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Bonehunter

I put this on the microfossil forum as well, but wanted to give a look-see to this intriguing fossil!

 

In my search for conodonts in Pennsylvanian stark shale (between Winterset and Bethany falls limestone) I routinely find concretions/nodules-most are powdery but sometimes i find teeth and other microfossils. Well much to my surprise, upon splitting my thousanth shale, I found a 1cm nodule, and within it, this apparent micro sea urchin-one of two in the nodule. From spine to spine (7:00-1:00) it measures just under 2mm in diameter

     I am refining my photog techniques with a newly purchased leica M420, phototubes, and a sony A660 camera, which produced this first photo of one of the conodonts. I am intrigued by these tiny urchins (if that is truly what they are! :) ). Thoughts, comments and any hope of specific i.d. on this or the conodont appreciated!!!!! (and how this wound up in the anoxic shall layer)-wasn't a surface find contaminant, but found upon splitting shale.....so ~300million years? thanks again all!...... Bone

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Possibly a sponge spicule? These are all Carboniferous from the UK.

They're various sizes but the rough scale is right - for example, the large one halfway down on the right is x20 on the plate and many are x10, so the diameters are of the order of 2mm.

 

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Bonehunter

YES!!!!!!! I think you are right-on!!- had I seen micro-sponge spicules before maybe I would have i.d., it. Still very cool!- would you say it is most likely dead sponge material floated/sank to the anoxic layer, then fossilized in the shale- there was enough organic debris/difference in composition to fossilize as the "nodule" in the shale? There are a couple of micro-gastropod shells that are as small if not smaller in this nodule as well.. Thanks so much!!.....Still working on getting better pics as well!!

 

Bone

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I'm glad you think it fits! It looks like there may be more spicular material in there, broken up and/or disarticulated. I look forward to more photos, it's interesting material. :)

Some sponges can survive in anoxic conditions as long as there's food about - usually filter feeding - so it's hard to say if it's washed in or not.

 

Are you sure they're micro-gastropods? At that size, they might also be forams.

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