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Cincy Fossil

Strange - Centipede or Plant? Need help!

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Cincy Fossil

Hello, I am brand new to the forum - I hunt for fossils often, but I am completely stumped here!

 

I found this a few years ago in Slade, KY - inside of the Red River Gorge - in the Red River.

 

I think it looks like a giant centipede, with some sort of antennae at the top, but one experienced fossil friend thinks it might be a cycad cross section.  I see legs, a critter.. but he sees a plant.

 

Hopefully one of you experts here can solve this mystery!

fossil 2.jpg

fossil 3.jpg

fossil 4.jpg

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Kane

I think your friend is correct. Neat piece!

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ynot

+1 for cycad.

Nice piece.

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Fossildude19

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Auspex

Sigillariostrobus?

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fifbrindacier

Nice imprint !

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piranha
59 minutes ago, Auspex said:

Sigillariostrobus?

 

 

I will wager: Lepidostrobus  @fiddlehead

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KimTexan

Very cool.

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Plantguy

+1 for Lepidostrobus. Looking forward to seeing what Jacks comments are. Mighty neat cone! 

Regards, Chris 

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Cincy Fossil

Is there a way to add new keywords to a post once it has been created?  For example, should I add the keyword Lepidostrobus to this?

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FossilDAWG

Wait until there is a consensus on the ID, then we can add a tag.

 

Don

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Cincy Fossil

 I think you are really onto something here with that being a Fossil of Calcareous Algae.  If that’s what it is, would that date it to around 463 million years?  

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Carl

Can't say I know much about them. And it seems they are a tough topic to dig into. But often when I see a pattern it sticks with me.

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Carl

By the way, it's a GORGEOUS fossil you've got there!

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Tidgy's Dad

Wonderful fossil, simply a delight! :wub:

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KimTexan

I don’t think @fiddlehead ever weighed in. 

I’d like to hear @piranha and @Auspex thoughts on the algae.

It is a pretty cool looking fossil.

I was trying to figure out if it was more likely to be terrestrial or marine in origin. Did you find it in situ or lose in the area?

 

I looked at the formations in the area of Red River Gorge NW of Slade. There is a Red River Gorge Camp Ground there. The actual gorge seemed to be further NE of Pine Ridge. At least as per what popped up on the map.

 Depending upon where you were in the river there appear to be numerous  Mississippian and Pennsylvanian formations along the river.

1. The Borden Formation which is primarily a dolomite Mississippian. There was mention of brachiopods in a layer of the formation. It seems to run immediately along the river in many places.

2.  The Slade Formation Mississippian, which sounds most interesting and possibly your most likely candidate formation. The USGS reports large crinoid columns of 0.5 inches overlaying brachiopods and smaller crinoids. Other layers below that have abundant brachiopods, bryozoa and other fossils. This sounds like the most fossiliferous formation in the area along with other subformation within it.

3. Pikeville Formation is up near the actual gorge adjoining the Slade along the gorge. It is largely middle Pennsylvanian terrestrial with abundant coal deposits. Plant fossils are common.

There are a number of other formations very close to the river which are Pennsylvanian that seem to have both marine and terrestrial. Anything in those formations could end up in the river.

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Auspex
42 minutes ago, KimTexan said:

There are a number of other formations very close to the river which are Pennsylvanian that seem to have both marine and terrestrial. Anything in those formations could end up in the river.

The condition of this delicate bit of herbaceous detritus suggests that it had a short, gentle journey.

I would look for more clues within the matrix, at high magnification if necessary.

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Plantguy
22 minutes ago, piranha said:

Another colleague that specializes in paleobotany agrees it is Lepidostrobus.

Good deal Scott! I think what makes this specimen look different than most that folks see is the level of detail and seeing the axis and its 3d look...with many of the central bracts lacking. I only have one in the collection from Poland that shows that same detail/view but nowhere near the level of preservation of Cincy's.

Gorgeous fossil Cincy! Awesome find. 

Regards, Chris 

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KimTexan

I’m asking questions to learn. 

Is Lepidostrobus found in both the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian or just one of them?

I found an example of a cone that was found in West Virginia in the middle Pennsylvanian.

https://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/Lepidostrobus2.html

 

The Pikeville Formation is the only middle Pennsylvanian formation I found when looking, but hey it’s a gorge. I imagine there could be multiple formations present.

 

From what I read on the Kentucky Geological Survey page plant fossils are uncommon in the Mississippian in Kentucky. Those are limited to ferns and tree trunks. I believe it was because the area was predominately a shallow marine environment during the Mississippian and that wasn’t conducive for the right conditions for plant fossilization to occure.

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paleoflor

Lycophyte cones certainly fit the bill, if you ask me. However, it is always good to consider other options, and then try to exclude them so that ideally only a single possible ID remains. I would therefore like to know whether calcareous algae can attain the dimensions of the specimen. I find it difficult to find more information online, but so far the examples I was able to find had diameters measured in mm rather than cm. So what size are calcareous algae? Can scale be used to confidently rule this option out for the present specimen?

 

 

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Carl

Just got this from Jamie Boyer, a paleobotanist friend of mine at the New York Botanical Gardens:

 

It certainly looks like a Lepidostrobus cone to me. You can see that the structure was cylindrical in nature, by the in-filled cast (toward the right side). The dots in the center, where the cast is missing, look like tell-tale "leaf scars", arranged in a helical or spiral pattern. On the edges of the structures are compressions of those "microphyll" leaves that would have had a spore-case at the base. The preservation doesn't look good enough, but if you look closely where a leaf meets the stem area (dotted region), there may be preserved spore-cases (oval in shape). I'm assuming that this is Carboniferous in age..

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Fossildude19
12 hours ago, KimTexan said:

I’m asking questions to learn. 

Is Lepidostrobus found in both the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian or just one of them?

 

The answer would be yes.  ;) 

 

Lepidostrobus is the cone from Lepidodendron trees.

This from Wikipedia :

 

"Lepidodendron — also known as scale tree — is an extinct genus of primitive, vascular, arborescent (tree-like) plant related to the lycopsids (club mosses). They were part of the coal forest flora. They sometimes reached heights of over 30 metres (100 ft), and the trunks were often over 1 m (3.3 ft) in diameter. They thrived during the Carboniferous Period (about 359.2 ± 2.5 Mya (million years ago) to about 299.0 ± 0.8 Mya) ..."

 

Carboniferous.JPG

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paleoflor

To add to Tim's answer, this page of Devonian Times provides some interesting background on the evolution and age range of arborecent lycopsids.

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