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pefty

Help request! I am putting together a tool for judging rock age based on very crude, whole-rock, hand-sample observations of fossil faunas/floras -- the types of observations a child or beginner could successfully make. I view this as a complement to the very fine, species-level identifications commonly employed as index fossils for individual stages, biozones, etc. Attached is what I've got so far, but I can clearly use help with corals, mollusks, plants, vertebrates, ichnofossils, and the post-Paleozoic :D

 

In the attached file, vibrant orange indicates times in earth history to commonly observe the item of interest; paler orange indicates times in earth history to less commonly observe the item of interest. White indicates very little to no practical probability of observing the item of interest. Please keep in mind that the listed indicators are things like “conspicuous horn corals,” purposefully declining to address rare encounters with groups of low preservation potential, low recognizability, etc.

 

Got additions/amendments, especially for the groups mentioned above? Toss them in the comments below! Thank you.....

 

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1tVm_u6v573V4NACrdebb_1OsBEAz60dS1m4pCTckgyA

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Mark Kmiecik
5 hours ago, pefty said:

In the attached file, vibrant orange indicates times in earth history to commonly observe the item of interest; paler orange indicates times in earth history to less commonly observe the item of interest. White indicates very little to no practical probability of observing the item of interest. Please keep in mind that the listed indicators are things like “conspicuous horn corals,” purposefully declining to address rare encounters with groups of low preservation potential, low recognizability, etc.

I would include this sentence or a similar statement in the chart, and lose the word "conspicuous" from all the items as it draws attention away from the item at hand.

 

I like what you're doing, and even though more detailed charts much like yours are already available, I think this chart is still way beyond the beginner/novice stage. I think you would need to simplify it dramatically to achieve something more easily understood. I'm finding it somewhat complicated, though I've been up this "tree" a few times. I would find it useful as a field reference, but I think there may be more there than a child can digest (other than extremely gifted and totally focused children). 

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pefty

Ah, yes, this chart is not the interface for the tool; it’s just the database that runs the tool. The tool just asks the user what fossils the user had observed and with what level of confidence. The tool runs those inputs against the database and provides a best guess. 

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Mark Kmiecik
17 hours ago, pefty said:

Ah, yes, this chart is not the interface for the tool; it’s just the database that runs the tool. The tool just asks the user what fossils the user had observed and with what level of confidence. The tool runs those inputs against the database and provides a best guess. 

Aha -- now I understand.

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Peto Lithos

I like this idea very much, however I have often found that beginners have a lot of trouble generalizing the appearance of fossils. Not only does it take time to learn what each of these fossils looks like, but in different environments their appearances change as well. Perhaps including a geologic map in the program itself which can be cross-referenced with other inputs could help?

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pefty

Peto, I'm 100% with you on the beginner's-eye problem! A very robust identification guide will be need to be part of the tool, and a geologic map may be as well, we'll see.

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