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Unidentified White Capsule-shaped Fossils


Caverat

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Collected at Mazon Creek, Essex #11 in Illinois in 1973, but it wasn't a typical ironstone concretion. Just a large piece of ironstone(?), with lots of tiny white segmented elongated ovals. The light blue grid is one inch. Magnified image is 40X.

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11144_1.jpg

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The segmenting looks like semi random cracking/veining. They sort of look like fecal pellets. Do they have any relief or are they flush with the surface?

 

@GeschWhat

Edited by DPS Ammonite
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They are flush with the surface, but that may be because the fracture passed through them as a weakened portion. I need to check with some fecal experts!

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Something I've never seen from my limited exposure to Mazon Creek fossils. We have a pretty deep knowledge reserve in our members who are very familiar with this Lagerstätte. Looking forward to responses.

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Intriguing. Imagine finding something like that on mars...

Just in case you like reading a detective story about fossils on mars, I can recommend "red planet blues"

 

Courious to hear what this is.

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These do look very similar in shape to a specimen I posted earlier this year, although mine were raised:

I have since found two other specimens that I hope to post soon that also have these shapes, also raised. I'm not sure if yours not being raised makes a difference as far as identification - maybe it doesn't matter. @GeschWhat was very informative in talking about the specimen I posted.

 

Very cool! Chris

 

 

 

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5 hours ago, bigred97 said:

These do look very similar in shape to a specimen I posted earlier this year, although mine were raised:

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I have since found two other specimens that I hope to post soon that also have these shapes, also raised. I'm not sure if yours not being raised makes a difference as far as identification - maybe it doesn't matter. @GeschWhat was very informative in talking about the specimen I posted.

 

Very cool! Chris

 

 

 

 

I agree Chris.  Similar to yours.  Gut pellets from a leech.

 

Cheers,

Rich

 

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The preservation is quite similar to Mazon Creek, and looks like some concretions halves I have seen and collected. Not all are "perfectly" shaped, and many have variations of color and texture as this one does. I am not familiar with any specimens that resemble this one. Whether it is raised or relieved may be a default of which half of an MC concretion it is, if it is indeed a concretion. Photos are difficult to work with, as we all know. I can't make a call on this one.

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Thanks for looking! I'm going with the gut pellets until I get something more convincing. I do wonder why the interiors are all filled with white material and none are whole, but disected through their middles....

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Sorry, I'm late chiming in. They do look like fecal pellets in the closeup. It is hard to tell for sure from the photos whether they are calcareous or phosphatic, but I'm leaning toward the latter. The rounded ends give me a worm vibe.  It is always hard to identify poop producers. We can only guess based on the droppings of modern critters. This is a very wonderful specimen. I don't think I've seen tiny fecal pellets from Mazon Creek with this composition.

 

HappyPoo2.gif.87b25d45093454f1eeeaabebe5288f2b.gif

On 12/1/2020 at 8:43 AM, Fossildude19 said:

@RCFossils  @Nimravis   @Mark Kmiecik  @stats   @fiddlehead

 

This actually looks a bit like insect larvae to me. 

The overall photos do give that impression. However, the closeup photo is more typical of coprolites. Larvea would likely be more flattened during the fossilization process. Coprolites are more likely to retain a 3 dimensional shape because the moisture content is usually less than that of the animal producing them. 

 

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21 hours ago, Caverat said:

Thanks for looking! I'm going with the gut pellets until I get something more convincing. I do wonder why the interiors are all filled with white material and none are whole, but disected through their middles....

I am not sure what you mean by dissected through the middle, is it the fact that they appear flat and not raised? Or that they appear all to be more or less the same size although on could expect some appearing smaller when only a peripheral section is visible?

The former may be easily explained if the hardness of the fossil is the same as the matrix, the latter I do not know, maybe thats your weakened portion as mentioned above.

Maybe the pellets a where deposited on one surface parallel to the fracture that opened the nodule?

Best Regards,

J

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I made the comment because other specimens were all domed and none exposed the interior. All of these are exposed through the middle. They are not raised as shown in the binocular microscope image. Geschwhat feels they are phosphatic filled, which could indicate a similar hardness.

And best regards to you!

Dennis

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I believe these are coprolites deposited in a burrow. And since it is fun to speculate, I will go a step further. Modern Spoon Worms (echiurans) seldom leave their burrows. And their diet consists of scooping sediment to collect organic particles. The earliest example of echiurans in the fossil record is found at Mazon Creek. Due to the fact that they seem to always be found with visible copious amounts of coprolites in their guts, they were given the aptly applied name of Coprinoscolex ellogimus. The coprolites seen in C. ellogimus look very much like the one in this fossil. All I'm saying is, they have to be "going" somewhere. If anything, it is surprising why more of this kind of fossil are not found. Attached is an excessively full example C. ellogimus.

 

Hope this helps

 

Jack

JW_P1010047.jpg

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Thanks Jack for the authoritative input. :)

 

 

Cheers.

 

-Ken

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Excellent information! Thank you very much for adding to my store of information about this specimen. I will be moving this specimen up in my status ranking!

Dennis

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