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May 2022 - Finds of the Month Entries

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REMINDER: PLEASE carefully read ALL of the rules below.

Make sure you include all the required information, IN THE REQUESTED FORMAT (below) when you submit your fossil! 

If you have a question about a possible entry, please send me a PM.

Please pay special attention to Rule #5: 

Before and After Preparation Photos must be submitted for prepped specimens NOT  found during the Month of the Contest.

In addition to keeping the contest fair, this new qualification will encourage better documentation of our spectacular past finds.

Entries will be taken until 11:59:00 PM EDT on MAY 31, 2022

Any fossil submitted after that time, even if the topic is still open, will be deemed ineligible! 


Only entries posted with CLEAR photos and that meet the other guidelines will be placed into the Poll. 

Photos of the winning specimens may be posted to TFF's Facebook page.


Please let us know if you have any questions, and thanks for sharing more of your fossils and research this month.


Shortly after the end of the Month, separate Polls will be created for the Vertebrate and Invertebrate/Plant Find of the Month.


In addition to the fun of a contest, we also want to learn more about the fossils. 

Tell us more about your fossil, and why you think it is worthy of the honor. 

To view the Winning Fossils from past contests visit the Find Of The Month Winner's Gallery.


Now, go find your fossil, do your research, and make an entry!
Best of success to all, and good hunting!



Rules for The Fossil Forum's Vertebrate and Invertebrate/Plant Find of the Month Contests

  1. Find a great Vertebrate Fossil or Invertebrate/Plant Fossil! Only fossils found personally by you are allowed. NO PURCHASED FOSSILS.
  2. Post your entry in the Find of the Month topic. Use a separate post for each entry. (Only two entries per member per contest category.)
  3. Your fossil must have been found during the Month of the Contest, or Significant Preparation * of your fossil must have been completed during the Month of the Contest.
  4. You must include the Date of Discovery (when found in the contest month); or the Date of Preparation Completion and Date of Discovery (if not found in the contest month).
  5. Before and After Preparation photos must be submitted for prepped specimens not found during the Month of the Contest. Please make sure you arrange for photos if someone else is preparing your fossil find and completes the prep requirements in the contest month.
  6. You must include the Common and/or Scientific Name.
  7. You must include the Geologic Age or Geologic Formation where the fossil was found.
  8. You must include the State, Province, or region where the fossil was found.
  9. You must include CLEAR, cropped, well-lit images (maximum 4 images). If you are proud enough of your fossil to submit it for FOTM, spend some time to take good photos to show off your fossil.
  10. Play fair and honest. No bought fossils. No false claims.


* Significant Preparation = Substantial work to reveal and/or repair important diagnostic features, resulting in a dramatic change in the look of the fossil. The qualification of Significant Preparation is decided at the discretion of staff. Any doubts as to the eligibility of the entry will be discussed directly with the entrant.


******* Please use the following format for the required information: *******

• Date of Discovery  (month, day, year) 

• Scientific and/or Common Name

• Geologic Age or Geologic Formation

• State, Province, or Region Found

• Photos of Find



(Please limit to 4 clear, cropped, and well-lit images.)

(If prepped, before and after photos are required, please.)

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  • 3 weeks later...

I'll kick us off this month with an upper cretaceous Cidarid. I took and composed these photos just with my phone, a fun process to play with. It and the other specimen found that day have since been specified further from just "cidaroid" and are at least in Cidaridae, with Cidaris or Prionocidaris as plausible candidates. More professional photos will be taken at some point in the near future, and perhaps then we'll come closer to a conclusion. 


• Date of Discovery: April 1st, 2022 (prepped May 2)

• Scientific and/or Common Name: unidentified cidarid

• Geologic Age or Geologic Formation: Dessau formation (Santonian age of the late Cretaceous)

• State, Province, or Region Found: Central Texas


In situ:





More detailed close up of the good sides:





Somewhat blurrier view of all sides:






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Jared, I saw that no one has posted yet. I was about to PM you to tell you to enter your great echinoid before it is too late. Thanks for posting; really nice photos and labels.

Edited by DPS Ammonite
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Indeed, those photographs are beautiful! What type of phone and software did you use? And we're the photographs taken against a black background already, or did you cut them out?

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10 minutes ago, pachy-pleuro-whatnot-odon said:

Indeed, those photographs are beautiful! What type of phone and software did you use? And we're the photographs taken against a black background already, or did you cut them out?

I used my iPhone X! The process was a bit like a" rube goldberg machine", so I'm sure there are more efficient ways to do it than what I did.


I folded a black T-shirt and laid the cidarid on top, then turned down the exposure on my phone camera before I took the picture. I also had bright lamplight directly on the echinoid. The resulting photo was underexposed by my camera deliberately, so that later, my efforts to black out the background would be easier. I did this with the other sides as well.


I then used a editing app I found for free on the app store (called "Polish"), and turned up the contrast and shadows to make the threading of the T-shirt too dark to be seen. This contrasted the echinoid well as well.


I then tinkered with the highlights and brightness a bit so the echinoid would stand out more. I then used one of the framing options in the app that puts two (or more) photos in the same frame. The only issue was the surplus of white "frame" background between the photos, so I took the resulting image and colored in the white background with the black pen on snapchat.


To add the text, I used one of the fonts one can use on Instagram stories. That's why the image of four angles is blurrier, because it had been subject to several screenshots to get there, whereas the first image was only subject to one screenshot.


I also noticed that this process doesn't work well for other fossils. The whiteness of the echinoid made this reasonable I think. When I tried applying the same process to my Hadrodus hewletti tooth tonight, it was an over saturated, over shadowed disaster.

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Still, I'd say from what I've seen in archaeological fieldwork projects and have been taught in classes, your process doesn't differ all that much even from how these things are done even in professional settings... Just keep on tinkering and I'd say your results are bound to get better (particularly in reference to non-white fossils) ;)


Thanks for sharing!

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Mark Kmiecik
13 hours ago, Jared C said:

I used my iPhone X! The process was a bit like a" rube goldberg machine", so I'm sure there are more efficient ways to do it than what I did.


Nice results. I shoot with an iPhone 7 using a camera app called "ProCamera" and then do the blackout and text using Paint 3D on my windows PC. The exposure, lighting and color adjustments are done using Microsoft Office Picture Manager, and finally the corner cropping and size adjustment is done with IrfanView64, although those two can be done with Paint 3D but the process is more tedious and time-consuming with Paint 3D. Final result looks like this: (I removed the photo when I realized what thread this is.) If you want to see the results see "Mark's Mazon Creek" in the membes' Gallery.


 So, if you use a smartphone you can get decent results, and once you're comfy with the routine you can process about three photos per hour.


Edited by Mark Kmiecik
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Thanks. Appreciate the exchange of knowledge in photographing fossils but let's take this to PM (or open a separate topic devoted to photography methods). ;)


Now let's see some more entries--half the month is over already. :)






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