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Matty from Reno

I found this small fossil recently.  The surface geology was young volcanic- andesite and basal flows pretty much exclusively.  This fossil seems to be from a previous geology that has worked its way to the surface.  Any help on id would be appreciated.  Small fossilized bone fragments were also found in the general area but I'm thinking this is from an invertebrate but I really don't know.  It's about 5mm x 5 mm in size.

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IsaacTheFossilMan

It's a vertebra. From a marine animal, most likely, yes. We would need information on the locality of this fossil, but, it doesn't seem dissimilar to an Ichthyosaur vert to me. :)

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Matty from Reno

It's only 5mm x 5mm in size, so a very small vertebra if that is the case.  The geology maps lists the area as "Basalt flows. Age- Pilocene-Holocene (5.333-0 Ma).  The specific area where it was found is about 10 miles west of the Smoke Creek Desert, Washoe County, Nevada, United States.

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IsaacTheFossilMan
Just now, Matty from Reno said:

It's only 5mm x 5mm in size, so a very small vertebra if that is the case.  The geology maps lists the area as "Basalt flows. Age- Pilocene-Holocene (5.333-0 Ma).  The specific area where it was found is about 10 miles east of the Smoke Creek Desert, Washoe County, Nevada, United States.

Definitely not icht then! It's definitely a vertebra though, the size suggests some small fish or something, then. I'm a Mesozoic man myself, so this is all I can help with, without studying more papers, apologies! I wouldn't be able to do that right now, either, as it is very late where I am. Sorry!

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Al Dente

It’s from a bony fish. I would guess modern.

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IsaacTheFossilMan
4 minutes ago, Al Dente said:

It’s from a bony fish. I would guess modern.

I agree. Burn test, burn test, burn test! :BigSmile:

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HuckMucus

Looks like the Drum Fish fossil verts I found in southwest Idaho.  There are photos on this site somewhere.

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Matty from Reno
20 minutes ago, Al Dente said:

It’s from a bony fish. I would guess modern.

 

Thank you for your reply.  It does appear to my eyes to be mineralized.  I must admit I'm not sure how long it generally takes for a bone to mineralize.  Here are a few pics at about 100 magnification.

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Fossildude19

Hold a flame to it. 

If it gives off a burnt hair smell, it is modern. 

No mark or smell, then it is a fossil. 

 

Fish vertebra are generally not diagnostic to species. 

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Matty from Reno
17 minutes ago, Fossildude19 said:

Hold a flame to it. 

If it gives off a burnt hair smell, it is modern. 

No mark or smell, fossil. 

 

Okay, I did the burn test.  I did notice a very slight smell and one spot did glow hot after I held the flame to it for a little bit.  It broke a little when I was holding it with some pliers over the flame.  I'm assuming based on this that it must me more modern and not fossilized.  Thank you for your help.  Here are a few pics after the burn test.

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HuckMucus

Here are my verts that look like yours.  Mine were found in southwest Idaho, amongst drum fish jaws and some other fish bones.  I have never tested them but always assumed they were fossils due to the place they were found (high desert, far from water, with some eroding out of a matrix that seemed old). 

 

 

Owyhee 10.jpg  Owyhee 11.jpg

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Matty from Reno
17 minutes ago, HuckMucus said:

Here are my verts that look like yours.  Mine were found in southwest Idaho, amongst drum fish jaws and some other fish bones.  I have never tested them but always assumed they were fossils due to the place they were found (high desert, far from water, with some eroding out of a matrix that seemed old). 

 

Owyhee 10.jpg Owyhee 11.jpg

Very cool!  They do look very similar and found in the same situation as mine.  High desert, not near any body of water etc.  There was some native american activity nearby (antelope trap) so it's possible the bone was from a native campsite.  It did seem to me to be an old bone, but  I guess not fully mineralized/fossilized.  There were also other mineralized bone pieces in the same general area.  Those ones I am positive are fossilized. 

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