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Found 22 results

  1. I frequently come across golfball-sized concretions in the marine sandstones of the Late Campanian Bearpaw formation exposed at Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan. Nearly all have small coalified fossils inside, ranging from fish bones to decapod fragments, wood chips, and all other manner of organic detritus. These remains are often difficult to identify (certainly beyond my ability, anyway), typically because they are either too crushed to be recognizable, or have been split on a bad plane. The following photos shows one of these nodules collected last weekend, that caught my eye with its regularity. As you can see, there is a small row of mostly uniform nodules inside, with thin sandstone rinds discontinuous to the matrix, and filled with a black, coal-like mineral, the same which tends to replace other organic remains found in similar nodules. Any ideas? For reference, here are some other fossils found in similar nodules from a similar layer of the formation, including fish vertebrae and a decapod claw:
  2. I have heard that it's not uncommon to find examples of the ammonite placenticeras meeki with evidence of supposed mosasaur predation marks. A certain example of mine has since stood out as a possible contender. This example comes from deposits of the late Campanian Bearpaw Formation, a unit that is already well known for its good preservation of late Cretaceous molluscs, including placenticeras meeki with the supposed predation marks. I know that there are competing theories about the origin of these marks, including abrasion by limpets or other gastropods, so I'm curious about whether any of you are in agreement that this conspicuous pattern is evidence that this particular placenticeras was chomped by a mosasaur. A note about the specimen - I somewhat foolishly decided that a fine grain sandpaper was the solution for getting rid of the stubborn bits of sandstone matrix and pyrite that clung to the nacre, so most of the surface, including the rims of the matrix filling the puncture holes, is slightly polished. Also unfortunate is the fact that this ammonite, on account of most of the internal chambers being completely hollow, smashed into hundreds of little pieces once the concretion containing it was split. Fitting these fragments back together is essentially impossible, and I'm regretful that the specimen was ruined slightly by not being extracted carefully enough, but thankfully there's still a significant amount of it that's still intact. If anything, it seems to be telling that the only part of the fossil that isn't hollow (and therefore more durable) is where the puncture holes are, given that these holes would have allowed water and sediment to enter the chambers they had breached. The chambers which did not fill with matrix, on the other hand, could not handle the stress of the concretion being split, and shattered. Anyway, the first photo here shows the first two holes. These are on the left side of the ammonite. Note that the nacre around the punctures is cracked, where otherwise it is smooth and unblemished. The right side, showing the third puncture hole. It is difficult to tell in the photo, but this hole is depressed slightly into the ammonite. The bit near the end of the tape measure could also be a hole, but it's difficult to tell with so much pyrite encrusting it. Finally, a front-facing view. I've added arrows to approximate the location of the holes on either side. Note the preservation of the nacre of the septum, and how much of it is still covered by pyrite. Note that the other end of the fossil has no obvious septa, leading me to believe that this fragment is from near the body chamber. So, thoughts? I know that the origin of this type of trace fossil is still somewhat contested in paleontology, and I'm really curious about what the forum's consensus will be.
  3. Last summer, on the last day of a long weekend of backcountry fossil hunting around Lake Diefenbaker, Saskatchewan, my friend and I decided to stop our canoe at a beach where on a previous morning I had found a large baculites cuneatus specimen. This beach was an outcropping of a unit of the Bearpaw formation known as the Demaine sand, and dated roughly to the late Campanian. The locality was chock full of golfball to softball-sized nodules, each with a delicate, coalified fossil inside, ranging from crustacean parts, chips of driftwood, to loose vertebrae. It wasn't long before I was looking down at a split nodule containing the symmetrical lines I knew were a skull. So of course, I assembled it together as best as I could, wrapped it in a sock, and we loaded back into the boat to head home. Some typical terrain in the area. The formerly glacial South Saskatchewan River carves deep into the marine clays and sands of the Bearpaw formation: The nodule, rather unceremoniously wrapped in a wool sock: And unwrapped. Note the cervical vertebra just above the posterior end of the skull, and how part of the end of the snout is missing (sorry about the lack of scale bar, there's a photo further down the post with proper scale): I sent a photo to a paleontologist friend, and was quickly referred to the Royal Saskatchewan Museum, who of course were eager to accept the fossil (not to mention that I was technically legally obliged to hand it over, per the Saskatchewan Heritage Property Act... But it's what I wanted to do anyway!). About a month later, my friend and I met with two other paleontologists down at Lake Diefenbaker to deliver the fossil (this time more carefully wrapped in a shoebox...) and to show them the site where we had found it. One long and wet trip in the zodiac raft later, we were there. We assisted in the collection of more samples, this time coming up with an even broader variety of flora and fauna, including a small crinoid, some wood chips with amber, and some more decapods. One of the two paleontologists was excited to suggest that the locality probably represented a near-shore lagoon environment, and that the museum would likely be back to do some more work there at a later date. Unfortunately, we were unable to do so that summer because of the seasonally rising water levels of the lake, which flooded the site, but I've been told that my friend and I will be invited to assist with the operation again this following season. As for the fossil, it has since been delivered to McGill University to be CT scanned. Apparently, distinguishing the bone from the matrix has been long and tedious work, and not much news has reached us since the specimen was delivered some time last September. Here is an individual slice from the CT scan, from near the back of the braincase - notice how porous the bone material is, which is apparently another indicator that this skull belonged to a juvenile: I have been in close correspondence with the paleontologist from the Royal Sask. Museum who will be writing the paper to describe the find, but everything is more or less at a standstill until the work on the CT scan is finished. It's been a rather long wait, but I'm looking forward to its publication - I have been told that the museum intends to hold a press conference after the specimen has been described, and that my friend and I will be credited and involved in the reveal. So far, the museum has kept everything about the discovery deliberately vague, aside from a brief mention in a press conference, which informed an article that circulated around the Canadian media late last summer: https://nationalpost.com/news/canada/scientists-in-saskatchewan-discover-new-multimillion-year-old-fossils It's been an exciting and fulfilling experience overall, and I can't wait to get back into the field, this time with a more meticulous and careful attitude, knowing that there's scientific potential to be had from my future contributions. Anyway, here are some more photos from the lab at the RSM, with scale bar: Decapod claw: Crinoid crown: Thanks for your attention.
  4. I appreciate all the feed back on my handful of Sulfur River finds and im enjoying being on here and being able to share my love for fossils with y'all. Here is a very special find for me I found it the day after being in a major car accident that I was very lucky to be able to walk away from with only bruises. The Flight museum I use to work for was not to far away from a secret creek that I use to hunt during lunch break, It had earlier formation's of the Western Interior Seaway, Austin Chalk, Kamp Branch etc. I've found several good Ginsu shark teeth aswell as Ptychodus Whip, and other good sharks teeth along with some fish verts and a snout from a baby Mosasaur. So the day after the accident I decided to take my mind off the ordeal by hitting the creek during lunch and feeling blessed I was alive and able to walk so just as im heading out of the creek after finding some teeth I stumbled upon fish scales sticking out of the gravel and picked up this Pycnodont and is a pretty good specimen. So It is a very sentimental piece giving what I was going through when I found it.
  5. Western Interior Sea way finds

    Ive been hunting the Sulfur River for 10 years and here is a small handful of the Sulfur River finds of mine including the partial Toxochelid I found sticking out of the shale and the 35 pieces of shell and a couple pieces of bone I recovered.
  6. Mancos Shale Ammonite: Help Wanted!

    I've been looking for an ID for this big boy. So far I've found this site (http://www.ammonoid.com/Prionocyclus.htm) but I'm not sure what I'm looking for to differentiate between them. Could anybody more knowledgeable help me out?
  7. Coniacian Glyptoxoceras?

    Is anyone aware of any Glyptoxoceras sp. in the Coniacian? @doushantuo, I know that you are good at digging up information like this. Can you find anything?
  8. I have been finding a lot of inclusions in a batch of coprolites from the Smoky Hill Chalk that assumed were bits of cartilage. One of the newer specimens from that batch had a piece of the material in question on the surface; enabling me to view it from the side. They look like little teeth, so now I don't know what I have. I have one other specimen that has a couple of the little tooth-like structures intact (one that I posted a while back that has possible Ptychodus tooth fragments). Is this skin with denticles, cartilage, a skull part or some sort of tooth plate? As always, any help is greatly appreciated.
  9. Possible Goblin Shark?

    It's been a good week for fossiling in New Mexico...found this one in a dry wash in west-central NM. The nearest upstream units were (from nearest to far) kmf-Menefee, kpl-Point Lookout Sandstone and the Satan tongue of the Mancos shale (kms). I've always thought of the Western Interior Seaway as fairly shallow and the shark a deep variety, but the lit says the extant cousin patrols 100m to 1,300m and the WIS was as deep as 750, so there's habitat, I would think. Thoughts? Thanks!
  10. Scientists Are Putting Tens of Thousands of Sea Fossils Online The Western Interior Seaway is gone, but not forgotten Erin Blakemore, Smithsonian Magazine, June 22, 2017 http://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/scientists-are-putting-tens-thousands-sea-fossils-online-180963792/ Award Abstract #1645520 Digitization TCN: Collaborative Research: The Cretaceous World: Digitizing Fossils to Reconstruct Evolving Ecosystems in the Western Interior Seaway, National Science Foundation https://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1645520&HistoricalAwards=false Yours, Paul H.
  11. From rocks in Colorado, evidence of a 'chaotic solar system' University of Wisconsin-Madison, February 22, 2017 http://news.wisc.edu/from-rocks-in-colorado-evidence-of-a-chaotic-solar-system/ https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170222131512.htm http://www.astrobio.net/also-in-news/rocks-colorado-evidence-chaotic-solar-system/ The paper is: Ma, C., S. R. Meyers, and B. B. Sageman. Theory of chaotic orbital variations confirmed by Cretaceous geological evidence. Nature, 2017; 542 (7642): 468-470 DOI: 10.1038/nature21402 http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v542/n7642/full/nature21402.html Related paper: Sageman, B. B., J. Rich, M. A. Arthur, G. E. Birchfield, and W. E. Dean, 1997, Evidence for Milankovitch Periodicities in Cenomanian-Turonian Lithologic and Geochemical Cycles, Western Interior U.S.A. Journal of Sedimentary Research, Section B: Stratigraphy and Global Studies Vol. 67 (1997) No. 2. (March), Pages 286-302 http://www.earth.northwestern.edu/research/sageman/PDF/97.Sageman.etal.pdf Yours, Paul H.
  12. A news article regarding a newly discovered ceratopsian tooth from Mississippi is available at the following link: http://www.wdam.com/story/32562654/paleontologists-make-big-dinosaur-discovery-in-mississippi The ceratopsian tooth from Mississippi is the second discovery of a Late Cretaceous horned dinosaur from Appalachia. We can't be sure if we didn't put enough effort into finding ceratopsian fossils in marine sediments in the former landmass of Appalachia, or if the ceratopsian discoveries in North Carolina and Mississippi could be reflective of ceratopsian carcasses floating out to sea after they died. Nevertheless, the ceratopsian tooth from Mississippi indicates that some North American horned dinosaurs immigrated to Appalachia from the western interior during the middle Cretaceous.
  13. The Rio Puerco Valley

    The Rio Puerco Valley was my introduction to fossils...it immediately caught my attention...lit a match...became a place I am always eager to revisit...search...learn about... ...and in roaming it, have learned about myself. Many of my adventures in the Puerco are posted here, here...here and here...and here. From here on out, my excursions will be shared here. May you find happiness in your hunting. -P.
  14. While doing a search at Paleobiology Database, I was curious to see if I might find records of marine vertebrates from the Cenomanian-Santonian of the Utah, Montana, Idaho, and Arizona because most tetrapods found in the Cenomanian-Santonian of Nebraska, Kansas, and the Dakotas are primarily mosasaurs, plesiosaurs, pterosaurs, marine turtles, and seagoing birds (e.g. Ichthyornis, Hesperornis) and terrestrial vertebrates have been found in the Western Interior dating from the Cenomanian-Santonian interval (e.g. Oryctodromeus, Eolambia, Sonorasaurus, Albanerpeton cifellii, Nothronychus graffmani, various species of mammals like Ameribataar, and terrestrial lizards). Given the paleogeography of North America during the Cenomanian, would it reasonable to assume that Cenomanian terrestrial tetrapods retreated farther west into areas of Utah, Arizona, Idaho, and Montana that were not covered by the Western Interior Seaway to escape rising sea levels?
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