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Telitha

Idaho Lake Bed Fossil

19 posts in this topic

Greetings! I am hoping that someone will be able to help me identify this fossil. A gal at my work brought this in to me today. Her home is built on what used to be an old lake bed and while building her husband came across it. They have been unsure whether it is plant or animal.

fossil004.jpg

fossil002.jpg

fossil005.jpg

My two cents is that it seems to be plant like. With the conical shape, layers and what appears to be or have been cells. On the back shot it almost looks like their are some small snail like shells embedded, but I'm not positive.

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It's a solitary coral. Off the top I'd say rugose so Paleozoic (280 million years or older)...but those small turitella-like gastropods (snails) in the last photo are more indicative of more recent periods...but also possible Paleozoic. That round circle object at the bottom of the first photo is the key. If you could get an angle showing that circle dead on I could tell you if it is a rugose (Paleozoic) or a scleratinian (less than 280 million)). Those little lines radiating out (the septa) are distinct and diagnostic. They won't tell you the species or genus but can get it to a broader grouping.

Do you have the location? county?

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Here is a closer view of that circular section on the side. Sorry I couldn't manage to get any better detail.

fossil2001.jpg

As for the county well we are near Boise. I'm not sure if she qualifies as nearer to Caldwell or Meridian. I believe it is all Canyon County. I'm not a native to Idaho so exacts are hard for me. It's so dry in this region now it's hard for me to even picture larger lakes or coral!

Edit: it dawned on me you might have meant -this- circle. It's mostly full of what used to be mud or sand sadly.

fossil3.jpg

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my vote is for rugose solitary horn coral. we get very similar assosiations here in the utah

Mississipian gardison limestone.

brock

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I did some research last night and it resembles every image and description I found of rugose Horn Coral from the Paleozoic. Spot on ID from ya'll! Thank you so much for the help, I can't wait to get to work and tell my co-worker what she has :D

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Telitha,

thanks for the uddate. Hmmm? It's a solitary coral. Sometimes called a 'horn coral'. Hard to tell if rugose or scleractinian. Probably the former. The geology in the counties you mentioned is a hodgepodege. Both Paleozoic and post-paleozoic ages. . The 'exterior' jagedness of your specimen is result of preservation and erosion.

Here's some photos of a solitary corals from my collection...there are hundreds of fossil species of corals and there is quite a variation. The 'circle' in your photo is the top of another specimen.

post-69-1195150623_thumb.jpgpost-69-1195150646_thumb.jpgpost-69-1195150679_thumb.jpgpost-69-1195150713_thumb.jpgpost-69-1195150799_thumb.jpgpost-69-1195150818_thumb.jpg

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Geo,

i believe that the second to last photo is not a coral, but rather a bivalve or brachiopod (i don't know much about them) the reason i was gave for this is that there are no septa present and there is also a hinge for the oposing valve to articulate. if you have any more information about them i would love to know. i need to identify mine in my cabinet.

Brock

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Ebrocklds,

Geofossil is correct. the second to last photo is a coral. The Genus is Calceola, It is a Rugose coral ranging from the Silurian to the Pennsylvanian.

After finding my specimen of Calceola I have got to go to the library and look this genus up in the Treatis.

JKFoam

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Gosh, you're good! It's Calceola sandalina. Middle Devonian. I collected them in Germany.....and yes, theyy are also in the eifelian deposits of Morocco.

ebrocklds, I understand why you would question the phylum. There aren't any visible septa in the photo. Interesting you mention other phyla because I agree that we can get thrown for a loop by some odd convergent evolution. My main interest is brachiopods and there is one that looks a bit like the Calceola rugose coral.

I've collected amany items over the years that have had me draw a 'blank' even knowing where to begin looking and then found myself going down the wrong track. then again, if it wasn't a challenge, it wouldn't be as much fun. My fossil books, especially the Treatise volumes and the equivalent Russian volumes are sometimes bedtime reading...flipping and flipping looking for some hint.

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thanks for the identification. i did not know that corals could have opurcula. i will now be able to correctly identify the specimens in my collection.

i bought some as horn corals and then was later told by a friend that they were not coral. so i didn't know what to think.

thanks again!!!

brock

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Telitha,

thanks for the uddate. Hmmm? It's a solitary coral. Sometimes called a 'horn coral'. Hard to tell if rugose or scleractinian. Probably the former. The geology in the counties you mentioned is a hodgepodege. Both Paleozoic and post-paleozoic ages. . The 'exterior' jagedness of your specimen is result of preservation and erosion.

Here's some photos of a solitary corals from my collection...there are hundreds of fossil species of corals and there is quite a variation. The 'circle' in your photo is the top of another specimen.

post-69-1195150623_thumb.jpgpost-69-1195150646_thumb.jpgpost-69-1195150679_thumb.jpgpost-69-1195150713_thumb.jpgpost-69-1195150799_thumb.jpgpost-69-1195150818_thumb.jpg

Geo:

The 5 valves in the lower left picture of your photo group are pedicle valves of productid brachiopods from the Late Permian of Timor. I do not have either the generic or specific information on these brachiopods. I have 8 of these in my collection. These are not rugose corals.

Regards,

Mike

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Geo:

The 5 valves in the lower left picture of your photo group are pedicle valves of productid brachiopods from the Late Permian of Timor. I do not have either the generic or specific information on these brachiopods. I have 8 of these in my collection. These are not rugose corals.

Regards,

Mike

here we go again. :lol: if anyone can give a link to a definative answer on these puzzling fossils i would love to see it. what is it, a coral or a brachiopod????? i don't know

brock

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Brock,

Please refer to the link, http://www.korallen.de/Geschichte/body_calceola.htm.

It answers all my questions about "Calceola sadalina" and I hope it will answer yours.

This is really a famous fossil. How many fossils can trace their taxonomy back to Linnaeus and Lamarck. And, not only is it famous it has been the source of a lot of argument for the last two centuries. Some people insist it is a coral, others say it is a brachiopod, and others insist it is a Mollusca (Clam/Rudistid). Usually these arguments involve Genus/Family/Order, but to involve the Phylum is really strange.

I may have to elevate my specimens of Calceola sandalina to a higher place of honor in my display cabinets. First I'm going to the library to check out again what the Treatise says about Calceola.

JKFoam

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jk

thank you so much for the great link. it not only clears it up but gives a very detailed history of the fossil and its nomenclature. i had no idea that it was so complicated. so the final answer is coral. (at least for now :D )

brock

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Geo:

The 5 valves in the lower left picture of your photo group are pedicle valves of productid brachiopods from the Late Permian of Timor. I do not have either the generic or specific information on these brachiopods. I have 8 of these in my collection. These are not rugose corals.

Regards,

Mike

No, you are wrong.

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Brock:

Geo is correct and I was in error in my ID last night, so I stand corrcted!! I went into my collection and pulled out my Permian richthofenid brachiopods from Timor and my specimens of Calceola from Moravia (Middle Devonian). The specimens that you provided in the pictures are definitely Calceola and resemble closely Calceola sandalina (Linnaeus, 1771), which is Middle Devonian and is found in Germany (Calceola beds), Poland, Belgium, France, Moravia and Morocco.

Geo was also correct in that the taxonomic placement of Calceola has varied. It was originally assigned to Mollusca as an aberrant rudistid pelecypod related to Hippurites sp. It has also been associated with the brachiopods. It is interesting that Calceola is the oldest valid Paleozoic coral genus, being named in 1799 by Lamarck. The presence of septa and somtimes tabulae definitely links Calceola with the rugose corals.

I did a paper in the 1970's on convergent evolution for an invertebrate paleontology class and used specimens of Calceola sp., Goniophyllum sp., the Permian richthofenid brachiopods, rudistid pelecypods from Texas and pteropods to demonstrate the convergence. I drew on my memory (obviously rusty) of this paper when I erroneously stated that the specimens were brachiopods. The brachiopods are very similar in appearance, but do not either septa or tabulae.

Are the strata where the specimens were found Silurian or Devonian? All of the described U.S. species (C. proetus, C. attenuata and C. tennesseensis) are reported as being Niagaran (Silurian) age while C. sandalina is reported as being Middle Devonian. Those specimens may represent one of the American species.

Mike

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mike,

if it wouldn't be too much workj could you post pics of the convergent species. it sounds very interesting and i would love to see what your research was ll about.

brock

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