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Possibly Coral-like Invertebrate? ID Request


CasualTriopsEnthusiast

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CasualTriopsEnthusiast

Hi everyone! I have attached some photos of my first ever fossils! I've been finding fossils of this same species in this one riverbank for years, and have always wanted to know what they are. I did some research- looked through sites detailing some of the more common fossils, and image searches of coral fossils since the texture seemed kinda reminiscent- but nothing seemed to me to look anything like it. I tried to guess with the coral thing, but honestly I can't even place these as animal or plant with any confidence. So now I've come to this awesome site! Thank you all for putting your time into helping people like me out with this, I really appreciate it. I'd love to here any ideas you have! 

 

Here's what I do know:

When- on the geological map, this area was right on the border between Cretaceous and the indistinguishable riot of eras in the Rocky Mountains that was usually labeled simply Undifferentiated Mesozoic. 

 

Where- In a bank of river rocks on the shore of the Clearwater River, in the eastern foothills of the Canadian Rocky Mountains in Alberta, northwest of Sundre.

 

Some Observations- some are circular, some are like a long slug shape, and some are somewhere in between like an elongated circle. The textures/patterns are all similar between them, and I suspect they may be related? The idea occurred to me that the circular ones may simply be slug-shapes seen in cross-section. 

Whatever they are, there are sure a lot of them- I find a few types of fossil out there, but these are by far the most numerous. I have a single large rock that must have several dozen of various sixes and shapes.

Other fossils found there appear in the exact same type of rock, with dark grey background and white fossils. Some of these fossils have vaguely resembled limpets and chitons or other similar-looking creatures, with distinctly grooved shells like a mollusk, possibly supporting the idea that this might be from an aquatic habitat. 

There is a distinct directionality in the slug-shaped ones- the texture on the 'head' is more even and regularly rounded, while the 'tail' texture is more spiky and elongated.

Most have fewer/fainter holey texturing toward the middle of the 'body', but some have holes through the whole thing.

The largest is a bit over 3 cm long.

 

Let me know if you need anything else from me! I can provide more pictures, if you feel that would be helpful. I'm very excited to here back from you! Thanks in advance, and have a nice day. 

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Edited by CasualTriopsEnthusiast
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Jazfossilator

My guess is bryozoan, could be wrong though wait for other opinions. Oh and welcome to TFF!:)

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Coral is right (much larger pores than bryozoans) - it looks like a tabulate such as Thamnopora. That would have to be a glacial erratic as it's Palaeozoic, likely Devonian.

 

The different shapes are just different sections through cylindrical branches of a broken up colony.

 

Welcome to the forum! And thanks for posting such good photos and information. :)

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FranzBernhard

Agree with TqB! First though was, heck, they look like some Thamnopora or Striatopora from the Devonian of Graz, Styria, Austria!

Attached image is Thamnopora reticulata from Weiße Wand, Hohe Ranach, Graz, Styria, Austria (Devonian - Eifelium). Not suggesting that your specimens are totaly the same, just for comparison.

See also:

https://franzbernhard.lima-city.de/Fossilfundstellen_Internet_PlabutschFormation_Allgemein.pdf

 

Are there any other fossils on the river banks?

 

Franz Bernhard

Punkt1_ThamnoporaReticulata_21052018.jpg

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CasualTriopsEnthusiast

Wow! That is amazing. I can't believe how quickly you guys figured that out!

 

Thank you for the welcome, Jazzfossilator, and for the help!

6 hours ago, TqB said:

Coral is right (much larger pores than bryozoans) - it looks like a tabulate such as Thamnopora. That would have to be a glacial erratic as it's Palaeozoic, likely Devonian.

 

The different shapes are just different sections through cylindrical branches of a broken up colony.

 

Welcome to the forum! And thanks for posting such good photos and information. :)

Thank you!! And thanks for welcoming me. And you don't have to go all that far upstream in that river to get to Paleozoic fossils, so they could have very easy been washed downstream, too. 

5 hours ago, FranzBernhard said:

Agree with TqB! First though was, heck, they look like some Thamnopora or Striatopora from the Devonian of Graz, Styria, Austria!

Attached image is Thamnopora reticulata from Weiße Wand, Hohe Ranach, Graz, Styria, Austria (Devonian - Eifelium). Not suggesting that your specimens are totaly the same, just for comparison.

See also:

https://franzbernhard.lima-city.de/Fossilfundstellen_Internet_PlabutschFormation_Allgemein.pdf

 

Are there any other fossils on the river banks?

 

That picture is amazing! They look so similar, the detailing, same type of rock and everything. Thank you so much for taking the time to figure this out! I can't even fathom it, that the rock in my hand is older than the dinosaurs. Yes, there are other fossils! I haven't tried to get them identified, mostly because they are less distinct or I no longer have them. There were some small, short, wormlike tangled masses that I am now considering might also be a coral. Some small, very regularly sized circles, some filled in and some hollow outlines of circles, but I did not keep any of these. I also found a fossil once there that looked like a tiny flat limpet, but my brother, not knowing I intended to keep it, threw it in the river. :shakehead: There was also a shelled mollusk of some kind, about 4 cm long, which I still have, but it's difficult to get clear pictures as it's bent weirdly around the top of a rock and a little indistinct. The wormy things and the shell I can show pictures of if you like?

Edited by CasualTriopsEnthusiast
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Post any fossils (or possible fossils) you'd like to know more about and we'll try to help. :) 

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FranzBernhard

Yes, please post your fossils! The wormlike tangled masses sound like some Stachyodes, but, please, lets see them! The circles sound like fragments of crinoid steems and the shell could be a brachiopod. Are they all in the same type of rock?

Franz Bernhard

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CasualTriopsEnthusiast

Well, the pictures are a challenge, but I'll give it a try. 

 Some location as previous. Couldn't really get a ruler in the pictures, but the shell itself is 4 cm lengthways and 2.5 in width, while the rock is 6.5 cm in length. This is all one fossil, exact same type of rock as the tabulate corals. I'm sure you can see what I mean about indistinct.

 

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CasualTriopsEnthusiast

Aaand some more one! Similar colour rock for the first, but less rounded. I believe I found this one up high on the bank, rather than in the water, which would explain that. The other is the same rock as the coral. At least these were easy to take pictures of! 

 

Well, thanks again for the help! I look forward to hearing from you.

 

P.S. I looked up crinoid stems cross section fossils, and I'm pretty sure that's what the circles are! I found another hollow circle one, but couldn't get a decent picture. Also, the tiny limpety thing strongly resembles some button corals like Hadrophyllum. I'm looking at every speck on these rocks now, wondering if all these little details are actually fossils. It's so cool!

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doushantuo

Nice finds,Triops!Doing great!

For those who'd like to know(from Plusquellec's "a revision of North American Hadropyllids"(freely transl./Geodiversitas,2006):

 

eudgesllifernakristlanthc.jpg

and a recon:

 

eudgesllifernakristlanthc.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FranzBernhard

Thanks for posting your fossils and your effort!

Yes, the shell-like piece is indistinct, at least for me. Could be fragments of rugose corals with some calcite veining in between, but thats just a guess. But  a piece of a brachiopod shell can not be excluded.

The worm-like mass is very nice, but a little bit worn. The diameter of the rods is about 2 mm, and maybe there are some openings? Could be a also a tabulate coral. Or it could be a sponge-like think like Stachyodes or Amphipora. I´m not sure.

@Mod: Are there specialists for this fauna from this area on the forum?
Franz Bernnhard

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CasualTriopsEnthusiast

Thanks again for the replies! Unfortunately, like you said, those fossils don't really lend themselves well to identification. 

 

Doushantuo, yes, the small fossil I found in this area had a pattern alot like those pictures, although it's difficult to be sure from memory. I wish I still had it! It also looked somewhat like a cross section of some rugose corals which have a similar pattern. Thanks, and I hope I can go find more soon!

On May 27, 2018 at 11:14 PM, FranzBernhard said:

Thanks for posting your fossils and your effort!

Yes, the shell-like piece is indistinct, at least for me. Could be fragments of rugose corals with some calcite veining in between, but thats just a guess. But  a piece of a brachiopod shell can not be excluded.

The worm-like mass is very nice, but a little bit worn. The diameter of the rods is about 2 mm, and maybe there are some openings? Could be a also a tabulate coral. Or it could be a sponge-like think like Stachyodes or Amphipora. I´m not sure.

@Mod: Are there specialists for this fauna from this area on the forum?
Franz Bernnhard

Corals, really! I can't say I'd thought of that. Now that I've looked up pictures, though, I see that some rugose corals do have those sort of regular, radiating lines that had originally made me think mollusk. There have been a few types of brachiopods on image searches that looked similar, but none were quite the same: the angles of the fourth picture grooves, for instance. So I certainly can't disagree. With that much deformation, I think it would be very difficult to say with any certainty.

As far as the other one, even knowing that it might be a coral or a sponge is way more than I knew before! Sometimes I'm sure I see tiny pores in some places, and structure similar to the tabulate corals in the rods (regular pores, serrated/feathered edge), other times I decide it's just the roughness of the fossil. If I had to choose I would say yes, there are openings, but it could go either way.

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FranzBernhard

Probably you know this piece of work, maybe not:

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/280042615_Macrofossils_their_localities_in_Alberta_Canada_with_notes_on_adjacent_areas_of_British_Columbia

I see there is some Devonian in Alberta, but I dont know where and how near it is to your locality.

Franz Bernhard

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CasualTriopsEnthusiast

Sorry for the late reply! I wasn't familiar with most of those place names off the top of my head, but I did a little research. All of them are vaguely in the area, that is, the part of the map labelled the Rocky Mountains, but it's a big area. None of them were exactly my location, but some were not too far.

One thing I was excited about, is that it mentioned that there are lots of Devonian fossils at Burnt Timber. That's not where I found these fossils, but it is an area I visit fairly often to go camping. I'll be sure to take a look next time I go there! Thanks for providing that paper, it was very interesting, and I hope it will be helpful for me finding more fossils in the future!

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FranzBernhard

You are welcome!

Oh yeah, the Rocky Montains in Alberta would cover my whole country...

Good luck on your future trips, and please post some of your finds.

Franz Bernhard

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CasualTriopsEnthusiast

I'll be sure to keep you posted if I ever find any more. Thank you again for all your help, and it's been great talking to you. Take care!

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