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Utah-Wheeler Shale Soft Body


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Can anyone help identify this soft body?  I found it in the Utah - Wheeler Shale formation while searching for Trilobites. I am always keeping my eyes peeled for any soft bodies such as worms, algae, etc. and came upon this after splitting a rock. It is roughly 16 mm long with a body that can be best described as an olive with 2 stalks sticking out the top end. There does not appear to be any missing parts, although this may be a partial body. Evidence of this is the organic/mineral "halo" which can be seen around the body. Also, there appears to be an alimentary canal progressing through the middle.

 

Any comments or ideas are welcome. 

Softbody6.jpg

Softbody4.jpg

Softbody5.jpg

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Welcome to TFF!

Nice find!

Got no idea what it is other than amazing.

@piranha may have an idea.

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Phyllocarid perhaps?

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Is that halo part of the fossil, or do you commonly get gypsum (or whatever it is) growing around pyritised fossils (and, for that matter, is it actually pyrite)? If it's real then yes, phyllocarid looks likely. If not, then I'm struggling.

 

It's a strange texture on the 'gut' (could indeed be pelleted, which would fit), and it looks like there's some detail to be had from at least the upper of the 'spines' as well. Any chance of higher-res images? It's definitely interesting!

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It looks like something I've seen on Burgess plates in Wonderful Life, but they were unlabeled, unfortunately.

 

I'm an avid collector in the Wheeler. Is there any way you can identify the horizon where you found this? I've been there half a dozen times and a total of around 20 days, yet I've never found any soft bodied remains.

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To Spongy Joe:  I will try to get some more detail this weekend with a microscope. Unfortunately, unlike the Trilobites, which stand out well, soft bodies - worms, algae and the like often appear as dark shadows on the slate/limestone.  This is different as it has the halo often seen around the trilobites, which I assume are chemicals leaching out of the original body as they become silicated. It also shows some flakes of material, but this material is very grainy, so I do not have much hope of getting better resolution.  Since this may be something interesting, I am loath to touch it with tools for fear of ruining something that may have value or be able to be restored by someone with more skills than I.  Perhaps there is more grain under the whitish portion making up the main body of the fossil, but I am not going to mess with it.

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To Trilo-bits: This was found at the U-dig Fossils in one of the back pits near the bottom. Nowhere special, I think the lighting was right in order to see this, but I like the worms and algae, so I keep my eyes peeled.  I am thinking about doing some exploring into the Spence Shales for some different creatures - that may be better for Burgess soft bodies.

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Sagebrush Steve

Here is a link to a thread I posted last year about a similar find I made in Nevada.  You might try emailing your photos to Dr Lieberman like I did.  He was nice enough to answer quickly.  Not sure how familiar he is with the Wheeler shale but it’s worth a try.  I did an Internet search to find his email address, it was pretty easy.  Nice specimen, by the way!

 

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  • 2 weeks later...
Tidgy's Dad

great find! 

Very, very interesting.:popcorn:

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It looks a bit like a Leanchoiliid figured in Hendricks/Liebermann/JOP:

the resemblance is not exactly uncanny,

Dimorphism?Ontogeny?

BTW: DON'T call this an ID,it's not even an attempt at onexenjacahggnt2f566tyyy4ee44e5tmedtr2m35pltwillist.jpg

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Very interesting indeed. Have you absolutely ruled out a purely mineralogical deposit? I'd show this to someone who has the resources to determine if it's organic if I were you.

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