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Jjw

Beach fossil from Massachusetts

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Jjw

Can anyone ID this fossil? My son found it on a beach in Massachusetts and he's very curious about it.
LINK

It's about 2 inches across.

 

IMG_20170905_212119.jpg

 

 

Thanks!

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ynot

Welcome to TFF!

This looks like a very worn ammonite.

Nice!

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fifbrindacier

Hi, Massachsetts is wide, could you be more precise please ?

It looks as it it was a very worn ammonite.

 

Hey, you copied me Tony.

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Macrophyseter

The material is clearly regular stone, so I doubt that the thing as a whole is that of a worn ammonite (If you get what I mean). But it could be an ammonite trace (you know the type of fossil where the biological material isn't there but like a footprint ish thingy)

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Rockwood

The combination of beach, Massachusetts, and ammonite seems problematic to me.

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Darktooth

When I first saw it, my first thought was that it reminded me of a whorl tooth shark. Not saying it is, just reminds me of one.

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Rockwood
13 minutes ago, Guguita said:

Worn coral???

Would be my leaning. 

Color coded maps are even more problematic for me though. My experience has been that glacial mesozoic was terrestial.

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Fossildude19

A few more pictures from different angles/sides might help to distinguish more features.

While the Mesozoic deposits in the general vicinity were largely lacustrine, shoreline, and braided stream/river deltas, (Triassic and Jurassic) to the south (NJ) the Cretaceous does have some marine

environments represented.  


I don't think we can completely rule out glacial and or ocean current migration of offshore marine deposits, as a possible origin of the fossil in question. 

It is a bit of a conundrum.  :headscratch:

 

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doushantuo

Don::dinothumb::dinothumb:

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Rockwood
2 hours ago, Fossildude19 said:

I don't think we can completely rule out glacial and or ocean current migration of offshore marine deposits.

Who knows what might be hidden in those island moraines ? 

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Kane

That was an incredible piece of deduction, Don! :fistbump:

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Pagurus

Geological and historical. Thanks, Don. 

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Jjw

That ballast thesis sounds very plausible. That's probably it. We're in Salem, MA. The beach is across the bridge in Beverly. This was a busy port for sailing ships for a few hundred years. So probably a lot of rock from overseas was unloaded here as ballast. Thanks everyone!

 

A couple more pictures from different angles:

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOHr-AnfvaW4EgcIXROa7fa9gLONJf9wv83haZ2h999A0_T1e5faUb6SykWOQYCwA?key=elhOc3ZwRC1xOWZSa0t1MzZQTmViZk9uS1lVa3dn

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FossilDAWG

Here are the photos.  We try to avoid using photo sharing sites as the links tend to die quickly, which renders the thread useless for educational purposes.

 

When I found (only last month) about about ships loading up with ballast in Europe and dumping it in US ports as they took on cargo I wondered if any fossils might show up in the mix.  I'm surprised that evidence that it could happen showed up so quickly.  I wonder if there are other examples of European fossils in ship ballast?

 

Don C

 

 

ammo 1.jpg

ammo 2.jpg

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Auspex

I find the idea of European fossils in jettisoned ship's ballast very interesting, and there is no reason to think that it couldn't have happened....

However, we are only supposing that this is the source of these particular fossils, without empirical evidence. It is, in fact, easy to disprove the null hypothesis in this case. Consequently the most we can say is that they might have gotten here that way. ;)

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FossilDAWG

Oh absolutely!  It's just an interesting possibility.  However I can't think of a local source of such a fossil, nor any source from which such a fossil could have been transported by glaciers.  Overall I think humans had to have something to do with it.

 

Don C

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Pagurus
1 hour ago, Auspex said:

... the most we can say is that they might have gotten here that way. ;)

 

Auspex always nudges us back on track. Thank you Chas.

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Rockwood
5 hours ago, Pagurus said:

 

Auspex always nudges us back on track. Thank you Chas.

Some of us never got off it.

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Plax

2 inches is not the size of most ballast stones. I suspect a paleozoic fossil of some sort glacially transported. This is a guess.

  Flint ballast stones up to the size of a human head and down to perhaps fist size are common around east coast ports presumably from colonial and early american commerce. I recall hearing about an echinoid in one but have seen hundreds, (collectors filled the bed of several pickups in Camden NJ during sewer treatment plant construction) and none with a good fossil inclusion. The folks at the Archeological Society explained that the Camden occurrence was a case of ships unloading lighter manufactured goods in Philly and needing to lighten the ballast to take on heavier goods for the return trip. The flints were scattered in long strings on the bottom of the Delaware River. They were exposed when a coffer dam was constructed and the river pumped out.

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Jjw

It's only a hypothesis, no doubt. But a LOT of ships sailed out of Salem to Europe between 1650 and 1900 or so.

 

I thought of the fact that a 2" rock wouldn't have been something to pick up and toss into a ship as ballast. You would want something larger. But could it have been part of a larger rock? It doesn't seem worn in an even way. It could have been part of a longer rock that broke into pieces at some point.   

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Darko

A Beauty! Looks like a worn ammonite! Very nice!

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Rockwood

Ammonites are well known in folklore. You don't suppose there could be a connection to sailing ships that goes through a sailor's belongings rather than the ships ballast ? 

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