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FossilNerd

When it comes to fossils, I am a generalist by nature. I haven't met a fossil that I didn't like! However, in an attempt to narrow my focus a bit, I have decided to take a cue from Adam ( @Tidgy's Dad ) and start this thread. I hope to showcase some of my collection, but more importantly have a central place to post IDed specimens, information I have found regarding them, and/or ask for help with IDs. Hopefully other's will get enjoyment from seeing the specimens and potentially learn a thing or two. So come along on my journey through the Carboniferous!

 

If you haven't had the pleasure of getting lost in the Cambrian, Ordovician, or Silurian with Adam, you are doing yourself a disservice! I highly recommend his below threads.

 

Adam's Ordovician

Adam's Silurian

Adam's Cambrian

 

 

Now, let's go!

 

Kentucky is known far and wide by fossil collectors for being within the Cincinnati Arch, and having wonderful Ordovician fossils, but what many fail to realize is that the Ordovician makes up a small percent of Kentucky's exposed strata. By far the most represented time period is the Carboniferous. With Central to Western Kentucky being mostly Mississippian in age, and Eastern Kentucky (and part of Western) being predominantly Pennsylvanian. There is a reason that coal is big business here!

 

 A simplified version of Kentucky's geological survey map, but it gives you a good idea of the distribution of what can be found.

 

Geologic-map-of-Kentucky-showing-sample-location-Adapted-from-Kentucky-Geological.png.4829f52e138d34f51c553d1fd0ecd7ab.png

Image borrowed from: Bryson, Lindsey & Gomez-Gutierrez, I.C. & Hopkins, T.C.. (2012). Development of a new durability index for compacted shale. Engineering Geology. s 139–140. 66–75. 10.1016/j.enggeo.2012.04.011. An adaptation of the KGS map found here https://www.uky.edu/KGS/geoky/index.htm

 

I'm lucky enough to be within an hours drive from most represented time periods. Excluding the Tertiary/Cretaceous and Quaternary, but I live in the Mississippian area and find myself hunting that time period more often than not.

 

The Mississippian here is mostly marine in nature with brachiopods, corals, bryozoans, and the like, being the norm. While the Pennsylvanian is a mixed bag of marine and terrestrial life. More information regarding the geology of Kentucky can be found at the Kentucky Geological Survey website here.

 

I would also recommend the open access papers below regarding the Carboniferous and it's invertebrate fauna.  I have not studied terrestrial and vertebrate life much yet, but will showcase those finds and related research material as they come.

 

Mississippian Fauna of Kentucky

Pennsylvanian Invertebrate Fauna of Kentucky

 

 

 

  The fossils will come next, and I plan to post a new one regularly (Daily? Weekly? Monthly?) as time permits. So sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy the adventure. Carboniferous here we come!:popcorn: 

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Tidgy's Dad

Excellent idea for a thread, Wayne. :D

Thank you, it's nice to be a source for inspiration and thanks for linking in my threads. ( though you missed out Adam's Cambrian! ;))

I look forward to seeing your Carboniferous collection posted here and will certainly be a regular reader. 

I might even get round to Adam's Carboniferous in about ten years time, so any ids here might help me develop that! 

:fistbump:

 

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Jeffrey P

Thanks Wayne for this. This should prove valuable identifying specimens of Carboniferous Kentucky fossils in my collection and learning more about them. 

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FossilNerd
1 hour ago, Tidgy's Dad said:

Excellent idea for a thread, Wayne. :D

Thank you, it's nice to be a source for inspiration and thanks for linking in my threads. ( though you missed out Adam's Cambrian! ;))

I look forward to seeing your Carboniferous collection posted here and will certainly be a regular reader. 

I might even get round to Adam's Carboniferous in about ten years time, so any ids here might help me develop that! 

:fistbump:

 

You are quite welcome Adam, and thanks for the inspiration! :D  

 

I must admit that I haven't been as avid a reader of your Cambrian thread as the other two, mainly because I don't have any Cambrian material yet. Which is the reason I forgot to include it. 

 

However, that doesn't make it any less of a great thread in it's own right, and worthy of a link. I edited my original post. :)  

 

After finishing up some chores around the house, I'm working on my first fossil post, but my daughter is now fighting nap time. Ugghh! Kids these days! lol  It may be later in the day before I can get it up. Sorry all for the delay. It's coming! 

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FossilNerd

Many people who study the Carboniferous can recognize the colonial rugose corals that are commonly referred to as Lithostrotion (Fleming) or Lithostrotionella (Yabe and Hayasaka). Unfortunately, Lithostrotion and Lithostrotionella became generic catch all names for many similar looking colonial rugose corals. Lithostrotion is still used, even after it was replace by Lithostrotionella. Because of an inadequate taxonomy description, brought on by a plethora of issues, Lithostrotionella has also been revised.

 

To get all the details on the revision of Lithostrotionella I recommend the open access paper: Sando, W.J. (1983). Revision of Lithostrotionella (Coelenterata, Rugosa) from the Carboniferous and Permian.

 

It is available free through the USGS. Here is a PDF Link

 

The coral found in the Mississippian of Kentucky that were commonly referred to as Lithostrotion or Lithostrotionella were reassigned to Acrocyathus. There are two species typical to the area. A. floriformis and A. proliferus. They are very similar. The most notable difference is  that A. proliferus is mainly found in a fasciculate form while A. floriformis is found in a cerioid form. Below is a decent diagram showing the difference between the two forms. The view is looking straight down at the top of the corallites. The previously mentioned paper regarding the revision of Lithostrotionella also has good descriptions of the species.

 

 5fefdf713bd26_Habits-and-morphological-characters-of-rugose-corals-referred-to-in-the-systematic(1).png.3119141c3db0417529d17b9fc7f0bb9c.png

 

Image taken from: Denayer, Julien & Webb, Gregory. (2015). Cionodendron and related lithostrotionid genera from the Mississippian of eastern Australia: systematics, stratigraphy and evolution. Alcheringa An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology. 39. 10.1080/03115518.2015.1001218. 

 

 

Below are my examples of the two species. Of course, as with most any coral, verification of ID can only be done by thin section and peels. Nevertheless, I believe my IDs to be accurate, but If someone knows better, please let me know! Both examples were found in the same exposure of the St. Louis Limestone of Larue County. 


 

IMG_0206.thumb.JPG.e46e553cffd8c4a8a20741cd6f387538.JPG

Acrocyathus floriformis

 

There are also two subspecies mentioned in the revision paper, A. floriformis floriformis  and A. floriformis hemisphaericus, but I haven't IDed this specimen down to subspecies.

 

 

IMG_0207.thumb.JPG.d5f217705d1809212f2ca7386bc92be5.JPG

 

A side view of an A. floriformis corallite. Showing the flat sides of the polygonal form.

 

IMG_0209.thumb.JPG.c97a02efecb3fffd55e950a0d9720784.JPG

 

Two examples of Acrocyathus proliferus. The back of the right example is smooth. I may try my hand at polishing it.

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Tidgy's Dad
1 hour ago, FossilNerd said:

Many people who study the Carboniferous can recognize the colonial rugose corals that are commonly referred to as Lithostrotion (Fleming) or Lithostrotionella (Yabe and Hayasaka). Unfortunately, Lithostrotion and Lithostrotionella became generic catch all names for many similar looking colonial rugose corals. Lithostrotion is still used, even after it was replace by Lithostrotionella. Because of an inadequate taxonomy description, brought on by a plethora of issues, Lithostrotionella has also been revised.

 

To get all the details on the revision of Lithostrotionella I recommend the open access paper: Sando, W.J. (1983). Revision of Lithostrotionella (Coelenterata, Rugosa) from the Carboniferous and Permian.

 

It is available free through the USGS. Here is a PDF Link

 

The coral found in the Mississippian of Kentucky that were commonly referred to as Lithostrotion or Lithostrotionella were reassigned to Acrocyathus. There are two species typical to the area. A. floriformis and A. proliferus. They are very similar. The most notable difference is  that A. proliferus is mainly found in a fasciculate form while A. floriformis is found in a cerioid form. Below is a decent diagram showing the difference between the two forms. The view is looking straight down at the top of the corallites. The previously mentioned paper regarding the revision of Lithostrotionella also has good descriptions of the species.

 

Image taken from: Denayer, Julien & Webb, Gregory. (2015). Cionodendron and related lithostrotionid genera from the Mississippian of eastern Australia: systematics, stratigraphy and evolution. Alcheringa An Australasian Journal of Palaeontology. 39. 10.1080/03115518.2015.1001218. 

 

 

Below are my examples of the two species. Of course, as with most any coral, verification of ID can only be done by thin section and peels. Never the less, I believe my IDs to be accurate, but If someone knows better, please let me know! Both examples were found in the same exposure of the St. Louis Limestone of Larue County.

Acrocyathus floriformis

 

There are also two subspecies mentioned in the revision paper, A. floriformis floriformis  and A. floriformis hemisphaericus, but I haven't IDed this specimen down to subspecies.

 

A side view of an A. floriformis corallite. Showing the flat sides of the polygonal form.

 

Two examples of Acrocyathus proliferus. The back of the left example is smooth. I may try my hand at polishing it.

Nice start, and yes, the whole Lithostrotion thing has been a nightmare. 

Tarquin might like to see this. @TqB

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FossilNerd
1 hour ago, Tidgy's Dad said:

Nice start, and yes, the whole Lithostrotion thing has been a nightmare. 

Tarquin might like to see this. @TqB

Agreed. The Lithostrotion thing is a mess! 
 

 

I wanted to add one more before I pop off for a few hours of sleep.

 

The below is a corallite that was also found in the St. Louis Limestone. Although from a  different exposure in Hardin County. The orange color is staining from the local “red clay” found there. 
 

Acrocyathus is found throughout the Mississippian, but it is very common in the local St. Louis Limestone and a relatively sure fire way for me to tell if I am in that formation. Don’t worry, I always double check the geological maps to verify. ;) 
 

I think that this is also Acrocyathus proliferus, but I’m not entirely sure. I have had others suggest A. floriformis, but most of these corallites are fairly round and not the polygonal form with its flat sides. These corallites are common at the exposure, but I have never found a whole coral colony. 
 

DF9BD179-690D-4576-89A8-B31A3B252318.thumb.jpeg.4e0691a041dfe890f6649d2e6edcf975.jpeg
 

1A51ECC2-D350-4FD9-A440-DE51A58C68A8.thumb.jpeg.c8363383267c7d764cc388d525cffcb6.jpeg

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11 hours ago, FossilNerd said:

After finishing up some chores around the house, I'm working on my first fossil post, but my daughter is now fighting nap time. Ugghh! Kids these days! lol  It may be later in the day before I can get it up. Sorry all for the delay. It's coming! 

Ah, yes.  Treasure these times.  Later in life you will look into your 50 yr old daughter's eyes, remember these times, and smile because you appreciated what you have now.

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Bobby Rico
5 hours ago, FossilNerd said:

The below is a corallite that was also found in the St. Louis Limestone. Although from a  different exposure in Hardin County. The orange color is staining from the local “red clay” found there. 

That’s a beautiful specimen and your photography is really good. 
 

looking forward to seeing more of this thread. Cheers Bobby 

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7 hours ago, Tidgy's Dad said:

Nice start, and yes, the whole Lithostrotion thing has been a nightmare. 

Tarquin might like to see this. @TqB

Thanks, Adam!

 

@FossilNerd Great thread and photos, thanks for sharing. :)

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FossilNerd

Thanks all for the kind words!

 

I think that I am really going to enjoy this thread. The cold months are a time of hibernation for me. Instead of hunting for fossils, I try to research, prep, organize, and ID my finds. Hopefully I'll be somewhat informative, and we can all learn a thing or two this winter. Thanks for looking everyone! Constructive criticism, comments, corrections, and adding to the general conversation will always be welcome. :)  

 

I hadn't really thought about a rhyme or reason for how to organize this thread, but I think that I will start with trying to do it by formation. Since my first few specimens were from the St. Louis Limestone, that is where we will stay for now. It won't be a long stay as the St. Louis is not very fossiliferous, with fossils only being found in pockets and not consistently throughout. The most common fossils found locally are the above mentioned Acrocyathus, but I have a few others that may be of interest. ;) 

 

More to come! 

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It's your story, Wayne. Tell it any way you want! We're just along for the fun ride. :) 

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Bob Saunders

It seems like many on the internet etc. just call horn corals " rugose corals". With no regard for the species. Is it more of a generic catch all name? 

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Just now, Bob Saunders said:

It seems like many on the internet etc. just call horn corals " rugose corals". With no regard for the species. Is it more of a generic catch all name? 

It is not dissimilar to other forms of conventional or generic naming to indicate a group that shares common characteristics (such as, in the instance of coral, rugose, colonial, tabulate, scleractinian). The challenge with identifying coral down to genus and species is that, in some cases, diagnostic details to differentiate between species of corals requires thin slicing and acetate peels. 

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Bob Saunders
11 minutes ago, Kane said:

It is not dissimilar to other forms of conventional or generic naming to indicate a group that shares common characteristics (such as, in the instance of coral, rugose, colonial, tabulate, scleractinian). The challenge with identifying coral down to genus and species is that, in some cases, diagnostic details to differentiate between species of corals requires thin slicing and acetate peels. 

Yes I do understand that. I understand the use of a micro-tone to get a wafer thin  piece for a slide. Not sure how they do it for a hard fossil. acetate peels, sound like transparent tape.

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FranzBernhard
13 hours ago, FossilNerd said:

I may try my hand at polishing it.

That could turn out nice! How does the back side look like at the moment?
Franz Bernhard

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Many years ago, in an exchange, I got this specimen.

I include it in this post to request confirmation of its identification. Acrocyathis floriformis Mississipian USA said its label.

If someone recognizes it and can expand or improve the information on the label, I would be grateful.

 

Acrocyathus floriformis Mississipiense.jpg

DSCN2112-1.jpg

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FossilNerd
6 hours ago, FranzBernhard said:

That could turn out nice! How does the back side look like at the moment?
Franz Bernhard

Thanks Franz. Here is what the back looks like right now. I was hoping it might look nice with a bit of polish work. Maybe?

 

87FBD374-B37F-4526-BE50-1A020DEFDC2F.thumb.jpeg.4ce3009c11c202bd260e8956e440874d.jpeg

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FossilNerd
5 hours ago, oyo said:

 

Many years ago, in an exchange, I got this specimen.

I include it in this post to request confirmation of its identification. Acrocyathis floriformis Mississipian USA said its label.

If someone recognizes it and can expand or improve the information on the label, I would be grateful

 

It looks like Acrocyathus floriformis to me, which would also make it Carboniferous(Mississippian) in age. So I think I can confirm those two pieces of information for you.
 

Without knowing the provenance (other than USA), it would be hard to give anything further regarding expanding on your labeling. In Kentucky, that species is only found in the St. Louis Limestone, but in other states it has been known to extend into adjacent formations, and it can be found in many other states besides Kentucky. 
 

For example, it is found in the formations of the St. Louis Limestone and the underlying Salem Limestone in the state of Missouri.


Nice specimen by the way. Much better preservation than my own. :) 

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FranzBernhard
6 hours ago, FossilNerd said:

Here is what the back looks like right now. I was hoping it might look nice with a bit of polish work. Maybe?

Thanks!

Indeed! This is really crying: "Grind and polish me!!". This is one of the specimen where you can already see the potential of it being polished. And it can not get worse, except: I would start with a few drops of thin superglue here and there in the most obvious cracks on the back side.

Franz Bernhard

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FossilNerd
9 hours ago, FranzBernhard said:

Thanks!

Indeed! This is really crying: "Grind and polish me!!". This is one of the specimen where you can already see the potential of it being polished. And it can not get worse, except: I would start with a few drops of thin superglue here and there in the most obvious cracks on the back side.

Franz Bernhard

Thanks Franz! I though that it looked to have potential as well. Thanks for the tip about superglue. :thumbsu:

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cngodles
19 hours ago, FossilNerd said:

I was hoping it might look nice with a bit of polish work. Maybe?

I've had great success with polishing 305 million year old corals. Really brings out the details.

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FossilNerd
Posted (edited)

OK. I lied... I have a couple of specimens that I planned to show off from the St. Louis Limestone, but I am having trouble with IDs and finding related papers to research. While I continue to run down that rabbit hole, I thought that I would get the thread moving again.

 

Let's move on to the Glen Dean Limestone for now since that has been my recent study focus.

 

The Glen Dean Limestone is a formation named for the excellent exposures found in the little community of Glen Dean located in Breckinridge County, Kentucky. It is from the Carboniferous (Mississippian), Chester Series, Middle Chester Group and overlies the Hardinsburg Sandstone. 

 

pokych05table01.gif

 

Above image taken from the online version of The Mississippian Fauna of Kentucky found here http://www.uky.edu/OtherOrgs/KPS/poky/pages/pokych05.htm

 

Geological description from the KGS interactive map.

GLEN DEAN LIMESTONE
USGS Unit Info: GEOLEX (id: GlenDean_1808)
Primary Lithology: Limestone and shale
Description: Limestone and shale: Limestone, light-gray, bluish-gray, and medium-dark to dark-gray, fine-grained to coarse-crystal line, thin- to very thick bedded; upper beds commonly argillaceous and weather to rubble and thin slabs; scraggly chart on some weathered surfaces; locally abundant bryozoans, crinoid stems, blastoid, horn corals, and brachiopods; diagnostic fossils Pterotocrinus acutus Wetherby and Prismopora serrulata Ulrich identified at several localities. Shale, greenish- to dark-gray, weathers gray; occurs as partings and beds of' variable thickness interbedded with thin beds of limestone in upper part.

 

In addition to the above mentioned diagnostic fossils, the Glen Dean Limestone has a characteristic abundance of Archimedes bryozoan. Archimedes laxus  is specifically more present in the Glen Dean than other formations. Multiple species of Pentremites blastoids are represented as well, although Pentremities spicatus is the most abundant and is characteristic. 

 

 

Now that you know a little bit about the Glen Dean Limestone, let's explore it's fossils! :) 

 

EDIT: I wanted to add that the Bangor Limestone is thought to be equivalent to the Glen Dean Limestone of Western Kentucky. George J. Grabowski, Jr. tells us as much in his chapter on the Mississippian strata of Kentucky in The USGS Professional Paper 1151-H. An online version of the publication can be found here  LINK     

 

Pertinent excerpt below:

 

The Bangor Limestone consists of dark-gray argillaceous and arenitic skeletal limestone. In the south it is as much as 180 ft thick, but generally is 20 to 50 ft thick; the equivalent unit in Rockcastle, Powell, and Rowan Counties, now called Poppin Rock Member of the Slade Formation, is 15 to 25 ft thick (Ettensohn and others, 1984, p. 17, 18). The Bangor Limestone may also be equivalent, at least in part, to the Glen Dean Limestone of western Kentucky (Rice, Sable, and others, 1979).

 

Edited by FossilNerd
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Tidgy's Dad
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FossilNerd
6 hours ago, Tidgy's Dad said:

:popcorn::popcorn:


Life got in the way a bit this morning for another post. I’ll have something more substantial a little later, but here is a teaser in the mean time. 
 

These are the wing plates of the crinoid Pterotocrinus acutus. They are diagnostic to the Glen Dean, and to my knowledge, only found in that formation.

 

It’s not fully understood what crinoid wing plates were for. Stabilization, protection, and assisting with feeding, etc., have all been suggested. Other species also have wing plates, but they vary in shape and size. While these resemble spines, other specie’s plates are flat resembling wings, hence the name.

 

I have found that some exposures are overflowing with these plates, while other exposures have few to none. So while it is diagnostic, other factors would need to be considered when trying to ID the formation.

 

*Note that Pterotocrinus acutus can be found in the Bangor Limestone of other states (I’ve seen online examples from Alabama), but that formation is thought to be the equivalent of the Glen Dean Limestone of Western Kentucky.


A9EFEC26-CE6D-4B18-B0B1-D56AE92ABE4F.thumb.jpeg.42512b2dfd1458a83e79beae9088d704.jpeg

 

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