Jump to content

Help identify Wisconsin fossil


Recommended Posts

Tommy boy

I found this interesting piece the other day and am looking for help determining what it is. 

To me it looks like a frog in the mouth of a snake. I appreciate any and all input on this. 

Thank you 

Screenshot_20220625-152940.png

IMG_20220625_164405.jpg

IMG_20220625_161641.jpg

IMG_20220625_164833.jpg

IMG_20220625_164418.jpg

Screenshot_20220625-153046.png

IMG_20220625_171031.jpg

Screenshot_20220625-152845.png

IMG_20220625_171109.jpg

IMG_20220625_171002.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
val horn

It is a neat rock  and an interesting  sculpture but it is not a fossil.  

  • I Agree 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
IsaacTheFossilMan
2 minutes ago, val horn said:

It is a neat rock  and an interesting  sculpture but it is not a fossil.  


Agreed, snakes and frogs (and any other soft-bodied organism) do not tend to fossilise so well.

  • I Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Online geologic maps like this one can be of great use in determining the age of the rocks at the surface in various locations around your state.

 

https://wgnhs.wisc.edu/catalog/publication/000390/resource/m078paper

 

When you know the age of the surface rocks (you'll have to zoom in on your area and be able to look up the colored region in the age map on the left. This will then let you know the age of the rocks and knowing that you can get an idea of what types of fossils might be found there. The oldest common ancestor of living snakes dates to around 100 million years ago. Knowing this you can be quite certain of not finding snake fossils if the rocks in your are date from before this time period.

 

I agree with the others that any resemblance to snakes or frogs is the result of the phenomenon of pareidolia.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

 

  • I found this Informative 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
IsaacTheFossilMan
3 minutes ago, digit said:

Online geologic maps like this one can be of great use in determining the age of the rocks at the surface in various locations around your state.

 

https://wgnhs.wisc.edu/catalog/publication/000390/resource/m078paper

 

When you know the age of the surface rocks (you'll have to zoom in on your area and be able to look up the colored region in the age map on the left. This will then let you know the age of the rocks and knowing that you can get an idea of what types of fossils might be found there. The oldest common ancestor of living snakes dates to around 100 million years ago. Knowing this you can be quite certain of not finding snake fossils if the rocks in your are date from before this time period.

 

I agree with the others that any resemblance to snakes or frogs is the result of the phenomenon of pareidolia.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareidolia

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

 

 

 

Indeed, Relative Dating is one of the most powerful tools we, without equipment, can carry out. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tommy boy

Sorry, I forgot to mention that I found this item in a rock bed right outside of my apartment building. I live in River Falls WI and I would guess that most of the rocks came from a quarry of river rock. 

I will also add that I did take this piece to a local rock expert who confirmed that the detail side, or the side that I think is a frog, is in fact bone and not rock.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Bone texture can sometimes be very apparent and sometimes rather subtle and is best analyzed in hand rather than from photos. We can assume that your local rock expert is correct (and in some of the brighter photos there does appear to be evidence of the spongy cancellous bone found under the smoother outer cortext later) but I'm not recognizing this as any type of bone I'm familiar with. The third photo in the group really makes this look much more like a geologic formation devoid of any biological origin.

 

This one may remain a mystery. If this (or parts of this) do indeed contain bone but bone that is too eroded to determine the specific element or species then it may get no more specific an ID than "fossilized bone". Still not entirely convinced that this might not be purely geologic in origin. Once thing is certain though and that is any "frog" or "snake" tendencies can be chalked up to a complex shape with lots of features and the phenomenon of pareidolia. ;)

 

Might be interesting to look for more examples similar to this. That might be helpful in determining its true nature.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

  • I found this Informative 1
  • I Agree 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

If it is indeed bone that is quite interesting. But still not likely snake or frog. Those bones wouldn’t have a spongy texture that large.

 

 

  • I found this Informative 2
  • I Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
minnbuckeye

River Falls is an area I am familiar with. If fossils exist, they would likely be 480 million years old or likely older. Youngest rock formation is Ordovician Prairie Du Chien. This eliminates bone or frog or snake. Early primitive life was just beginning. No animals with bone existed. Look for Cambrian trilobites instead!!!  Out of curiosity and the possibility I may know him/ her, who was the local rock expert??  

 

 

  • I found this Informative 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Tommy boy

I'm working on cleaning this item up more, but it's a slow process as I don't want to ruin anything that might be there. 

The cleaner it becomes, the more convinced I am that it is a fossil. The detail is just too convincing. I'm not convinced that it is a frog, but it's some kind of animal.

I've added some updated pics and will add more as I clean it more.

Anybody's thoughts on these new pics of welcome.

 

Screenshot_20220626-173607.png  Screenshot_20220626-173753.png

\

Screenshot_20220626-194341.png  Screenshot_20220626-173905.png

 

Screenshot_20220626-194728.png  Screenshot_20220626-194608.png

 

Screenshot_20220626-195138.png  Screenshot_20220626-194914.png

 

Screenshot_20220626-194901.png  Screenshot_20220626-194319.png

 

Screenshot_20220626-173426.png 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The yellow central part definitely looks geologic and not biologic. In the close-up images I'm not seeing anything that I recognize as bone texture. As @minnbuckeye mentioned the age of the formation that this likely came from would have massively predated bony land animals. We've been able to see this from a variety of angles and I'm pretty sure we are dealing with a geologic item with some interesting eroded textures but nothing to indicate anything of a fossil nature.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

  • I Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
minnbuckeye

IF it is a fossil, which I highly doubt, I would be thinking it is something on the line of a stromatolite, based on the age of rock in your area.  

 

Mike

  • I Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark Kmiecik

Definitely not any animal. There weren't any in existence on land at that time, and those that lived in the sea bore no resemblance to your specimen. It's a pretty cool rock, but nothing more than that.

  • I Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Tommy boy

I posted earlier pics of the piece in question and I realize that pics just don't do the item justice. I would, however, like to get feedback on these latest pics, which are the same item, just cleaned up a bit more. Maybe someone has a different opinion of this item now? As always, I welcome all feedback.

Thank you

 

 20220628_201929-0.thumb.jpg.08a9f6402a4680b44192048f995e1b4f.jpg  20220628_201623-0.jpg

 

20220628_201607-0.jpg  20220628_201504-0.jpg

 

20220628_201537-0.jpg  20220628_201558-0.jpg

 

20220628_201547-0.jpg  20220628_201756-0.jpg

 

20220628_201524-0.jpg  20220628_201656-0.jpg

 

20220628_201645-0.jpg  20220628_201838-0.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
Mark Kmiecik

Appears to be a differentially eroded rock.

  • I Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Fossildude19

Topics merged.  Update added to original topic.  ;)

 

One topic is enough for this item.

  • Thank You 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
Brandy Cole

The additional pictures still indicate some type of rock to me.  It reminds me a little of ironstone.

  • I found this Informative 1
  • I Agree 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

@Tommy boy what are you using to "clean" it?  Do you have better images of the darker sides?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Good photos of specimens are often a challenge. I think the ones you've taken are good enough that we can pretty well see the texture on most sides. The darker material is the only stuff that looks even remotely like fossil bone in texture and color. I agree with John above that more photos of that side might be useful. At this point I'm still seeing a wonderfully textured geologic item and not evidence of fossils at all. Awaiting more photos of the dark rough textured side. It seems you are taking these photos with a smart phone resulting in the tall narrow images. It would be a good idea to position the item in the same orientation so more of it fills the frame instead of the foam rubber backing.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

Link to post
Share on other sites
Tommy boy

Thank you for the tips.

I will post some more pics of the dark side and a few updated pics of the other side. It seems that the more I clean it, the more detail starts to show through.

When adding additional pics, should I use the same stream that I originally posted?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes.  Add photos to replies below.  

 

How are you cleaning it?  Acid? Dremel? Toothbrush?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • JohnJ changed the title to Help identify Wisconsin fossil
Tommy boy

If you look closely you can see what looks like a bone broke off. Also, the main focal point for me has been what looks like a joint with leg and foot coming down from that joint. If that's not what that is, can you give me an idea of what that is? I first thought it looked like a frog in a snakes mouth, but now it looks more like a bird of some sort and unsure about what I thought was a snake head. It sure looks like something has it's mouth open to eat dinner.

Link to post
Share on other sites

In places where you have iron rich rocks, groundwater helps create remarkable formations.  I think your rock is an example of iron concretions that form in your local geologic formations.  Although you can imagine it looks like a snake, frog, or bird, it truly is not.  

 

This type of rock can be notoriously porous due to how it was formed.  This also causes the harder and softer areas in your piece.  Some areas can be more silicified and others more silty. 

 

Read more about your local geology here.

 

 

Also from the University of Wisconsin - Madison:

Quote

PIERCE COUNTY: Limonite occurs as beds, nodules and concretions with variable intermixtures of clay, sand and chert fragments on top of the Shakopee dolostone at several spots near Spring Valley. These were locally and briefly mined in the early 1900’s at the Gilman Deposit, west of Spring Valley (SW sec. 1 T.27N. R.16W.) and at the Cady Deposit (SW NE SW sec. 14 T.27N. R.15W.) (Allen, 1909, Van Hise and Leith, 1911, Rosenberg, 1991).

 

  • I found this Informative 2
  • I Agree 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Tommy boy

I realize that all you have to go on is the pics that I have posted and pics just don't do it justice. Normally I would just let this go at this point having all of your expert opinions and advice, but I just can't let this go yet. When I found this item, fossil hunting was not even on my mind. I was simply looking for interesting rocks, and as a matter of fact, I was gonna toss this one before I even got started, but for some reason I started cleaning it up a bit and with every cleaning the detail just keeps getting better. I agree that rocks can make some very wild and interesting formations, but I'm not convinced that a formation could form such a detailed subject with hard and soft dirt in the exact positions that it would form what I'm looking at. I'm gonna post a few more pics and then I think I'm gonna have to find a local expert to look at this thing in person.

I do appreciate everyone's input though. 

I've made little notes on this next set of pics.

 

Polish_20220630_161138080.png   Polish_20220630_160926371.png

 

Polish_20220630_161459216.png   Polish_20220630_155631200.png

 

 

Polish_20220630_160024794.png  Polish_20220630_160612670.png

 

Polish_20220630_160315745.png

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...