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fossilsonwheels

I thought it would be fun and possibly helpful to other collectors to discuss the results of my first foray into the world of micro fossil exploration. I had purchased some quantities of micro matrix from two different formations and they provided vastly different experiences for me as a collector.

 

I got a vial of micro fossils from the Neva formation which is from Kansas and is Permian. This stuff really proved to be quite a challenge and was not ideal to start with. These are TINY fossils and I was not equipped to handle such small fossils. Identifying the shark material was challenging but not nearly as challenging as just handling them. My first attempt to put a fossils on a slide resulted in me crushing a tiny partial Cladodont tooth. I was not happy with myself but it was a very teachable and humbling moment as I did at work in front of young co-worker who has developed into quite the shark fanatic. Once I figured out what NOT to do with the small fossils, I did find a groove and was able to find some interesting material for our display. I found a few shark denticles ( I think they are anyway lol), a possible spine, and a few partial teeth including one that looks similar to an unpublished species of Cladodont shark called Maiseyodus. There was not a lot of shark material and it was hard to work with but I plan on picking up another vial. I will not go through until I have better equipment though but I would like to continue the explore it. The goal was too add some Permian shark material from a marine environment to contrast the freshwater Permian stuff we had. In that sense, we accomplished our goal and I did really learn quite a lot so it was a positive result but one with plenty of bumps in the road lol

 

The other micros were from the Cretacoeus Mesaverde formation and was Colorado. This was much easier to work with as far as size goes but there was much more actual matrix to deal with. I was also more familiar with the fauna and I had a much better idea of what to be on the look out for. It did not take long to find a few shark teeth. I opened the vial, dumped it on the tray and right away saw some partial teeth I could recognize. A few Hybodont partials were apparent very quickly as were some partial Sand Tiger teeth. There was also an interesting partial that I have not posted yet but might be a Cretalamna. I also found a few fossils that I think are ray dermal denticles. The really interesting stuff was found when I started searching the bits of matrix and the smaller fossils. Three little fossils absolutely made this a grand slam for me. I found what looks to be a Chiloscyllium tooth. It is fantastic shape and sits on top of a little piece of matrix really nicely. My ID looks to be okay as I did post here on the forum. I was really thrilled to find such a nice tooth. Another was posted on the forum and though I have some work to do to cement the ID, it MAY be a Cat Shark tooth which is one I have been searching for. Separating it from the matrix makes me nervous but I am practicing before I do it. I am really hoping it does turn out to be what I think it is but either way it was a fascinating find and thanks to some awesome TFF members led to a far better understanding of cat shark fossils. The third has not been posted yet as I need to take a closer look at it but when I first saw it, I thought it was a Rhinobatos which was another one I had been actively looking for. I got excited, put in a gem jar and put it in the display but I will take a better look this week. There were some interesting non-shark fossils too that I will go through at some point and quite a bit of poo as well lol  I consider this to have been a complete success. We added some new sharks to the display and succeeded in furthering the diversity of sharks we can talk about.

 

I need to get some equipment for exploring micro fossils at home and I need to work on the handling of the fossils. I need to learn how to separate small fossils from bits of matrix and I can always stand to sharpen my ID skills but this is a pretty important development for us. With some recent family events and two college aged kids depending on me the fossil acquisitions will slow down considerably. I can not buy a lot going forward so this is a fantastic and inexpensive way to continue to explore fossils, particularly Mesozoic sharks. A little bit of money spent on some matrix will yield fossils we can use. I do not live in an area where there is much fossil hunting to be done so this is also a way to self collect some material which is really satisfying. It has also been a great thing to have during my fathers illness and death as it kept me busy and my mind sharp.

 

I can see a new addiction forming and it is a good one to have. In addition to adding some more from both of the above formations, I am going to pick up some Atco stuff and Kamp Ranch matrix too in the near future. That will keep me busy and I am sure we can add some more interesting fossils. This micro newbie is going to work on becoming a micro not-so-newbie lol I will post some pictures in the comment section.

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very interesting! I have wondered about the whole Micro-fossil possibilities. How do you photograph them? Do you have a microscope that can photograph? I have obviously never looked into the equipment...

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fossilsonwheels

A partial tooth, maybe a Sand Tiger. I thought Carcharias might be a possibility. 

FE1FFDCB-69B4-45F3-ACBE-555D554A6CA6.jpeg

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fossilsonwheels
2 hours ago, JamieLynn said:

very interesting! I have wondered about the whole Micro-fossil possibilities. How do you photograph them? Do you have a microscope that can photograph? I have obviously never looked into the equipment...

I use a micro eye that is connected to a TV at my job to photograph them. I use my iPhone. I plan on getting a microscope at home so I can work on this at home too. I didn’t look into equipment either. I had the stuff to use at work. I would recommend searching the forum. I would think there might be some excellent information from more knowledgeable micro hunters. 

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fossilsonwheels
8 minutes ago, JBMugu said:

Let me know if you want some micro STH material, I have a bucket full!

Absolutely. The kid I work with wanted some STH micros so I can give him some too. I am starting work on an STH exhibit for next year so that would be perfect. 

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fossilsonwheels

An interesting partial tooth. I have no clue what this belonged to. My best guess is Cretalamna but that strictly a guess. 

351FC590-C137-4958-BEF8-45042EE97456.jpeg

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Mediospirifer

Cool fossils! I love micros. :D

 

Handling the tiny ones can indeed be tricky. Take a look through the Microfossil discussion pages; you'll find a lot of discussions of techniques. I'll also recommend the "Collecting Microfossils Without Breaking The Bank" threads for inexpensive options. LINK 1, LINK 2

 

I use a sewing needle with the eye cut off (with wire cutters), inserted into a mechanical pencil to move pieces of fossil or matrix around on a ceramic plate. To lift the fossil, I use a soft natural-bristle paintbrush (very small) and water: put a drop of water where you want the fossil to end up, then touch the wet brush to a piece of paper towel to remove the excess water, then touch the fossil with the brush. The fossil should stick to the brush. Move it over and touch it to the drop of water. The fossil should drop off. If the surface you put the fossil on is a piece of paper painted with a mix of white glue and water (50/50), when the water dries it will stick. That makes a good long-term mount, and it's easy to move a piece later--just add more water, wait a few minutes, then use the needle and brush to manipulate the fossil out of the drop of water and to the next location. Just a note of caution: keep the distances to a minimum when shifting fossils by brush. It's very easy for things to fall off before you want them to, and potentially get lost.

 

Good luck!

 

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fossilsonwheels
3 hours ago, Mediospirifer said:

Cool fossils! I love micros. :D

 

Handling the tiny ones can indeed be tricky. Take a look through the Microfossil discussion pages; you'll find a lot of discussions of techniques. I'll also recommend the "Collecting Microfossils Without Breaking The Bank" threads for inexpensive options. LINK 1, LINK 2

 

I use a sewing needle with the eye cut off (with wire cutters), inserted into a mechanical pencil to move pieces of fossil or matrix around on a ceramic plate. To lift the fossil, I use a soft natural-bristle paintbrush (very small) and water: put a drop of water where you want the fossil to end up, then touch the wet brush to a piece of paper towel to remove the excess water, then touch the fossil with the brush. The fossil should stick to the brush. Move it over and touch it to the drop of water. The fossil should drop off. If the surface you put the fossil on is a piece of paper painted with a mix of white glue and water (50/50), when the water dries it will stick. That makes a good long-term mount, and it's easy to move a piece later--just add more water, wait a few minutes, then use the needle and brush to manipulate the fossil out of the drop of water and to the next location. Just a note of caution: keep the distances to a minimum when shifting fossils by brush. It's very easy for things to fall off before you want them to, and potentially get lost.

 

Good luck!

 

That is very helpful information. For the really small Permian stuff, I just slipped a slide cover next to them and used a pin to slide them on. They were sticking to the slide cover pretty well. The larger Cretaceous micros were easier to manipulate but I like your idea very much. I did lose a ray tooth so I am trying to devise more efficient methods. It takes a bit of practice to work these tiny fossils but I am enjoying the end results of the work. Thank you very much

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fossilsonwheels

My favorite Mesaverde fossil so far is this possible Chiloscyllium tooth. It is a little beauty and it was just sitting on a tiny piece of matrix. I am actually pretty proud of this find. 

AE41166B-A107-4E55-8C8B-B56491703C02.jpeg

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