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Kcee

Marine fossil with color

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Kcee

I contacted a few scientist trying to figure out some of the marine fossils that I had found and many them appeared to be shocked at how many these had color in them. Is it really rare to find marine fossils beyond 2.5 millions years old with color??....OMG, just had another freaking earthquake!!!!!!!

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FossilDAWG

The older fossils get, the less likely it is to have color patterns preserved.  That being said, color patterns are not uncommon in Tamiami Formation shells (roughly 2 million yrs old, Florida), and I know a Cretaceous site where a lot of the bivalves retain color markings (Tonbigbee Sand, +/- 80 million yrs old).  Somewhere in my collection I have an Ordovician nautiloid with possible color markings.

 

Bear in mind that fossil color markings often represent the pattern but not the actual colors.  It is thought that something about the pigments may have affected either mineralization or dissolution of the shell, leading to differential preservation of pigmented vs unpigmented areas.

 

Don

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ClearLake

@Kcee I just read that you had another earthquake in the Southern California area, hope all is well. 

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FranzBernhard
5 hours ago, Kcee said:

how many these had color in them

May you give us some examples :), please? Thank you!!

 

It strongly depends on family/genus, how "easy" color patterns are preserved.

And as already stated by @FossilDAWG, you are seeing the pattern, the actual pigment is very rarely preserved.

 

For example, this species has always the patterns preserved in these strata, unless the outer shell layer has coming off:

Other species in these strata need some UV-light to make the pattern visible (in some individuals!):

Kegelschnecke_KalloconusHendricksi_Zusammenstellung_b_E_kompr.jpg

Most other shells show nothing.

 

And than there is the possibility of thermal shock, same stratum, but below a basalt extrusion (Weitendorf locality, pic from Hiden, 2008):

Athleta_Farbmuster_Hiden_2008.thumb.jpg.f999f229676504e73a7d53ba8f2f3823.jpg

Franz Bernhard

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doushantuo

Franz,on a slightly related note:are you aware of the Zootaxa article by Harzhauser et al?

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Kcee

Thanks ClearLake, all is well here, I live about 150 miles from where the quake happened but it had the building here rocking like crazy. 

I have a few specimen that have some color, the first two I'm showing were not dug out of sandstone, these two were found just laying in the sand. The color in these two is very bold, the rest not so bold but you can see some color. This bivalve really has my curiosity on fire, I'm told that it is also rare to find both halves of a bivalve together and I can not for the life of me understand how these two halves could remain so close to each other being buried in shifting sands for millions of years. The half that shows no sign of aging was found half out of the ground while the other one was buried about 1 inch below it and a few feet away I found the snail half buried. I'm told by a scientist that that snail is not native to the prehistoric waters of California, I think they said it was native to the waters of Spain. Has anyone every come across anything like this?????

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FranzBernhard

@Kcee, thanks for posting these pics!

5 hours ago, Kcee said:

I'm told that it is also rare to find both halves of a bivalve together

This depends somewhat on genus/species and their lifestyle. Some bivalves life deeply (dm!) buried in sand and mud. And on occasion it can happen, that they are fossilized more or less in-situ with both valves still attached to each other. Both valves together are not rare in the Miocene strata here, but some species stand out as being really often "bi-valve", eg. Cordiopsis islandicoides:

http://www.thefossilforum.com/uploads/monthly_2018_07/CordiopsisIslandicoides_OisnitzSE3_3213_Breite47mm_kompr.jpg.f0b1a04cc4da845ca6aa8d024b08ce74.jpg

Venus clam Cordiopsis islandicoides (Lamarck, 1818). Oisnitz-SE-3, St. Josef, Styria, Austria. "Florianer Schichten" of the Styrian basin. Miocene-Langhian, ca. 15 Ma. Width of specimen ca. 47 mm, Collected 04/02/2017, Nr. 3213.

 

Other aspect could that the shells of different species generally separate easier than shells of other species. But I have no experience with this aspect, but this could be observed on a beach, I think.

5 hours ago, Kcee said:

buried in shifting sands for millions of years

Maybe it was not shifting sand in this case?

5 hours ago, Kcee said:

The half that shows no sign of aging was found half out of the ground while the other one was buried about 1 inch below it

I would have it expected the other way around!

Anyways, nice shells and thanks for sharing!
Franz Bernhard

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doushantuo

Nice bivalves,Kcee!

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Ludwigia
5 hours ago, Kcee said:

The half that shows no sign of aging was found half out of the ground while the other one was buried about 1 inch below it and a few feet away I found the snail half buried.

How can you be certain that the 2 valves are from the same creature?

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Kcee

I can not sit here and argue or defend anything, I can only share what I've found and what has been told to me by scientist on this subject. I came across a number of colored fossils while digging this stuff out of sandstone but did not think much of it. I'm sure some of it is just stains from minerals in the sandstone but I don't think all of it is just stains. That specimen in the last three photos appears to show little to no signs of aging. Maybe there's nothing to this at all but you have to admit, it's not something that you can easily ignore.

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Ludwigia
1 hour ago, Kcee said:

I can not sit here and argue or defend anything, I can only share what I've found and what has been told to me by scientist on this subject. I came across a number of colored fossils while digging this stuff out of sandstone but did not think much of it. I'm sure some of it is just stains from minerals in the sandstone but I don't think all of it is just stains. That specimen in the last three photos appears to show little to no signs of aging. Maybe there's nothing to this at all but you have to admit, it's not something that you can easily ignore.

 

Yes, it certainly is a fascinating phenomenon, but it's by no means exceptional. Color pigment has been discovered going back as far as a billion years.                                    

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Plantguy

Yep Nice finds Kcee! Hope some of the shaking has not been so noticeable of late and all is reasonably well. I remember that all too well. We moved away from California years ago but I still go the the USGS recent earthquake map regularly and look at whats going on on the planet...the plate tectonics/boundaries causing alot of them are amazing...

image.thumb.png.7d489bf500150dcc3ed7ce74f23f54d2.png

As for the color in some of the finds....I think the others above have touched on/explained some of the things involved. We've got alot of fossil shells similar in Pliocene age from here in Florida that have retained some of their coloration and dont look more than a couple days old and havent changed much at all and others in the same locale that have been mineralized and have different interesting colors. I used to also collect in Northern California and you'd find similar types of outcrops....with complete fossil shells that were simply white and not well preserved and falling apart pretty quickly and others near by that were very mineralized---some of the clams with both valves/shells still intact...

Cool stuff! Continued hunting success!

 

Regards, Chris 

 

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Kcee

Hi Plantguy, yep, the shaking has stopped for now....."shake & bake" how much can I take?

I had just started digging these fossils out of sandstones about 5 years ago and I was indeed amazed at how some, like you say looked like they just died and others looked so old that they were ready to fall apart. Yup....really cool stuff!!!

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Aurelius

Some cephalopod fossils from Dorset, England, show clear colour patterns. Both Lytoceras ammonites and crushed belemnite phragmocones preserved at Charmouth exhibit bands of colour. These are early Jurassic in age.

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