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connorp

Pioche Shale Algae

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connorp

I was just going through a handful of Pioche Shale (Early-Middle Cambrian, Nebraska Nevada) trilo plates I bought a while ago, and found this interesting piece. I'm leaning more towards algae than worms, as they are reminiscent of the carbon film preservation of algae from Cambrian formations in China.

 

IMG_5167.thumb.jpg.aaabd7f863766968a144cb96da21d2a4.jpg

IMG_5168.thumb.jpg.99c3f51ca2baff037dcc1fed2bce002c.jpgIMG_5169.thumb.jpg.a008fe26e9d8e766bf92efb6016cc0f6.jpg

 

Any thoughts?

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UtahFossilHunter
10 minutes ago, connorp said:

Nebraska

Did you mean Nevada?

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connorp
21 minutes ago, UtahFossilHunter said:

Did you mean Nevada?

Yes, thank you.

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Wrangellian

I'd like to see more pics under different lighting conditions but it does have an algal look to it, especially given the carbonaceous nature.

I wonder how much of that stuff occurs in the Pioche but people pass it over on the hunt for trilobites and other "more interesting" things?

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connorp

I’ll upload more later today.

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connorp

5c424fb2bc785_ScreenShot2019-01-18at5_12_47PM.thumb.png.b56e3d4c15b575a779f1995a65606772.png5c424fb42f07c_ScreenShot2019-01-18at5_12_56PM.png.80e9603641680e741ead16b5118c44c4.png

5c424fb864930_ScreenShot2019-01-18at5_13_05PM.png.8bae7c95421a68b3f404cd5f19ac526e.png5c424fbae963e_ScreenShot2019-01-18at5_13_18PM.png.5ae05695c35070d0f2c0f4c5a9a94342.png

 

I tried getting some closer shots. I was hoping to some ovular holes that would be indicative of Margaretia dorus, but I see no detailed structure. Perhaps not as obvious through these pictures, but I did examine these through a magnified headband and could not make out anything. Perhaps they're just too weathered.

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UtahFossilHunter

They look similar to @davehunt‘s worms from the Spence Shale here

I’d say the lighter band around the organism is indicative of some kind of organic matter so it’s gotta be something. 

I turned your picture monochrome and inverted it to see if we can see anything this way like spines on polychaete worms but I can’t see anything else.558F4D48-FAD1-431F-866D-740699978544.thumb.jpeg.26562f6235246f5fe71e619d8a742789.jpeg

 

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connorp

I found these while splitting some Penn Dixie shale today that I got from @Fossil-Hound. The stains around them are what I would guess to be some sort of halo (iron oxide?) due to decay gases. The iron oxide is easy to spot on chunks of shale, and it splits quite easily along the algae, giving you nice pos/negs as below.

 

IMG_5245.thumb.jpg.6ba8ce2b7e62992d3d2d6a4ef6a6ba58.jpg

 

These are very similar morphologically to the Pioche Shale specimens. I have just read the paper "Seaweed morphology and ecology during the great animal diversification events of the early Paleozoic: A tale of two floras" (LoDuca et al 2017), and the conclusion the authors draw in regards to these ribbonlike specimens is that "It is possible that all of this material represents fragments of originally larger thalli with more complex morphologies."

 

Not the sexiest fossils, but I certainly find them fascinating.

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