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  1. Etacystis communis is one of the more unusual animals that can be found in the Essex (marine) portion of the Mazon Creek deposit. Since being described, there has been much debate over what it might be. It has been suggested that it might be a Pterbranch hemichordate, a marine algae or a coelenterate. It is currently assigned as a hydrozoan. Etacystis is commonly referred to by collectors as the “H” animal. Relatively complete specimens bare a resemblance to the letter H. Unfortunately specimens are always incomplete with parts extending off the edges of the concr
  2. Kottixerxes belongs to a fascinating group of problematic arthropods named Euthycarcinoidea. The current thinking is that they are marine cousins distantly related to insects and myriapods. When Schram first described Kottixerxes in 1971, the Euthycarcinoidea were only know from 2 Triassic aged sites in Germany and Australia. At the time it was described, Kottixerxes was the oldest known Euthycarcinoid. Since that time, Euthycarcinoidea have been found in strata dating back to the Cambrian. In fact there is evidence from a site in Wisconsin that Euthycarcinoids may have been the first creatu
  3. This next species is the second most common animal found in the Essex portion of the Mazon Creek deposit. While there are over a dozen described bivalves found in the Mazon Creek deposit, Mazonomya is by far the most abundant. It is restricted to the Essex (marine) portion of the deposit, where in some areas have been found to make as much as 70 percent of all bivalves collected. At one collecting site, these clams are so common the area has been nicknamed Chowder Flats. Despite the abundance of specimens, Mazonomya was not formally described until 2011. For years it h
  4. Octomedusa is a type Scyphozoan jellyfish. It is the smallest described species of jellyfish that can be found in the Mazon Creek deposit. The bell can reach a maximum diameter of approximately 2 centimeters. Like all Cnidaria from Mazon Creek, they are only found in the marine portion of the deposit. In the faunal study that I have referenced in previous posts, Octomedusa made up .03% of 230,000 concretions collected. Often times, only the bell is preserved. Well preserved specimens will show 8 tentacles. Depending on orientation in the concretion, some specimens will
  5. This is a creature that many collectors are not even aware exists in the Mazon Creek Deposit. This unusual animal is commonly known as a whip scorpion. While it is an arachnid and resembles a scorpion , it belongs to a district order called Uropygids. Whip scorpion are incredibly rare in the fossil record. A handful have been described with the earliest known specimens dating back to the Devonian. Any arachnids in the Mazon Creek deposits are considered a rarity. In a faunal study that I referenced in an earlier post, out of 230,000 concretions collected at Pit 11, nine arachnid
  6. There are 8 species of paleoniscoids currently described from the Mazon Creek Deposit. While all are relatively rare, the vast majority can be identified as Elonichthys peltigeras and Elonichthys hypsilepus. The other six species are known from very few examples (sometimes only one or two). Almost all Mazon Creek paleoniscoids are juveniles but there are a few larger examples. There are also some isolated body parts of larger individuals. The fact that most Mazon fish are juveniles and often poorly preserved can make identification difficult. To compound the problem there needs
  7. Hello dear members, In this post I want to show you my Mazon Creek Fauna collection. I have only 6 specimens, that I’ve acquired over a long period of time in shows and online. Mazon Creek is definetely my favourite fossil assemblage and I dream, one day, to be able to collect fossils there myself! My specimens are not museum-quality, I’m aware of that, but still can help to give an idea of what a 309 million-year-old soft-bodied biota looked like! Let’s start with the most abundant species of the Essex assemblage: the jellyfish “Essexella asherae”. Known from thousands of concr
  8. Didontogaster is a polychaete worm (sometimes referred to as bristleworms). The first formal descriptions of Mazon Creek polychaetes did not occur until 1979. At the time they were described, they were the earliest known polychaetes in the fossil record. Since this time, polychaete fossils have been found reaching back as early as possibly the Ediacaran. It is the most common worm found in the Essex portion of the Mazon Creek deposit. It has been classified as belonging to the family Nephtyidae. Members of this family still exist today and are sometimes referred to as cat w
  9. deutscheben

    Tully Monster Coloring Page

    I drew this coloring sheet to give out at an upcoming children's program I will be doing at the public library my mom works at. I have done two previous programs over the years on fossils and dinosaurs, but this time I am going to be concentrating on the fossils of Illinois. Of course, this includes our bizarre state fossil, the Tully Monster! The sheet features a Tullimonstrum front and center chasing after an Elonichthys, with a pair of Essexella making their way across the background. It's not the most scientifically accurate drawing, but I hope it will be fun to color! Feel free to downloa
  10. Arthropleura is one of the most impressive animals that lived in the Pennsylvanian coal swamps. It is also the largest terrestrial animal known from the Mazon Creek deposit and largest terrestrial arthropod of all time. This giant millipede reach an enormous size estimated to be approximately 2 meters! Unfortunately we do not find complete body fossils. Tergites, limbs and an unusual joint structure that connected the leg to the body (rosette organ) have been found. Any Arthropleura material from Mazon is extremely rare. I would estimate there are only a few dozen specimens kno
  11. I have been fortunate to hunt Mazon Creek fossils for nearly 40 years. I have collected Many tens of thousands of concretions. I have also purchased premium specimens from other collectors. In the past, I have posted many of these specimens on the forum. I have decided to start posting more in depth descriptions of some of the amazing animals that can be found in the MC deposit. All specimens that I will post are from my personal collection. The first animal that I will highlight is the holothurian or sea cucumber Achistrum sp. Sea cucumbers are a common animal in toda
  12. This is a relatively rare member of the marine (Essex) portion of the Mazon Creek deposit. Hesslerella shermani looks to the casual observer to be some type of shrimp. It is actually a marine isopod related to modern day pill bugs. One of the main features that differentiate it from a shrimp is that it lacks a carapace. Other distinguishing characteristics are a rounded head with large eyes. The legs are also similar in length. Hesslerella is one of the smallest crustaceans found in the Mazon Creek deposit. They average around 2 centimeters or less in body length. At
  13. will stevenson

    Mazon creek stuff

    Hi guys I have no locational info on the pits these were collected but some do have the layering typical of the actual creek specifically the Pecopteris but I was wondering if anyone could provide some accurate id’s thanks so much
  14. jonnyquest

    Carboniferous Terrificous

    Here are some fossils I found in the town of St.clair in Schuylkill county , Pennsylvania. Llewellyn formation. 300 Mya. preserved in black shale.
  15. Rockpit

    Jellyfish? Folded Annularia?

    I found this concretion already opened and heavily coated with dirt and minerals. The few parts I could see poking through gave me hope something was preserved. Now that I have cleaned it up, I am still trying to figure out whether or not the concretion contains a fossil. It can look very different depending on the way you position it. I see a jellyfish looking mantle but the tentacles look different from what I have seen before. Positioned vertically, I start to lose the jellyfish and wonder if it is a partial annularia. Or maybe it is just a lumpily split concretion.
  16. Rockpit


    I have two different nodules from September that I think may be Sphenophyllum. Both nodules were found open, one had one half heavily covered in minerals. I did a short rinse in vinegar to clean that off.
  17. Rockpit

    Unusually smooth nodule

    I found this half of an open nodule last September when I was hunting at Mazonia Braidwood. It was covered in dirt so I took it home to see if anything would show up when I cleaned it up. The dirt rinsed off easily and I was surprised to find a layered, smooth surface on the inner half. The feel and patterns of colors remind me of the inside of a shell. Has anyone seen this before or have any ideas about what this is?
  18. Sizev_McJol

    More unidentified MC fossils

    So we have yet another unidentified mazon creek fossil. I see two possible specimens here but I’m not convinced either are proper fossils or even what they could be. The larger one looks like wood to me, and the smaller one looks darker and oddly shaped. I first thought maybe a flat worn?
  19. connorp

    Mazon Creek ID

    This tiny guy just popped in the freezer today. I apologize if the pictures aren’t the best – the nodule is barely a centimeter at its widest point, so my phone is having a tough time focusing. If they’re not good enough let me know and I’ll try again. Anyways, I have no idea what this is! Maybe some kind of bark?
  20. Thomas J. Corcoran

    Mazonia (Blob) fossils, please help ID

    I actually went to Mazon creek for once, however I’m quite new there so I need some help identifying what I found
  21. Sizev_McJol

    Mazon Creek Jellies?

    Hey guys! I’ve got some items here from Mazon Creek, IL, and I need a little help IDing them. The first one looks like a jellyfish to me, but I’m no expert. The second two... honestly I don’t even know if they’re fossils at all. The last one makes me think it might be because the center of the inside is dark and glossy and looks a little like a crunches up jelly, but I really can’t say. Any thoughts?
  22. Today was the 2nd day of the ESCONI Braceville Shaft Mine Trip to collect Mazon Creek concretions. I was not able to go yesterday since I did not arrive back from Puerto Rico until later that night. I did want to make it out today because I had a number of buckets of fossils (Mazon Creek flora and fauna, Indiana and Kentucky Ordovician has plates and loose horn Coral / bryozoan, Moroccan echinoids and Pleistocene/Pliocene shells) to dump out for the participants. I was not sure that the trip was going to go on due to rain, but I did receive a PM from @stats Rich advising me that i
  23. Sasquatch1112

    Braceville fossil hunting

    Tomorrow I will be heading out on my first ESCONI trip. I will keep you guys updated on what we find!
  24. This weekend I made my first trip out to Mazon Creek! Sorry this is such a scroller, I'm going to try and have this post be informational since there is definitely some stuff I wished I'd known about in advance and some stuff I did that really aided my success. There are pictures at the bottom. The most important thing I did before my trip was print off a topographic map of the area that I pulled from ArcGIS online. It really came in handy. It was also necessary to have a permit to collect there, something I only discovered the night before. Here is a link to a PDF of the permit.
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