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Monster mollusc fossil from New Zealand


Doctor Mud

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Hi all. I haven’t posted on here for a while. But thought I’d share this beautiful Mauithoe insignis gastropod I found and prepped recently in New Zealand.

 

It’s about mid Miocene age (12 million). There are only 2 sites in New Zealand where you can find this species. 
You usually find Mauithoe specimens around 4 cm in length, 7.5 cm is listed as the largest in the Bible on NZ fossil molluscs. Well this beast is bigger than that. 
 

As found

 

7E9F87FD-208F-49CE-8338-62BC4A83B633.thumb.jpeg.79ff3f6b08f5c6d07bd8773a2f32f751.jpeg

 

After prep:

 

B25A0A45-D2BD-4A17-A4B1-D51A61645675.thumb.jpeg.774627daf225dc0a733bca97ee70daa2.jpeg

Edited by Doctor Mud
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Well It turned out that this one had a story to tell as well. This mighty snail had been in the wars. Check out this deformity of the shell.


354F371C-4A6A-4F29-8623-56C5FEEC57FD.thumb.jpeg.557bf146025da26c3fb14ff39fe91662.jpeg

 

I think this snail has a run in with a crab and survived being crushed. This site has common Tumidocarcinus giganteus crab fossils. Some with monster claws the size of your hand! It looks like there was some remodeling (healing) of the crushed shell. 

 

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After surviving an attack from a giant of the deep, was something smaller it’s undoing?

 

5895D99E-BE70-44DC-B5B5-3F21F95165A9.thumb.jpeg.3528441b3bd655f707c56c9b07c31ca8.jpeg

 

94F5FC7A-995B-4AAA-9609-99638CBAAA0B.thumb.jpeg.cb382a228eb8ef720f21ef6823b49bd0.jpeg

 

This drill hole is on the second whorl up on the spire at the top. I think it’s from a predatory mollusc. This area would be a good place to attack these giants - from behind. Their shell slowly pierced unawares. :unsure:

The only predatory gastropod from the local fauna is quite small in comparison less than 15mm across. So would hitch a ride on the back I think.

This seems to be a strategy for whoever drilled this hole as I’ve gone back to my

other specimens and many have drill holes in this region of the shell. 

 

Thanks for looking!

 

:tiphat:

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10 minutes ago, Ludwigia said:

Lucky duck!!!!!

I was excited to find it! Turns out it had a few bonus surprises for me too. I love evidence of species interactions in the fossil record. 

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  Glad to see your still around.  Thats one cool gastropod!

 

RB

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Gorgeous. 

Lovely prep work too. :)

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  • 1 month later...

8510B648-862E-4C92-9F0E-2F851ABA0E5C.thumb.jpeg.cd08d3beb9d1da35ed9167de8fa70f90.jpeg
 

There’s a new king of the Mauithoe Gastropods! biggest by about 10mm.
Doesn’t look like much, but there’s a nice shell under that Siltstone. These shells are a bit of an obsession for me. I have to collect the big ones when I see them. 

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41D526E3-4DF8-4BA9-9DF5-92D0044CF9F1.thumb.jpeg.c27556611d532c20ca3f19352c10a344.jpeg
 

As found, peeking out the rock face. Lucky to get it as this area gets hammered by the ocean and covered in every high tide. 

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3 hours ago, Coco said:

Can’t wait to see it prepared ! :Jumping:

 

Coco

These are fun to prep. No air tools required. Just have to let it dry so the shell hardens a bit. 
 

I’ll post an update when I prep it. :thumbsu:

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  • 1 month later...

E1F66505-8212-43EE-A765-0C9372043DD1.thumb.jpeg.03ad153a5477927c12378127c2c6216b.jpeg

 

Having finished the Barnacle. Onto the new king of the Mauithoe Gastropods. 7.5cm was the previous biggest record in the book of NZ fossil molluscs. Then the one on the right showed up. Then my eyes popped out when I saw the living chamber of the new one peeking out from the silt. 
 

Amazing that they are the same species!

I wonder if it will have a predatory drill hole in the spire? 
 

I wonder what the upper size limit is??

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21 hours ago, Coco said:

Fantastic !

 

Coco

Thanks Coco,

 

I always love your enthusiasm! Such a positive presence on the Forum.

 

 

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