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  1. Hi everyone I think I just found a new hobby With my latest fossil delivery I recieved quite a lot of microfossils & matrix vials as the world of microfossils was something that I have been long interested in. So a 2 weeks ago I finally ordered my first microfossils for which I reserved a special drawer in my archive cabinet. So here is a recapp of what I all got: 3 vials of permian material from Waurika, Oklahoma 1 vial of permian material from The red beds of Archer County, Texas 1 small vial of Conodont rich Mississippian material from the Chappel Limestone formation, Texas 1 small vial of Cretaceous Lower Gault Clay, East Wear bay, Folkestone, Kent, UK A micropalaeontology slide with Jurassic Blue Lias matrix rich in holothurian material. A thin section of an Ostracods filled Elimia snail from the Green River Formation in Wyoming A thin section from the Rhynie chert of Scotland which should contain preserved parts of the plant Aglaophyton major and perhaps even other species. I also got a lot of Bull Canyon micro fossil teeth and 2 cretaceous mammal teeth from Hell Creek In this topic you will be able to follow my path through this newly discovered hobby as I will post my finds and progress Currently I am only working with a clip-on cellphone microscope, but I do plan on getting a professional microscope in the next few months! (Tips are always welcome) So let's put on our Ant-Man suit and explore the microfossil realm So here are some of the first pictures I made of some of the microfossils Starting with the thin slices! Thin slice with Ostracon filled Elimia tenara snail from the Green River Formation, Wyoming Thin slice with Aglaophyton major from Rhynie Chert in Scotland
  2. Pennsylvanian At long last, I finally made my way across the Red River and into our northerly neighbor, marking off a third state in the list of places I have hunted. While I had originally wanted to visit Oklahoma many times in the past with Austin Paleo, schedules seemed to never quite sync up. However, a timely road trip to Missouri for family brought a convenient moment to stretch my legs by the highway. This particular site in question is a regular of Dallas Paleo for some years. It seemed they weren't planning another visit in the near future, so I assumed a brief hunt of my own wouldn't be an issue. This spot is seated in the Savanna Formation of the Desmoinesian Series which makes it roughly the same age as the Mingus Fm and other Strawn Group strata of North and Central Texas. In contrast with what are usually marine dominated rocks in Texas, this site is specifically known for its abundant terrestrial plant material as it was deposited in a delta plain environment. Despite only a 20 minute visit (heat, chiggers, and my folks waiting in the car), I found a lot of neat stuff that made the trip well worth it. After wading through the tall grass and walking up a small slope, I was quickly greeted by countless fern impressions. They kinda look like Pecopteris or perhaps Neuropteris. I'm not sure how those genera are distinguished though. I was entertained by the visual similarities shared between these specimens and some Cretaceous Woodbine ferns I collected that also originated from an ancient delta plain (though they aren't tree ferns I believe). If you want to see those, they are in my Woodbine album. The first fern of the day The negative of a fern from a nodule The positive found a few minutes later Another fern beauty with great colors In addition to these, I found some pieces of Calamites chunks plus their corresponding leaf clusters, Annularia. On a chunk of grey rock, there were some shiny carbonaceous Neuropteris? leaves plus what appears to be a small seed(?) to the left of the leaf below. Annularia (Calamites leaf cluster), black Neuropteris?, and seed? It was a fun side trip and helped to whet my appetite for more adventures in Oklahoma to come. Once in Missouri, I didn't do any hunting as we were pressed for time. However, I did briefly look at a huge boulder in the James River during a canoe trip. It was greenish-white limey shale and had many tiny brachiopods on one surface. I reckon there was probably something neat I could have found, but seeing as I had no hammer on me, I didn't give it much time. I guess I'll save the serious hunting in Missouri another day. Permian Since that roadcut visit, I began planning out a trip through a handful of sites not too far from the TX-OK border. I thought it might be better to explore the "coastline" first as opposed to making an arduous journey deep into the state's interior where the pain of getting skunked might be more potent. One obvious destination for this route was Waurika. It had always been a spot at the forefront of my mind. Past reports of it no longer being accessible had given me cause for hesitation before, but after asking a handful of friends who had been there with no issues recently, I decided now was as a good a time as ever to finally dip my toes into this iconic time period. The forecast for the day was set to reach 100F, so I made Waurika my first stop. I'd rather be there early in the morning so that the iron rich rocks of the Petrolia Formation wouldn't have much time to heat up in the summer sun. Heading out in the early morning glow, I surfed the wave of dawn's light on a journey to the west. Upon exiting my car, I was introduced to a couple of stinky dogs from a ranch down the road. They were quite friendly and it was apparent that they weren't going to stop following me, so I entered the site with them in close company. Every time I knelt down to see if I was in the right area for micros, they would ceaselessly try to lick my face and steal my attention. Luckily a rabbit leaped out of the bushes and sent them running after it. I could finally get serious (though I did miss them a little bit)! The first fossil was a common Orthacanthus texensis tooth. These funny lookin things possess two elongated cusps that give them an appearance unlike any other sharks of the geological record. Orthacanthus texensis Shark denticle covered spine I took this to mean that I had stumbled into the right place. Pretty soon, I was finding these little guys left and right. Their serrated cusps were often broken off and difficult to tell apart from one of my main targets, Dimetrodon limbatus. The first non-shark tooth was quite a weird one. It has a broad spatulate morphology that I would say looks very similar to a sauropod like Camarasaurus. The incisal edge of the tooth seems to have poorly developed denticles and the enamel overall is highly textured with what could be described as an anastomosing pattern. The lingual face has a distinct median ridge running longitudinally. I was inclined to believe that this shape of tooth ought to belong to something herbivorous, so my tentative ID was either Diadectes sideropelicus or Cotylorhynchus (hard to find good photos online of Cotylorhynchus teeth). I took the specimen into the Texas Through Time Museum and a couple of the staff instead suggested Archeria, but I am suspicious of that. I was hoping to buy a copy of the Waurika Vertebrate Fauna book by Kieran Davis at the museum to help with ID, but it seems those went out of print and are no longer in stock. Lingual view (note median ridge and incisal denticles) Side view Labial view Another spatulate specimen takes on a very different morphology. I am hopeful that it could be Diadectes sideropelicus. Diadectes sideropelicus? Diadectes sideropelicus? Diadectes sideropelicus? The title of most common non-shark tooth belonged easily to the Temnospondyl, Eryops megacephalus. When I saw the toothy grin of the cast specimen of this species at the Texas Through Time Museum, it was easy to understand why this was the case. These are identified by their prominent ridges that run longitudinally all around the circumference of the conical tooth. Eryops megacephalus This next enigmatic tooth may simply be an oddly shaped Orthacanthus tooth, but I thought I'd throw it in just in case it's something cooler. It has a labiolingual curvature, serrated edges, and robust, chisel-shaped build. There is only very faint texturing to the enamel, but stronger texturing than the completely smooth blades of Orthacanthus. Additionally, both the mesial and distal edges terminate before reaching the enamel-cementum junction which is not the case for my shark teeth. I think this may be Secodontosaurus obtusidens as seen in Figure 5a of 10.1038/ncomms4269 since I read that they are labially convex and possess serrations. This taxon is described as having thick carinae, but I cannot say for sure if that is what's seen here. Secodontosaurus obtusidens? Moving on, I have a couple of specimens that I am much more confident in. Both teeth have strong enamel texturing and serrated edges. A key characteristic is the longitudinal fluting. I saw this mentioned in an old thread by @dinodigger as something found in primitive Dimetrodon species such as D. limbatus. Dimetrodon limbatus It is often difficult to tell the serrated teeth of Dimetrodon and Orthacanthus apart, and one must look for distinguishing features such as textured enamel for a chance at ID. I noticed that the cross sections of the two above teeth look quite different from my similarly sized and shaped shark teeth. The pulp chambers on Orthacanthus are generally spindled shaped and the borders are the same distance from the outside of the tooth in all directions (consistent dentin + enamel thickness). In contrast, the Dimetrodon teeth have circular pulp chambers and varying dentin + enamel thicknesses. Perhaps this could be an additional tool for distinguishing the two. Left are Orthacanthus; Right are D. limbatus In addition to teeth, I may have found a Dimetrodon caudal vert: D. limbatus caudal? To round of the finds, here are an assortment of smaller teeth and claws. Claws Ophiacodon retroversa? Trimerorhachis insignis? Unknown After a solid four hours of hunting, the sun was getting high and the heat was picking up. I had some more spots a long drive away that I needed to hit, so eventually I cut things off and made my way to the car, satisfied with a pocket full of fossils and some bags of micro matrix . Ordovician The Ordovician was an obvious choice for me since it is pretty hard to find quality fossils from that geologic period when searching in Texas. On my map, I had a little spot circled for chances of Bromide Formation trilobites (Early Sandbian). When I pulled up to the site, I initially had little luck in finding anything other than rock solid limestone and flying bugs. The temperature was hitting its forecasted peak and the humidity began eating away at me. My shirt quickly dampened, and it soon appeared as if I had just gotten out of a swimming pool. As I traveled through lower and lower parts of the outcrop, however, I eventually reached a shaded spot that had some brachiopod bits and softer matrix. I was thankful to take a seat and study the brachs a bit closer as I caught my breath and quenched my thirst. After following a chain of crinoid stem fragments I locked onto a reddish colored array of various shapes. It was a fragile mess, but very clearly a smattering of trilobites! I was in the right spot after all... Red trilobite parts in the Pooleville Member of the Bromide Formation The layer quickly proved to be extremely rich. Everywhere I looked, I could find at least a trilo bit if I squinted hard enough. I knew it was only a matter of time before I could grab a better specimen. More trilobite parts Interrupting the steady flow of trilo finds, I snagged a neat brachiopod and some sort of cephalopod! Oxoplecia gouldi? before and after Unknown cephalopod Then, nestled in a little crevice atop a limey slab, I saw a perfect roller just begging to be freed. To clean it up, would using vinegar be a bad idea? Frencrinuroides capitonis? A single step away... Homotelus bromideensis? thorax and pygidium Calyptaulax annulata or Calliops armatus? I then came across a weirdly shaped fossil that resembled the preservation of the previous trilobites, but its shape was hard to figure out. Some searching online showed Probolichas as something similar, but it could very well just be a random shell. I believe Probolichas is quite a rare genus so its unlikely. Probolichas? Rounding out the trilo finds was a beautiful Nanillaenus punctata? I think it will prep quite well, but I don't know if I trust my skills or tools. Perhaps I will get it professionally done. The top right is the most promising specimen (Nanillaenus punctata?) Trilobites were not the only stars of the show, however. I found a complete crinoid crown and I am hopeful that arms may preserved within the rock it came from! Hybocrinus crinerensis? Eventually, I walked far enough to enter the lower member of the Bromide Formation, known as the Mountain Lake Member. It is comprised of older shales that were deposited before a sea level rise (hence why the younger Pooleville is limestone). There were some pretty hashplates that I wish I could have searched through more thoroughly, but I was running out of water and had to make it back to the car. I at least caught a pic of a Mountain Lake trilobite as I was walking by. Homotelus bromideensis? On the drive home I got to stop by my Albian micro shark spot to collect some bags of matrix for my future guide. I was lucky and managed to spot a little ray tooth while filling the bag. It was an exhausting day in a part of the year when really no one should be outside. Thankfully, it also turned out to be one of the most enjoyable adventures yet. Despite being within a two hour drive of DFW, Oklahoma had always felt so distant. For some reason the state border had been a mental boundary for me. Now it feels as though a whole new frontier has opened up just a stones throw away. Thanks for reading!
  3. Earendil

    Waurika Permian microfossils

    Hello! I've recently been sorting through some Waurika, Oklahoma Permian microfossil matrix, and I've been able to identify most of my finds (As a beginner in the Permian field, @ThePhysicist's Permian album really helped me) but some I haven't been able to pin down yet. I'd really appreciate some ID assistance! Let me know if you need better photos, my photo-taking ability is, alas, subpar. 1. Trimerorhachis jaw perhaps? Or fish? I've heard distinguishing between the two is quite difficult. ~2 mm. 2. A really strange texture, I was hoping it might be diagnostic. The other side is relatively featureless. ~3 mm 3. Another weird looking jaw. It looks fishy, maybe. (I included both sides) ~2mm 4. This also had a bizarre texture. A fish mouth plate? A bit bigger, ~5mm 5. I thought it might be an Eryops tooth but I wasn't certain. It has those kind of crenulations. ~4mm 6. Maybe a worn part of an orthacanth tooth? A really weird texture, almost perforated. ~3 mm 7. A really small possible claw? ~1.5 mm 8. Another possible jawbone? ~1.5 mm 9. I had my fingers crossed for Dimetrodon on this piece of enamel but I'm skeptical. It is pretty big though, (in microfossil terms, at least) almost 6mm. 10. Another possible Dimetrodon candidate? I'm doubtful for this one too. A touch over 3mm. Front: Serrations: The base: 11. Looks like a claw, but it could be a really worn piece of bone. ~2mm That's all, thanks so much!!
  4. Earendil

    Waurika Permian microfossils

    Hello all, I have been sorting through some more Waurika Permian micro-matrix recently, and I was excited to find not just one, but two claws in one day when I hadn't found a single one before this! One is larger than the other and more curved and fearsome looking (well, as far as microfossils go). The bigger one is just over 4mm and the smaller one is a bit over 2mm. I also included a piece which looks maybe like a weird helodus tooth, maybe a fish mouth plate, or maybe a tiny prehistoric iron. Its size is just under 4mm. I'll summon the experts who helped me out last time, @ThePhysicist and @jdp, would you mind taking a look at these? Claw # 1: 4mm Claw #2: 2mm Unknown fishy bit: 4mm That's all, thanks for looking!
  5. Hello! This is a long shot and will probably read more like a Craigslist "missed connections" ad, but I figured it was worth a shot! My husband and I were on a road cut looking for fossils today (Feb 27) between Randlett and Waurika, Oklahoma. A group stopped and asked if we were fossiling and we all ended up having a great chat. Y'all had come from the Whiteside Museum of Natural History Permian Fest and were headed further south into Texas. I believe y'all were associated with the American Museum of Natural History... we didn't exchange names (why?? haha) but y'all pointed us to a fossil hunting site and put it into my husbands map. We never found it! So if by some miracle one of you see this, we would love to try and find the place again. Thank you for the directions (even though we clearly didn't follow them) and for looking at some of our finds and sharing some of yours!
  6. ThePhysicist

    Orthacanthus teeth

    From the album: Permian

    Some more complete Orthacanthus teeth, each maybe about 1/4" in size
  7. ThePhysicist

    Handful of broken Orthacanthus

    From the album: Permian

    One of the most common fossils from the Permian (this locality in particular). Unfortunately, they are almost always broken. Of the hundreds of teeth I have, perhaps only a few larger than a couple of mm are mostly complete.
  8. ThePhysicist

    Eryops tooth

    From the album: Permian

    Eryops teeth are conical (this one bears no carinae, though don't know if that's true for the whole dentition), and often have basal creases.
  9. ThePhysicist

    Permian micro display

    From the album: Permian

    It's remarkable how much of an ecosystem's diversity can be captured in a space smaller than a matchbox. In this case are the likes of Dimetrodon, Eryops, Archeria, Seymouria et al.
  10. ThePhysicist

    Secodontosaurus tooth?

    From the album: Permian

    Teeth from the Permian are often difficult, nigh impossible to identify with confidence. This tooth is strongly carinated, with the carinae proceeding to the base of the crown. It has no labio-lingual curvature and an irregular enamel texture. My best guess at the moment is a synapsid, something like Secodontosaurus.
  11. ThePhysicist

    Orthacanthus serrations

    From the album: Permian

    Orthacanthus (a Xenacathid Chondrichthyan) have squared-off, irregular serrations - distinct from those on say, Dimetrodon.
  12. ThePhysicist

    Orthacanthus bite marks

    From the album: Permian

    I commonly see bite marks on many of these fossils. Some like those on this Orthacanthus cusp were likely made by serrations raking across the surface.
  13. Hey everyone, I've been recently reading through Mark McKinzie's book, Oklahoma Fossil Localities. It's got tons of useful information and has been inspiring me to plan out some future trips across the red river once I'm back in DFW. Hunting for Permian micros in Waurika is at the top of my list, but I have a few questions about the main site and surrounding road cuts. If anyone could reach out to me via PM to discuss Waurika, I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks
  14. Hello, I found this in a microfossil sample from Waurika, Oklahoma, which is the lower Permian. I was unable to match it with anything apart from Dimetrodon or Edaphosaurus claws. I'm likely just being hopeful, but compared to teeth from the same site, it would appear to have no enamel. Could this be a claw from one of these? It's extremely small, about 2.5mm across. Thank you
  15. ThePhysicist

    Bitten Dimetrodon spine

    From the album: Permian

    Dimetrodon spines have a unique shape: ^ Brink et al. (2019) Many bones in the matrix I have appear to have bite marks - parallel grooves in bone. My amateur guess is that these are scavenging marks from a Dimetrodon carcass that got washed into a river and got chomped by Xenacanthid sharks (there certainly are other possibilities).
  16. ThePhysicist


    From the album: Permian

    A freshwater cartilaginous fish with crushing teeth.
  17. ThePhysicist

    Xenacanthid denticles

    From the album: Permian

    The "sharks" that swam the rivers and lakes of the Early Permian wouldn't be fun to pet!
  18. ThePhysicist

    Mystery tooth

    From the album: Permian

    I'm convinced it's a tooth, but not sure what kind. More images here.
  19. ThePhysicist

    Permian reptile teeth?

    Hi y'all, I was thinking again about some Permian reptile teeth, I've seen them referred to online as 'parareptile,' but would like collective and/or professional insight. They are pretty distinctive, with a smooth labial face, and a striated lingual face. These are all from Waurika, OK (Wellington fm, Lower Permian). I have several examples, but they're not much different from these two. @jdp @dinodigger 3.5 mm tall: 2 mm tall: They vaguely remind me of a Caseid tooth, which has the same character of the striations/no striations (or I at least think this one is Caseid...). ^ Reisz (2019)
  20. ThePhysicist

    Very strange Permian tooth... synapsid?

    Hi y'all, I found this strange micro Permian tooth. I haven't seen anything like it. It's from Waurika, OK (Wellington Fm.?, Early Permian), has textured enamel, has a broad crown but is VERY thin/compressed, and shows slight crenelations/serrations? on the edges. It's about 2 mm in height. It's not a fish tooth or scale (otherwise there'd be enameloid on only one side were it a scale), not Orthacanthid "shark" (textured enamel, broad, compressed crown), not amphibian (not conical or labyrinthodont), which leaves reptile or synapsid. Any help to narrow it down further would be very much appreciated. @jdp@dinodigger Side profile: Basal view:
  21. ThePhysicist

    Dimetrodon claw

    From the album: Permian

    Just the end of a Dimetrodon terminal phalange (claw). It could be an undescribed synapsid, but it seems to fit the morphology of a small Dimetrodon claw well (namely the sharp "v"-shaped cross section of the flexor tubercle). Length: 4 mm ^ Maddin & Reisz (2007)
  22. ThePhysicist

    Synapsid claw

    From the album: Permian

    Length: 3 mm
  23. ThePhysicist

    Caseid tooth (1)

    From the album: Permian

    Caseid synapsid tooth from the Early Permian. ^ Reisz (2019)
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