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The Middle Eocene Allenby Formation.

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palaeopix

Great topic, and great fossils, Dan! Are you going to include the fish, insects, etc as well? Perhaps when you are done, if I have anything that you haven't already posted (not that that is likely) I could add them in?

Don

I will be including fish and insects as well!

It would be awesome if you showed us some of your Allenby material.

Dan

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palaeopix

Installment Four (part 4a): Flowers and Fruits.

There are several types of flowers preserved in the Allenby Formation, some more common than others. For the sake of simplicity, what we generally call flowers should be referred to as either simple or composite (technically an infloresecnce: http://en.wikipedia....i/Inflorescence). Composite flowers, or more correctly inflorescences, are made up of many flowers. Having said that, I will refer to simple flowers as flowers and composite flowers as inflorescences. I hope that wasn't unnecessarily confusing.

By far the most common flower found in the Allenby Formation is Florissantia quilchenensis. Specimens of Florissantia are very desirable (as are all fossil flowers) and finding one is always a rush! Here is a photo of a large specimen from the Princeton area.

post-2629-0-25302800-1295906583_thumb.jpg Florissantia quilchenensis. This specimen is considered large, measuring 45mm across.

Next is the much rarer flower Pistillipollianthus wilsoni. The photo below is the only confirmed specimen of Pistillipollianthus that resides in my collection.

post-2629-0-60953500-1295906842_thumb.jpg Pistillipollianthus wilsoni. This specimen is 14mm across.

As you can see by the photo Pistillipollianthus is identified by its six sepals.

Next I'd like to show some inflorescences and some infructescences. An infructescence is the fruiting body that is produced by an inflorescence.

The identification of the specimen in the first photo is uncertain. I've seen it referred to as a "plantaceous pistillate inflorescence" so that's what I'll call it here. Elsewhere on the forum I have referred to this specimen as Macginitiea, but that name is incorrect and should have been Macginicarpa! I no longer think this is Macginicarpa and favor the more general name "plantaceous pistillate inflorescence".

post-2629-0-82267400-1295908474_thumb.jpg "plantaceous pistillate inflorescence" The globular inflorescence is 13mm across.

I guess there is a chance that this is actually Macginicarpa sp., but I'll wait until I can confirm that!

The next photo shows two specimens (one complete and the other partial) of Macginicarpa sp., which are infructescences of Macginitiea.

post-2629-0-06130000-1295908495_thumb.jpg Macginicarpa sp. The complete specimen measures 20mm across.

Next is a spectacularly preserved little specimen I collected in 1999. The specimen is preserved on a piece of paper shale only one millimeter thick! Unfortunately, I dropped the specimen on the floor and broke it into many bits. Fortunately, the specimen resided on the three largest pieces which I have recombined in Photoshop (if you look closely enough you may see where the original breaks were)!

I do not know the identification of this particular specimen, but it has some interesting infructescences.

post-2629-0-55340500-1295909857_thumb.jpg This specimen is 45mm in length.

Note the dark spots in the surrounding matrix which resemble the spots found in the infructescences. These spots are found on many slabs of matrix from the Allenby Formation.

Next is a specimen of Alnus sp. The cones in this specimen are also considered infructescences.

post-2629-0-31711400-1295909972_thumb.jpg Alnus sp. The complete cone on the right side of the specimen is 10mm in length.

And finally, here are two photos of specimens that may or may not be parts of flowers.

post-2629-0-03243400-1295909914_thumb.jpg This specimen is 6mm in length. It may be part of a flower.

post-2629-0-78451200-1295909892_thumb.jpg This specimen is 9mm (the scale-like part). I think this may be an incomplete specimen of an inflorescence.

The second part of this installment will include some seed pods and seeds form the Allenby Formation.

Edited by palaeopix

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piranha

Delightful Dan, your fabulous fossils are matched only by your phenomenal photography! B)

And speaking of amazing alliterative allusions ... interesting infructescences is incomparable!

Ingenious! I Insist! :P

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palaeopix

Installment Four (part 4b): Seed pods and seeds.

In this installment I'd like to show some seed pods and seeds found in the Allenby Formation around Princeton.

At first glance the next two photos appear to be flowers, but in fact they are flower-like seed pods from Porana sp. Specimens of Porana are fairly common at certain sites.

post-2629-0-37157800-1295912040_thumb.jpgpost-2629-0-35956000-1295912050_thumb.jpg

The first specimen is 24mm across while the double specimen is 34mm across.

Next is a specimen of an Acer wehri samara.

post-2629-0-89585000-1295912300_thumb.jpg Acer wehri. This specimen is 22mm in length.

Next is a photo of a Dipteronia browni samara.

post-2629-0-70460100-1295912378_thumb.jpg Dipteronia browni. This specimen is 17mm across.

Next is a photo of a specimen of the very common seed from Palaeocarpinus stonebergae. This specimen is by far the largest I've found!

post-2629-0-49667500-1295912390_thumb.jpg Palaeocarpinus stonebergae. This specimen is 11mm across.

Next are two photos of what I believe are the fruits of Joffrea sp.

post-2629-0-59467300-1295912437_thumb.jpg Joffrea sp. The larger specimen is15mm in length.

Thanks to FossilDAWG (Don) for the ID.

And to finish off this section, here are two photos of more seeds from the Allenby Formation. I do not know the IDs of either specimen!

post-2629-0-71647300-1295912433_thumb.jpg This specimen is11mm in length. Note; The shadow above the seed is not the pedicle!

post-2629-0-49829200-1295912430_thumb.jpg This specimen is13mm in length.

Alright, I thought I'd be able to finish this off in two parts, but I have three more specimens to show so they will be in the next post!

Edited by palaeopix

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palaeopix

Installment Four (part 4c): Other plant structures.

OK, I promise this is the last installment about plants.

The following photographs are of specimens that show other plant structures, namely buds and spines. I do not know the identification of any of the specimens.

post-2629-0-90421200-1295913930_thumb.jpg This specimen is 40mm in length.

post-2629-0-28281300-1295913937_thumb.jpg This specimen is 45mm in length.

post-2629-0-31398600-1295913934_thumb.jpg This specimen is 42mm in length.

So that's it for plants.

The next installments will include insects and fish. Stay tuned because I don't know how many installments I'll need (maybe three or four)!!

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palaeopix

Installment Five (part one): Insects in the Orders Diptera and Hemiptera from the Allenby Formation.

Numerous types of insect fossils, both aquatic and terrestrial, are known from the Allenby Formation. This installment will showcase the most abundant insect fossils, both in terms of numbers collected and families represented.

By far the most common insect fossils found around Princeton belong to the Order Diptera (Flies). Two Families are represented in my collection; the Family Bibionidae (March Flies) and the Family Tipulidae (Crane Flies). The two photos below show specimens of members of the Family Bibionidae. These specimens are usually identified as Plecia sp.

post-2629-0-89314500-1295934073_thumb.jpgpost-2629-0-68329900-1295934107_thumb.jpg Plecia sp.

The first specimens in 15mm in length while the second specimen has a wing span of 22mm.

The next photo shows another specimen which may or may not be from the Family Bibionidae.

post-2629-0-38845100-1295934104_thumb.jpg This specimen is 11mm in length.

Next is a specimen from the Family Tipulidae.

post-2629-0-55899600-1295934061_thumb.jpg This specimen has a wing span of 20mm.

The insect orders with the most families are entirely different. Fossils of insects from the Orders Hemiptera (True Bugs) and Hymenoptera (Bees, Wasps and Ants) are represented by three families each, in my collection from the Allenby Formation. First, I would like to show some photos of various members of the Order Hemiptera.

The first photo below is of a specimen from the Family Cercopidae (Plant/Frog Hoppers or Spittle Bugs).

post-2629-0-37786900-1295935488_thumb.jpg This specimen measures 22mm in length.

Next is another specimen from the Family Cecopidae. The photo is not the greatest but it was the best I could come up with.

post-2629-0-69127600-1295935499_thumb.jpg This specimen is 5mm in length.

Next are two photos of specimens that belong to the Family Gerridae (Water Striders).

post-2629-0-80652400-1295935510_thumb.jpgpost-2629-0-41724400-1295935606_thumb.jpg Family Gerridae.

The first specimen measures 21mm (leg span) while the second specimen is 20mm (leg span).

And finally, the last photo, in this installment, shows a specimen that belongs to the Family Corixidae (Underwater Boatmen).

post-2629-0-21727400-1295935526_thumb.jpg This specimen is 9mm in length.

The next installment will cover members of the Orders Hymenoptera and Coleoptera as well as some gastropoda that occur in the Allenby Formation.

Edited by palaeopix

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Ludwigia

Keep them coming, Dan! This is a real treasure trove! Thanks!

Roger

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palaeopix

Installment Five (part two): Some Hymenoptera, Coleoptera and gastropods from the Allenby Formation.

As I mentioned in the last installment, my collection includes specimens from the Order Hymenoptera (Bees, Wasps and Ants), that belong to three different families (Sphecidae, Braconidae and Apidae). Furthermore, I have a specimen that may belong to a fourth family (Vespidae), but its identification is pending. It's rather difficult to ID fossil Hymenoptera, as one usually has to count wing cells, but I did not do that here. Instead I compared the fossil specimens to photos of living examples. Even if I was ambitious enough to look at wing cells, the method would have been no use in IDing the fourth questionable specimen as it lacks wings! I'm uncertain as to whether the specimen ever had wings (that were not preserved or perhaps lost somehow).

The first photo below is of a specimen that belongs to the Family Sphecidae (Mud Daubers).

post-2629-0-68580500-1295993560_thumb.jpg This specimen is 20mm across, but if stretched it out it would be 30mm in length.

Next is a photo of a specimen that belongs to the Family Braconidae (Parasitic Wasps).

post-2629-0-27100800-1295993794_thumb.jpg This specimen is 20mm in length. The body alone is 11mm.

Some may recognize this specimen as the IPFOTM for April 2010, which I identified as belonging to the Family Ichneumonidae. After looking at the specimen more carefully, I was incorrect in my original assessment and the specimen is instead a member of the Family Braconidae.

Next is a photo of a specimen that belongs to the Family Apidae (Bees).

post-2629-0-61600700-1295995290_thumb.jpg This specimen is 16mm in length.

Now I'd like to show a photo of a specimen which I think may be a member of the Family Vespidae (Paper Wasps).

post-2629-0-36404500-1295995491_thumb.jpg This specimen is 7mm in length.

I'm not certain whether this is actually a member of the Hymenoptera, let alone the Vespidae, but it certainly looks like it might be.

Now on to the Order Coleoptera (Beetles) of which I have two specimens. Beetle taxonomy is tedious at best and the material was insufficient for any lower hierarchical designation, at least at my pay grade!

post-2629-0-55685000-1295995695_thumb.jpg This specimen is 12mm in length and is missing its head!

post-2629-0-47549100-1295995737_thumb.jpg This specimen (ventral view) is 20mm in length.

I've included this specimen with the beetles, but it may turn out to be a cockroach (Order Blattaria formerly known as the Order Blattodea)!

Finally, I'd like to show two examples of freshwater gastropods found in the Allenby Formation. The only place I've ever found these gastropods is at a site called Vermillion Bluffs which is famous for its Red Ochre deposits and Silicified root casts.

I'll not go into terrestrial gastropod sytematics here, as they are rather confusing. I will however say that terrestrial gastropods were once placed in the informal group Pulmonata (Air Breathers), but that term is no longer favoured in the literature.

By far the most common gastropod found in the Allenby Formation is Stagnicola tulameenensis, which may be found, in the hundreds, covering blocks of chert. The first photo below is of a specimen of Stagnicola tulameenensis.

post-2629-0-32549000-1295997219_thumb.jpg Stagnicola tulameenensis. This specimen is 16mm in length.

And the final photo, in this installment, is of a specimen from the Family Planorbidae that looks very similar to Gyraulus sp. This is the only specimen I've found, to date, at Vermillion Bluffs.

post-2629-0-09117000-1295997214_thumb.jpg Gyraulus sp. The specimen is 9mm across.

So that completes the Insects and gastropds!

The final installment will cover fish from the Allenby Formation.

Edited by palaeopix

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palaeopix

Installment Six: Some Fish Fossils from the Allenby Formation.

Vertebrate fossils are not extremely common in the Allenby Formation, however specimens of fish are occasionally found. Unfortunately, most of the fish fossils are represented by fragmentary or incomplete material. I have seen some magnificent complete fish from the Coalmont Road site that belong to other local collectors, but as you will see most of the specimens in my collection consist of fragmentary material, though I do have one complete specimen!

There are some very large fish preserved in the Allenby Formation, but complete specimens are very rare. More often than not, all one finds are the isolated scales from these large fish. The following photos show examples of these scales. I'm not certain what these belong to, but they look similar to the scales from Amia sp., which is known to occur in the Allenby Formation.

post-2629-0-10098900-1296079975_thumb.jpg This specimen is 15mm in length.

post-2629-0-30063800-1296079955_thumb.jpg This specimen is 10mm in length.

By far the most common fossil fish remains found in the Allenby Formation around Princeton (BC) are those of Eohiodon rosei. The next photo shows an incomplete specimen.

post-2629-0-51680900-1296079964_thumb.jpg Eohiodon rosei. The specimen on the left measures 100mm in length.

The next photo shows the back third of an Eohiodon rosei, including the caudal fin and part of the dorsal fin.

post-2629-0-48252100-1296079960_thumb.jpg Eohiodon rosei. This specimen measures 45mm in length.

Next is a photo of a specimen of what I suspect is Eohiodon rosei, that was preserved after partially decomposing.

post-2629-0-70836500-1296079977_thumb.jpg The lower specimen is 90mm in length.

The upper specimen resides in pleecan's (Peter's) collection. Thanks go out to Peter for allowing me to include his specimen here.

Next are two photos of Libotonius blakeburnensis. The first specimen is courtesy of pleecan again while the second is part of my collection.

post-2629-0-89637800-1296079967_thumb.jpg Libotonius blakeburnensis. This specimen measures 50mm in length.

post-2629-0-33233600-1296079971_thumb.jpg Libotonius blakeburnensis. This specimen measures 57mm in length.

To my knowledge the remains of birds have not yet been found in the Allenby Formation, but I do not see why they shouldn't be preserved. The only other vertebrate material I am aware of are two teeth, from a tillodont mammal, that were found in a coal mine on the Similkamen River, near Princeton.

The last photo in this installment is of a bone of some sort, found at the Blakeburn Mine site, near Princeton (BC). I have no idea exactly what this bone is or what it came from, but here it is!

post-2629-0-99547300-1296079957_thumb.jpg This specimen is 50mm in length. Note that some of the bone is still present in the specimen.

So that is the last of the material on fossils from the Allenby Formation, found in the area surrounding Princeton, British Columbia. I will be sure to post anything new that I may uncover in the future.

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Ludwigia

Thanks very much Dan! This is a great source of reference.

Best wishes, Roger.

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palaeopix

You're welcome Roger!

This material is by no means complete, but shows the diversity and quality of fossils found in the Allenby Formation. I will keep my eyes open for anything new or interesting to supplement this material!

Dan

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pleecan

Dan : What a wonderful collection! The Allenby formation yields a very diverse biota.... very nice .

Dazzling photography.... hmm maybe start a guide book of the flora / fauna of Allenby......

PL

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piranha

Wonderful fossils and photography Dan!

Reads as a virtual tour of the Eocene ! :thumbsu:

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Scylla

Installment Four (part three): lobed leaves and Ginkgos.

Next is a nice, though incomplete, specimen of Sassafras sp.

post-2629-0-58831700-1295815882_thumb.jpg Sassafras sp. This specimen is 45mm in height.

There is another morphotype of Sassafras found in the Allenby Formation that has unlobed leaves, but I'm not certain whether they belong to the same species.

The next installment will be in two parts, as I have too many photos for one post, and will cover flowers, fruits and seeds.

I don't know about the fossil sassafras, but the extant ones have one, two , three or even up to five lobes on leaves from the same tree. Great post and great fossils, you CAN have a dollar for every metasequoia you find if you send them to me, I'll gladly pay a dollar for one of those :)

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Wrangellian

Spectacular specimens, Dan. Nice cross-section. It looks like decades worth of collecting. I was going to say you could put together a book but Peter beat me to it! (especially considering you know how to take pics of them)

I wonder if the leaf you refer to as Amelanchier sp. might actually be Alnus parvifolia ? (PaleoCollaborator: http://www.evolvingearth.org/paleocollaborator/details.php?morphotype_nbr=MB043&specimen_cat=H&specimen_nbr=UWBM%2097669 )

Your long narrow one looks like a couple of the examples on PaleoColl. as well but I can't decide which one it would be.

Also I have a snail that might be from your neck of the woods, I'll take pics and post it here for your opinion.

Eric

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palaeopix

Spectacular specimens, Dan. Nice cross-section. It looks like decades worth of collecting. I was going to say you could put together a book but Peter beat me to it! (especially considering you know how to take pics of them)

I wonder if the leaf you refer to as Amelanchier sp. might actually be Alnus parvifolia ? (PaleoCollaborator: http://www.evolvinge...br=UWBM%2097669 )

Your long narrow one looks like a couple of the examples on PaleoColl. as well but I can't decide which one it would be.

Also I have a snail that might be from your neck of the woods, I'll take pics and post it here for your opinion.

Eric

Hey Eric,

first, let me say thanks for pointing out the Alnus parvifolia on the PaleoCollaborator. I'm not sure how I missed that photo, but I did, and I will be changing my ID! Too many late nights at the computer are beginning to effect my eyes and concentration!

Please do post a photo of the snail!

Thanks again.

Dan

Edited by palaeopix

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FossilDAWG

I certainly can't duplicate many of Dan's amazing specimens (that mud dauber is spectacular!), but I'll try to supplement his collection with a few of my own. Most of my collection comes from only a couple of sites in the Princeton area. The larger leaves are from a site called One Mile Creek (aka Allison Creek), about 8 km North of Princeton. Dan told me the landowner no longer allows access to this site, but back in 1986/1987 I visited it a couple of times with a paleobotanist from the University of British Columbia. This outcrop represents a deeper region of the lake, where conditions were so undisturbed that layers called varves are obvious throughout the section. Varves form when there are annual changes in the rate of influx of sediment into the lake, so you get couplets of relatively coarse and fine sediment. For example, if a lake freezes over in winter, the sediment that gets deposited is the very fine material that tends to stay in the water column for a long time, whereas in the summer rain washing off the banks, inflowing streams, etc introduce coarser particulates that settle out quickly. In the case of Eocene Lake Allenby, the varves probably reflect strong wet and dry seasons, as the vegetation indicates conditions too warm for the lake to freeze over in winter. The plants and insects represent species that could be carried on the breeze far out over the lake, so larger leaves tend to predominate, and insects are rare (I don't have any good specimens) and represent strong fliers.

I also have quite a lot of material from the Hwy 3 outcrop at Whipsaw Creek. A wide variety of lithologies is represented here, but most seem to indicate an environment closer to shore. There are more small leaves, and lots of broken up plant debris that indicates a higher-energy environment where wave action or storms could break things up. Some rock is in very fine layers, often with the layers "wrinkled" as mud layers contorted when the lake bed slumped. When fish occur, they are often smaller species or specimens, typical of near-shore species. In contrast, fish from One Mile Creek tend to be large, typical of open water and deep water fish.

I'll start with specimens from One Mile Creek. Mostly I have chosen these because they represent different genera from what Dan showed, but some are in the mix just because I like them. There are some that I haven't ID'd yet, and suggestions or corrections are welcome.

First a nice Aesculus:

post-528-0-05634900-1296164585_thumb.jpg

Possibly the most common species at the site is Betula leopoldae:

post-528-0-81214400-1296164680_thumb.jpg

Rather similar to Betula are the alders (Alnus), but alder leaves tend to have an assymetric base:

post-528-0-10114200-1296164750_thumb.jpg post-528-0-75651200-1296164771_thumb.jpg post-528-0-34471600-1296164788_thumb.jpg

The Princeton/Republic flora is the earliest flora to have a diverse selection of plants from the Rosaceae. Here is a nice Spirea leaf from One Mile Creek:

post-528-0-12645900-1296164879_thumb.jpg

And a Prunus from One Mile Creek:

post-528-0-78187000-1296165070_thumb.jpg

And here is a Crategus from Whipsaw Creek:

post-528-0-78069700-1296164859_thumb.jpg

I believe this is a Beech (Fagus), but I'm not 100% sure. If you look at the side of the slab you can see the varves I mentioned above.

post-528-0-10546400-1296165131_thumb.jpg

And I'm pretty sure this is a Trochodendroides:

post-528-0-07564700-1296165150_thumb.jpg

More to come in the next post!

Don

Edited by FossilDAWG

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palaeopix

Great stuff Don,

don't hold back!

Dan

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FossilDAWG

Just a few more for now.

Leaves that have traditionally been identificed as Cercidiphyllum are common at many Princeton area sites, including One Mile Creek:

post-528-0-04846900-1296165440_thumb.jpg

Here is another leaf that might be Cercidiphyllum, but it is starting to approach Tetracentron in it's elongated shape:

post-528-0-29876300-1296165519_thumb.jpg

Recently paleobotanists have begun to question the Cercidiphyllum identification. A very similar genus, Joffrea, has essentially indistinguishable leaves. The two genera have distinct fruiting structures, though. In the Princeton and Republic (Washington, a little South of Princeton) floras, both Cercidiphyllum and Joffrea fruits are found, but Joffrea is much more common. Here is a Joffrea fruit from the Whipsaw Creek locality:

post-528-0-87701800-1296165729_thumb.jpg post-528-0-06350200-1296165742_thumb.jpg

Here is a nice slab with a Betula leopoldae on top, and an unknown below:

post-528-0-78553900-1296165784_thumb.jpg

And finally (for this post) here are two beautiful leaves I haven't ID'd yet, but they seem different from anything else Dan or I have posted:

post-528-0-30379300-1296165791_thumb.jpg post-528-0-80174500-1296165797_thumb.jpg

More later.

Don

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piranha

Thanks Don, those are exquisite! ;)

Really looking forward to more! :)

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Ludwigia

Thanks for your postings Don. Nice to see that you've jumped on the bandwagon. Very nice samples!

Best wishes, Roger

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palaeopix

Hey Don,

very nice stuff!

Now, I recall the conversation we had about Joffrea back in July. It's neat to finally see the specimens! I wonder if these might also be Joffrea fruits?

post-2629-0-18797400-1296167512_thumb.jpgpost-2629-0-38973700-1296167515_thumb.jpg

Dan

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palaeopix

Here's some more photos of Allenby gastropods. I believe all are Stagnicola tulameenensis and come from the Vermillion Bluffs site. The first two photos are of specimens preseved in tuff while the third is of specimens preserved in chert.

post-2629-0-16569900-1296167768_thumb.jpgpost-2629-0-38199600-1296167772_thumb.jpgpost-2629-0-53651600-1296167775_thumb.jpg

The third photo is covered with red ochre, which is common at Vermmillion Bluffs.

Dan

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Wrangellian

Don: As Scott said: exquisite! You guys should team up and produce a guidebook to the Princeton flora/fauna! (of course you need to know the names)

Dan: Those snails look a little different from mine.. I'll get a photo up shortly.

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FossilDAWG

Hey Don,

very nice stuff!

Now, I recall the conversation we had about Joffrea back in July. It's neat to finally see the specimens! I wonder if these might also be Joffrea fruits?

post-2629-0-18797400-1296167512_thumb.jpgpost-2629-0-38973700-1296167515_thumb.jpg

Dan

Certainly I think the ones in the right-hand photo are Joffrea. Not sure about the other, that one is a "possibly".

Don

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