusions in this coprolite are plant fragments, most of which appear to be woody debris. There is one relatively intact "leaf?" that may be recognizable to some of you experienced Mazon Creek folks. My educated guess is it is from a lycopod. Can anyone confirm this. From what I have read, the only herbivores large enough to have produced a mass of this size are Arthropleura, the giant millipede arthropods. How exciting is that!?! 2. This one looks like some sort of stem fragment. Would this be from a lycopod as well?
With it being a great sunny, 76 degree day, I figured that I would go outside and crack open some concretions from Pit 4. The concretions that I picked to open did not have the greatest shape to them and most were end pieces from what would have been larger concretions. I knew from the shape of these end pieces that they would contain some type of fern. This time around, I was at about an 80% success rate of cracking concretions that had a fossil. The one good thing with the concretions that were found at Pit 4, was that the majority of them contained fossils. I only see one keeper in this group, an Asterophyllies, it should clean up nice and I don't find them very often. Pecopteris Ferns Lycopod Leaves / Neuropteris Stems / Bark Asterophyllites
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.
Today I decided to crack open a number of concretions that I collected years ago from Pit 4. I usually do not crack concretions open, but I have so many, it is one of the ways that I can get through them. I found Neuropteris, Pecopteris, Annularia, stems and bark- nothing special and they are below average finds. If I opened these in the field, I would call them Leverites (Leave It Right There), but since I am at home I could not. The below pics are the fossils that I found- if anyone in the continental U.S. would like these for free, including free postage, PM me and I will send the out. The first person to PM me will receive them. Again, they are nothing special, but they are Mazon Creek fossils. Hopefully it will be of interest in someone new to fossil collecting.