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KristenN

Never identified a fossil before!

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KristenN

Hello, I am very new to this. I am a bio teacher with no experience in paleontology but I have to teach it! 

I recently found an intact top and bottom scallop shell off the James River, in Surry county, Virginia. 

I know it belongs to the Chesapecten genus, but not sure what species it is. Some friends have tried to help but I don’t understand what they are talking about. Possibly found in either the Yorktown formation or Eastover formation. Please help! 

04B5EB3D-ACC5-4602-8C7E-C527C28C2841.jpeg

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Kane

Welcome to the Forum! :) 

 

Certainly a Chesapectens (and a really neat one given what seem to be barnacle epibionts!). I'm no help to drill down to the species level (I only have a C. nefrens, but that is from the Miocene in Maryland), but it won't be long until one of our experts who have collected in that area chimes in.

 

You'll find you're in good company around here. So many of us are educators as well! We're also fortunate to have members here who volunteer their time to visit schools to give guest talks and hands-on presentations on fossils. 

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Rockwood

Would the fact that the valves are articulated be an indication that it was still alive when it was encrusted ? Or is the encrustation the reason the empty shell stayed articulated.

I once picked up a heavily encrusted horseshoe crab carapace only to learn that it's occupant was still home.  

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Jeffrey P

The coral encrustation makes that a very cool specimen. Congratulations.

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Darktooth

Welcome to the forum!

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I_gotta_rock

I'm reasonably sure it's Chesapectin middlesexensis. It has ribbing similar to C. nefrens, but the shape is wrong for C. nefrens. (also, I believe that C. nefrens died out before the formations at you locale.) C. middlesexensis is an index fossil for the Cobham Bay member of the Easter Formation, meaning that you can date the other shells around it in matrix based on this as a known age range. They only occurred during the time period of that member. 

 

I, too, love the encrustation! 

 

@Monica, thanks for posting the timeline. That is the best comparison of scallops I've seen yet! I downloaded it for future reference.

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herve

hello hare you shure that is a pecten? Purhaps is a clamys ?

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KristenN
On 4/6/2019 at 7:21 AM, Monica said:

Hi Kristen!

 

I'm a science teacher, too - welcome to the forum from finally-starting-to-warm-up Ontario!!! :P

 

I've never collected in your area, but I've found a couple of images that might help you find what you're looking for - please see below.

 

In addition to the barnacles encrusting your scallop, I think it was encrusted by a coral, too!  Very cool!

 

By the way - I've learned that the state fossil of Virginia is Chesapecten jeffersonius :)

 

Happy fossil-hunting!

 

Monica

3-Chesapecten-evolution.jpg

(from http://woostergeologists.scotblogs.wooster.edu/files/2017/05/3-Chesapecten-evolution.jpg)

 

newscallops.jpg

(from https://www.agiweb.org/news/evolution/scallops.html)

 

These are great! Thank you! I found several small scallop shells and this will help identify those! 

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KristenN
3 hours ago, herve said:

hello hare you shure that is a pecten? Purhaps is a clamys ?

I have absolutely no idea! I am going off what others have told me! I am very new to this! 

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KristenN

Thanks everyone! I was on the hunt for a C. Jeffersonian for my classroom and came across the beauty! My next step is to preserve it in either a Riker box or a shadow box! Do I need to put anything on it? 

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I_gotta_rock
3 hours ago, herve said:

hello hare you shure that is a pecten? Purhaps is a clamys ?

Definitely a Chaesapectin

 

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sixgill pete

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SailingAlongToo

@KristenN

Not sure what part of Surry County you were in when you found it, but I know 2 of the regional Gem & Mineral Clubs had a field trip to the Boy Scout camp this past Saturday.

 

From the single photo it is hard to ID to species level but I'm pretty sure your shell is a Chesapecten middlesexensis.

 

If you give me a general area where you found it, I can give you a positive ID as I fossil hunt that part of the James a lot, frequently with the Paleontologist who named some of the stratigraphy & got the Chesapecten jeffersonius named state fossil of VA.

 

Cheers.

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SailingAlongToo
15 hours ago, I_gotta_rock said:

Definitely a Chaesapectin

 

It's spelled Chesapecten........

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I_gotta_rock
11 hours ago, SailingAlongToo said:

It's spelled Chesapecten........

Sorry. I just can't spell anymore, even when the name is right in front of me!

 

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KristenN
12 hours ago, SailingAlongToo said:

@KristenN

Not sure what part of Surry County you were in when you found it, but I know 2 of the regional Gem & Mineral Clubs had a field trip to the Boy Scout camp this past Saturday.

 

We were right next to Chippokes State Park. 

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SailingAlongToo

@KristenN

 

Cobham Wharf / Cobham Bay (just upstream from the Park) has very nice exposures of both Upper Miocene (Claremont Manor and Cobham Bay Members of the Eastover Formation) and Pliocene (Sunken Meadow, Rushmere and Morgarts Beach Members of the Yorktown Formation) fossil bearing strata. 

 

Based on that, your specimen could be either a Chesapecten middlesexensis or a C. madisonius. As I said before, it is difficult to make a determination between C. middlesexensis and C. madisonius from a single photo. I'm leaning towards C. middlesexensis.

 

The thing about Cobham Bay / Cobham Wharf that gets folks in trouble it that it's private property and posted No Trespassing. The landowners got tired of people coming in and digging in the cliffs. I even saw a landowner chase a trespasser down the beach screaming at him. It was quite entertaining.

 

If you go to the Park, you can find C. madisonius, C. jeffersonius and possibly a fairly rare C. septenarius.

 

You can also find lots of pectans at York River SP.

 

Cheers!

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Coco

Hi,

 

On 06/04/2019 at 8:24 PM, herve said:

hello hare you shure that is a pecten? Purhaps is a clamys ?

Hello Hervé, how are you ?

 

I thought that difference between Pecten and Clamys is the shape of the "ears" at the hinge level : the same shape for Pecten and the different shape for Chlamys. Am I wrong about that ?

 

Coco

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