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Please help ID Shell? Scute?


Deborah S.

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At first I thought this might be half of a fossilized mollusk, but maybe it's crocodile scute, which is a common find at the Rowan University Fossil Park a few miles away. Maybe it's something I don't know about. Hopefully it's not just another rock :) I found it in a streambed of Cretaceous green marl.

croc plate top.jpg

croc plate underneath.jpg

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Unfortunately,  I am not seeing a fossil here. 

An oddly shaped rock, I think.  

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Oyster shape but the texture is all wrong.  I vote for funny rock.  

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It is suggestive of an oyster similar to Lopha or the like, but I also think this is just a rock that has a similar shape. 

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1 hour ago, Fossildude19 said:

Unfortunately,  I am not seeing a fossil here. 

An oddly shaped rock, I think.  

Thank you for taking the time to check it out and reply. I searched online and in books for over an hour to find a mollusk like it and couldn't. That's when I starting hoping it was some other kind of fossil. At least it's an interesting rock. I think it's sedimentary. Is the picture good enough for you to hazard a guess as to the type of rock?

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1 hour ago, jpc said:

Oyster shape but the texture is all wrong.  I vote for funny rock.  

Thank you. At least it's an interesting rock. Do you have a moment to explain what is wrong with the texture?

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1 hour ago, Tidgy's Dad said:

It is suggestive of an oyster similar to Lopha or the like, but I also think this is just a rock that has a similar shape. 

Everyone seems to agree. I was sure it was something. Thank you for your reply :) Do you have a moment to explain why it is more rocklike than fossil like?

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2 hours ago, Deborah S. said:

Everyone seems to agree. I was sure it was something. Thank you for your reply :) Do you have a moment to explain why it is more rocklike than fossil like?

Yeah, sure. 

Rocks have general patchiness, but could be of any shape when eroded. 

Image result for sandstone rock

You may see shapes in it, or it may be eroded into suggestive shapes. 

Image result for suggestive shape rock

Bur fossils usually have more of a distinct structure and shape to them.

For example a real Lopha, wouldn't just be suggestively the shape, but show structure as well.

This is a poor specimen but you can still see some of the morphology.

Image result for lopha

Image result for suggestive shape rock

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2 minutes ago, Tidgy's Dad said:

Yeah, sure. 

Rocks have general patchiness, but could be of any shape when eroded. 

 

You may see shapes in it, or it may be eroded into suggestive shapes. 

 

Bur fossils usually have more of a distinct structure and shape to them.

For example a real Lopha, wouldn't just be suggestively the shape, but show structure as well.

This is a poor specimen but you can still see some of the morphology.

 

Thank you very much! The pictures are helpful for showing the importance of structure. I'll keep posting my "fossils" and hopefully will get this right soon.

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structure and texture.  The oyster-like shape is evident, but look at the texture compared to the photo tidgy's dad posted.  Yours seems smooth and polished, which is very common for chert and other rocks.  If this had been a shell and it had gotten polished, it would show shell structure in the polished areas.  

 

I hope this helps. 

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47 minutes ago, jpc said:

structure and texture.  The oyster-like shape is evident, but look at the texture compared to the photo tidgy's dad posted.  Yours seems smooth and polished, which is very common for chert and other rocks.  If this had been a shell and it had gotten polished, it would show shell structure in the polished areas.  

 

I hope this helps. 

Thank you for helping me refine my ability to recognize fossils!

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It has the waxy sheen of chert. Once you're satisfied that it's not a fossil you can break it to see if it has any fossil inclusions. Be careful breaking chert of course as it is very glass like which is why native Americans in southern NJ used it to make bifacial tools etc. In fact this has a coarse resemblance to an artifact known as a shaft abrader. Not saying it is one of course as the fine structure doesn't support that conclusion. Always wear eye protection and make sure that any onlookers avert their attention while you do the breaking.

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1 hour ago, Plax said:

It has the waxy sheen of chert. Once you're satisfied that it's not a fossil you can break it to see if it has any fossil inclusions. Be careful breaking chert of course as it is very glass like which is why native Americans in southern NJ used it to make bifacial tools etc. In fact this has a coarse resemblance to an artifact known as a shaft abrader. Not saying it is one of course as the fine structure doesn't support that conclusion. Always wear eye protection and make sure that any onlookers avert their attention while you do the breaking.

Thank you. I can't bring myself to break it yet, but if I do, I'll keep your cautions in mind. Back when I was just into rocks and didn't know about all the fossils around, I would have thought a unusual piece of chert was interesting :)

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1 hour ago, Plax said:

Be careful breaking chert of course as it is very glass like which is why native Americans in southern NJ used it to make bifacial tools etc. In fact this has a coarse resemblance to an artifact known as a shaft abrader. Not saying it is one of course as the fine structure doesn't support that conclusion.

btw - This is really interesting. I recently posted an old triangular piece of iron on a Native American forum because of scratch marks on the back that I thought might be writing. They said the marks were incidental and ID'd it as a broken piece of kettle from the 18th or 19th C., so Colonial rather than Native American. But now I'm keeping a look out for other things besides fossils.

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