Jump to content

My Kansas City conodonts


Recommended Posts

The past month or so I have had a chance to examine some shale from the Stark Shale, Dennis Formation, Kansas City Group.  I have found many conodonts and I’ve enjoyed the challenge of taking pictures of them while they are still embedded in the shale.  I think I have over 100 specimens now.    Below I have posted some of my results.  I have tried to identify the element position (P, S, or M) according to Purnell, Donoghue and Aldridge’s “Orientation and Anatomical Notation in Conoodonts,” Journal of Paleontology, 74(1), 2000, pp. 113-122, although I have not distinguished among the various S elements.  In addition, I have attempted a bit of genus and species identification using Baesemann’s “Missouri (Upper Pennsylvanian) Conodonts of Northeastern Kansas,” Journal of Paleontology, 47(4), 689-710.  


I am just now beginning to experiment with dissolving the shale to extract the conodonts.  I’ve had a some luck just using a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution from a local drug store.  If I can figure this out, I should be able to get some pictures of extracted specimens.


It has been fascinating and I’ve learned some interesting things.  I have no training in biology or paleontology, and I am just a fossil hobbyist, so I expect that there are mistakes in my understanding of the terminology and in the ID of specific items.  This is likely exacerbated by my superficial reading of the articles I mentioned above.  So, feel free to correct me and I will be grateful.


Just a few things about the pictures.  The conodonts are in the 1-3 mm range.  Second, the places where the conodont appears to be black are actually where the conodont is missing.  Conodonts leave a detailed shiny mold if they are broken out or removed.  Third, certain presentations are common others are less so.  For example the P element seldom presents its dorsal view.  Fourth, depth of field is a special problem for the P elements since they tend to bulge upward--and out of focus.


I hope to continue to develop this post as my understanding grows and my specimens increase.

I have numbered each picture by means of the comment above it.




1. S element




  • I found this Informative 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

2. S element



3. S element pair



4. S elements partial assemblage




5. S elements partial assemblage (other half from the shale split)


  • I found this Informative 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting! I am looking forward to seeing more!:popcorn:

Link to post
Share on other sites

6. S element



7. S element



8. S element



9. P element



10. P element




Edited by KCMOfossil
  • I found this Informative 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Fascinating stuff! 

Thanks so much for sharing! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

12. P element



13. P element



14. P element



15. P elements



16. P elements - a pair view 1



17.  P elements - a pair view 2



18. P element



19. P element



20. P element



21. M Element



22. M element



23. M element



24. M element



25. M element



26. M element



27. M element



28. M element



29. M element - Aethotaxis advena



30. M element - Aethotaxis advena



31. M element - Aethotaxis advena



32. M element - Aethotaxis advena



33. M element - Idiognathodus delicatus



34. M element - Idiognathodus delicatus



35. M element - Idiognathodus delicatus



36. M element - Idiognathodus delicatus



37. M element - Idioprioniodus lexingtonensis



38. M element - Idioprioniodus lexingtonensis



39. M element - Idioprioniodus lexingtonensis



40. M element - Idioprioniodus lexingtonensis



41. M element ?



42. M element ?



43a. M element ? 43a and 43b are two halve of one specimen that would not fit in a single short.  43a is the right side, 43b is the left.



43b.  M element ? second half of 43a.



44. M element ?


  • I found this Informative 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice finds!

Thanks for sharing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

You may find this publication interesting:




I am interested in its detailed descriptions of Midcontinent cyclothems, but it also describes the types of conodonts found in each, particularly in what are referred to as 'condensed intervals'. These intervals are often black shales like the Hushpuckney and Stark, but in some minor cyclothems, they can be limestones. One of these is the Exline Limestone within the Pleasanton Group. With luck, one could recover some conodonts from this thin bed after dissolving some with HCl acid. I've yet to encounter the Exline, but there is always a first time... 


(Edit: not yet sure on the use of HCl on Ca-phosphate conodonts... should test a small sample....)

  • I found this Informative 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Very nice specimens and photos. I really like how I could see the fine serrated teeth. 

Link to post
Share on other sites


detailing apatite diagenetic structures in conodonts,and written by people who know their conodonts back to front,and back again,sideways...

you get my drift

about 5,5 Mb I think

recommended reading


  • I found this Informative 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 1/28/2018 at 12:39 AM, Missourian said:

describes the types of conodonts found in each

Thanks, Missourian, for the link to this fascinating article.  I am hopeful that with time I will be able to identify more species based on their specific stratigraphic location.

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, doushantuo said:


detailing apatite diagenetic structures in conodonts,and written by people who know their conodonts back to front,and back again,sideways...

Fascinating article.  Thanks.  It shows how much there is to learn about and from these tiny fossils--for example, palaeoclimatic information derived from their chemistry.

Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, JUAN EMMANUEL said:

Very nice specimens and photos.

Thanks, Juan.  I, too, find them fascinating.  Their "teeth" make that microscopic ancient world seem ferocious.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Cool stuff.  It is always nice to see things that we don't see too see a lot of.  

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 years later...

Going through some shale from the Stark Shale Member (or, perhaps Hushpuckney Shale) of the Pennsylvanian, Kansas City Group, and found this interesting assemblage of four S elements.  The conodont elements are about 3mm long.



Below are three close-ups.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Create New...