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Found 10 results

  1. Hi all, Upon examining some of my finds from this hunt about a month ago, I realized that there was an anomaly on one of the Neuropteris ovata pinnules. Initially I brushed it off as nothing more than an anomaly, but last night while I was doing some reading I came upon an intriguing paper on insect galls from the Carboniferous. Some of the gall fossils included bore a striking resemblance to the gall on my frond, and so I figured I would make a post to see if any of you had an idea on what it could be. Here is the frond, in full view: Closer inspection of one of the pinnules reveals a small, oval-shaped bump: This bears a striking resemblance to some of the galls included in this paper (it is not paywalled). Specifically, it resembles #7 in the first figure. I hesitated to include the image directly in this topic so as to not violate any Forum rules (if it is not a violation I can include it here as a reply). https://www.researchgate.net/publication/250613622_The_Seeds_on_Padgettia_readi_are_Insect_Galls_Reassignment_of_the_Plant_to_Odontopteris_the_Gall_to_Ovofoligallites_N_Gen_and_the_Evolutionary_Implications_Thereof Although it superficially resembles a gall, I am looking for other opinions as I have no experience in this field. Here are my thoughts on why it could, or could not be a gall: It could possibly be a gall for multiple reasons. First off, the morphological similarity is quite striking. Secondly, the paper states that ", occurs commonly on a variety of seed-fern foliage throughout the late Middle Pennsylvanian to Early Permian". This is from a late Pennsylvanian deposit (Connellsville Sandstone of the Conemaugh group) so it fits quite nicely into that time frame. Also, epibionts are quite common in this deposit, specifically Microconchus. They are preserved in a relatively similar fashion (mold-cast). There are a few reasons why it could also not be a gall. First of all, I have never heard of galls coming from deposits in the Appalachian basin, though this may simply be due to my own ignorance and/or a lack of literature. Also, this anomaly is isolated, which is a derivation seen from many of the galls included in the above paper. Finally, random nodules and concretions do occur sporadically throughout this deposit, so it could always be mineral growth. And finally, my simple lack of knowledge prevents me from making a confident ID either way. So, what do you all think? I'd love to hear some of your opinions as to what it could be! And on the off chance that it is a gall, should this specimen be donated?
  2. Carboniferous Plant Hunt!

    With the semester having ended yesterday, I figured I would go hunting today at one of my favorite Carboniferous plant localities. It is located in Southwestern PA, and is in the Connellsville Sandstone member of the Casselman Formation, which is in turn part of the Conemaugh Group. It is late Stephanian in age. The Connellsville Sandstone itself represents a fluvial deposit made up of sediment from the then young Appalachian mountains. It is a very thick and massive layer; because of this it has been quarried for building stone for hundreds of years. The locality that I collect at is in a valley that was once heavily industrialized with a railroad, coal mines, oil wells, and sandstone quarries. These quarries were located in the Connellsville and their cliffs can still be seen today. The specific deposit I collect at in this valley most likely represents a slow moving area of the river, where deposition was rapid in times of high water. It preserves a classic post-Rainforest Collapse flora, with seed ferns, tree ferns, and Calamites being the most common fossils. Lepidodendron and other lycopods are rare to nonexistent. In the 1960s, W.C. Darrah, a paleobotanist, collected here and found one of the earliest examples of the conifer Walchia. Vertebrate remains can be found here, as shown in my most recent post. I assumed that today would be a mediocre trip, as rain was in the forecast and the ground is covered in leaves. However, the rain let up before I arrived at the site. Due to the lack of foliage, though, I was able to explore some areas that were once quarried for sandstone. I noticed an area made up of finer-grained sandstone, and thought that it might have fossils. Upon further inspection, though, it lacked fossils but was full of massive rip up clasts of soft shale. These showed that the river was eroding through a deposit of unconsolidated clay and then subsequently depositing these chunks down stream. I had never seen rip-up clasts in such large numbers and in such a large size, so it was great to get to see it. I then carried on to the plant locality. The plant locality was not at all covered in leaves, and due to the weather I had it all to myself. I concentrated my efforts on specific lenses of plant material that represented areas of quiet deposition, perfect for well preserved plants. I found some good stuff, as is shown below, but my favorite find was that of Cyclopteris fimbriata. It is a strange form genus of leaves that grew at the base of seed fern fronds. I had found Cyclopteris fossils before; however, this was the first time I had found one of the fimbriata species. The name says it all: their edges are marked by fimbriated projections of leaf tissue. It was certainly interesting to see some new material today. I also found my largest Neuropteris ovata frond thus far, and, although it wasn't perfect, it was a welcome discovery. All in all, it was a great hunt and it was nice to be out in nature!! Hope you guys all have a happy and safe Thanksgiving! View of the old quarry: The rip-up clasts: The plant locality itself, as I said before it is a shaly layer of the Connellsville Sandstone, most probably representing a backwater of a river: Pith cast of a Calamites: Annularia stellata whorls Cordaites sp. A new species for me and the strangest looking find, Cyclopteris fimbriata: My largest find, as well as my largest plant fossil to date: Either Neuropteris or Laeveinopteris:
  3. Pennsylvanian Plant ID Help

    These fossils were found in Westville, IL (Vermillion County) a long time ago by my great grandfather (the grey/black fossil; he worked in the coal mine), and my dad (the light brown/reddish one; on a slag heap). After reading this Publication Title: Guide to Pennsylvanian fossil plants of Illinois Publication Type: Geoscience Education Series Author: James R. Jennings Year: 1990 and looking at a number of photos for comparison, I am wondering if these are Alethopteris sertii? (other guesses are Neuropteris and Acitheca). At least that is my (un)educated guess after desperately trying to make sense of the Jennings paper. Also, on the first photo within the green box I noticed that the foliage has two different looks to it. Were the individual leaves (?) different or is this a result of the way the plant was fossilized? I appreciate all corrections and additional knowledge/comments on these two fossils. This forum identified a nautiloid I have, and I am so appreciative of the feedback and support you give!
  4. Late Pennsylvanian Seed Fern

    Hi all, Here’s an interesting plant find. I discovered it in a locality in Western PA known for producing good plant fossils. I’m thinking seed fern, maybe related to Alethopteris somehow but to be honest I’m not sure what the species is. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance Stratigraphy: Connelsville Sandstone of the Casselman Formation of the Conemaugh Group. Age-Late Pennsylvanian, ~305 MYA
  5. Wilson's Clay pit harpersville fm

    Wilson's Clay pit. Brown County Texas. Harpersville fm. Been told plant. Seed fern? Pteridospermophyta?
  6. Fossil seed ferns (Alethopteris sp.). 300 m.y.o. St. Clair, PA. 185mm. One of the coolest fossil hunting experiences I’ve had. The amount of detail preserved in these fossils is incredible—some appear as if the leaves had just fallen! Exploring this area was like being transported back in time. Looking at a fossil like the one pictured here, it is not difficult to imagine the ancient carboniferous swamp coming back to life. For me, fossils are all about stress relief; a sobering—yet comforting—reminder of how briefly we are here, and where our priorities should lie. When I feel overwhelmed, it is relieving to recall how petty our day-to-day struggles are in the grand scheme of things. Life goes on. -Zach
  7. Fossil seed ferns (Alethopteris sp.). 300 m.y.o. St. Clair, PA. 185mm. One of the coolest fossil hunting experiences I’ve had. The amount of detail preserved in these fossils is incredible—some appear as if the leaves had just fallen! Exploring this area was like being transported back in time. Looking at a fossil like the one pictured here, it is not difficult to imagine the ancient carboniferous swamp coming back to life. For me, fossils are all about stress relief; a sobering—yet comforting—reminder of how briefly we are here, and where our priorities should lie. When I feel overwhelmed, it is relieving to recall how petty our day-to-day struggles are in the grand scheme of things. Life goes on. In order to illustrate the detail of these ferns, I found it was critical to get the lighting right. I experimented with many different positions/intensities of flash in order to get the desired effect. If light is coming from directly above, it can easily "flatten" out the fine texture of the piece, and I discovered that angling the flashes to the sides of the piece worked much better. -Zach
  8. Fossil seed ferns (Alethopteris sp.). 300 m.y.o. St. Clair, PA. 185mm. One of the coolest fossil hunting experiences I’ve had. The amount of detail preserved in these fossils is incredible—some appear as if the leaves had just fallen! Exploring this area was like being transported back in time. Looking at a fossil like the one pictured here, it is not difficult to imagine the ancient carboniferous swamp coming back to life. For me, fossils are all about stress relief; a sobering—yet comforting—reminder of how briefly we are here, and where our priorities should lie. When I feel overwhelmed, it is relieving to recall how petty our day-to-day struggles are in the grand scheme of things. Life goes on. -Zach
  9. A bit of information I came across today in Paleobotany: The Biology and Evolution of Fossil Plants . Arthropleura may have been important for pollination of Medullosa (seed ferns such as Macroneuropteris and Allethopteris). It sounds like one of the lines of evidence is an arthropleura part from Mazon Creek. Interesting.....
  10. Hi Folks, Any thoughts on the attached...to me it looks a square of bark from a Medullosa noei (picture on Page 44 of The Mazon Creek Fossil Flora - Jack wittry). Any one have other thoughts - is this a square of seed fern bark?
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