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So an interesting summer. As some of you might know, Parks and Recreation came down hard on the Red Hill site while I was working there. At some point, the site had been transferred to Forestry, ya go figure. So there has not been an active permit for some time. But I was homeless and in need of a project so I was able to connect with Prof. Dave Broussard of Lycoming College and shift my focus to the sites along Rt 15 north of Williamsport. Still Catskill although the exposures at Powys Curve are Sherman Creek (Frasian) member instead of the Duncannon (Fammenian). I had collected there with my son Ian  a while ago but was at one of the less productive sites I've been visiting this summer. 

This is the find of the summer (maybe lifetime). It is a Tristichopterid, like Hyneria. Its at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philly and just being described now for a publication by Ted Daeschler. 

 

 

USVTristSkull.jpg

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Whoa!  :blink:

Really cool Paul!

Thanks for posting this. 

 

Sad to hear about the Red Hill site, though.  :( 

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Congratulations! I can imagine your excitement at finding it. Did you realize what it was when you saw it? Were there any other bits and pieces in the area? Exciting!

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That does look like the find of a lifetime. Huge congratulations. Must be nice knowing you are making a big contribution to science.

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Thanks for sharing @Paul1719,  I literally just got out to the Williamsport area this past weekend collecting for the first time at sites just up and down the road from where you found this.  I was amazed at how many different time periods are represented at the surface in such a small geographic location.  Best of all its only a couple hour drive for me and my kid is looking to go to school out that way so I might have an excuse for extra trips.

 

I'm grateful this was found by someone who actually recognized the importance of the find and posessed of the skill to get it out. I love banging rocks but I dread the thought of coming across something scientifically important at my current skill/knowledge level.

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Fantastic find!  It just goes to show the importance of the Red Hill site, if it is still producing scientifically important specimens.

 

What do you think the prognosis for the site is likely to be?  Is the current "no permit" situation just a temporary result of the handoff between government departments, or is Forestry likely to close the site to research?

 

Don

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I feel very fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time. Of course, that was helped by being laid-off and selling my farm in Massachusetts. I tend to take anything with any potential home (actually my ex-wifes right now). It was there that I split this out from a large boulder. Having a one ton truck does allow me to take everything. I took it and the following maxilla to the Academy of Natural Sciences at the end of July and spent a day in the lab visiting with Daeschler's team and seeing a lot of fossils. Ted Daeschler is meeting this week with DCNR to try and get a permit so hopefully we'll be able to get back to Red Hill.

So here is a maxilla from the same Tristichopterid site (also at ANSP). There is also a dermopalatine element with it.

 

Maxilla.thumb.jpg.16d88b0b9bbb8a463582e1792592634a.jpg

And here is an update on the progress of the prep by Fred Mullison. It includes elements from the extra scapulars to the snout and the cheeks. The pineal series is absolutely stunning (just right of center).

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There is a broken cleithrum in the original post but cleithrums even through pretty flimsy seem to be a dime a dozen at this site …or at least their impressions. This impression has exquisite detail. I am going to try doing a latex mold.of it. 

Cleithrum01.thumb.jpg.3d7140d5fcf1e7567cce12c840b144f0.jpg

a partial gular, visceral view.

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and partially exposed in dermal or ventral view.

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and here is an opercular in visceral view.

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I'll have a lot more but here is one really unusual find. It was collected near the Tristichopterid site but in a different outcrop. This is Fammenian so ray-finned fish are just evolving so they are rare and especially in the Catskill formation and especially this size. This fossil was found in what I think is a concretion.

DSCN7929.thumb.jpg.ec4887b773148a97d81f00a31ca0c911.jpg

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Fantastic, Paul!  :SlapHands:

 

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Thanks, The skull obviously was difficult to give up but I'd rather see it in a publication than sitting on my shelf… I think? Actually it was a bit of a relief to not have the responsibility of prepping it further. Those skull bones while perfectly preserved are very fragile. It went to the world class preparation skills of Fred Mullison at ANSP.  So this site at the Cogan House exit is a bit of enigma. All the material has been found in the floats at the bottom of the road cut. The lens they came from does not appear to exist anymore as far as we can tell, meaning it entirely collapsed and fell to the bottom of the exposure.

This Tristichopterid was formerly designated as Eustenodon but is probably a different genus. The paper I'm guessing will come out in 2020. Before that, fans of Red Hill will get to see the Megalichthyes paper (probably JVP) which material has languished for quite a while at the UofChicago. The material from Red Hill is stunning. I should have taken pictures!?!? So here's a few more things from that site before I move on.

This is a rostral jaw fragment looking dorsally. The dentary is on the bottom and the splenial is that bar like bone in the middle. In the space between the two should be the coronoids but this was my first find, sitting on the bottom of the slope having fallen from the lens about 20 meters up. Pretty amazing the quality of these fossils after taking such a fall.

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Here is another jaw from a different perspective. The marginal dentary teeth are clearly visible at the top and in the upper left is the end of the dentary fang. The impression and tip of the first coronoid fang is upper middle and the second coronoid fang is upper left. Apologies for poor quality of the picture. I think I have whacked my camera once too many times.

Jaw201.thumb.jpg.f8462994e50f4da65082614f726cce8a.jpg

There were scales by the bucketload here. The image on the left is a visceral view with Tristichopterid boss in the middle and the fringe at the bottom. The right image is dermal view. Caudal facing fringe is towards the upper left.

Scale03.jpg.6b384ac7df0163fb9acb23dbfa4e5d1d.jpgScale10.thumb.jpg.fbd167e6aea9c2dd930e66bd1261c17b.jpg

This Megalichthyid skull was found in the floats on the slope. It is now at the ANSP being prepped for the paper.

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Lots of scales too.

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The site is very similar in lithology to Red Hill and of course there are placoderms. Here is the median dorsal plate (fin) of Turrisaspis. 

Turrisaspis01.thumb.jpg.0d1c2fe8e07482e0f1a55eabbc8df08d.jpg

There are also Phyllolepis placoderm plates. I did find a at least partly articulated one at another site but it was so fragile it fell apart before I could save it.

5d78f91c805d9_Phyllolepisplate.thumb.jpg.b0a25442a9951eb084281526d1cbbefc.jpg

 

 

 

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I'm going to move to a couple eastern sites. These are barrow pits with exposed Catskill red beds. Tetrapod fossils seem to be associated with Gyracanthus and only the Trout Run North site where a tetrapod (Whatcheerid) femur was found has produced any Gyracanthus material. Both sites are in Muncy Valley. The first had these huge Holoptychius scales but little else. 

 

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The second site was a jackpot for Gyracanthus spines (although poorly preserved) and some Megalichthyid scales but little else. This is a fraction of what I found in a tiny lens.

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These were worth checking out but did not produce anything research quality.

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:trilosurprise:

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Two sites on the northern end of Rt 15 in Pennsylvania expose all or most of the undifferentiated Catskill Formation. The northernmost site, Tioga, is across the highway from the Pennsylvania Welcome Center. This exposure starts at the Lock Haven Formation at the north end and continues to the Huntley Mountain Formation on the south end. Tioga represents a near shore environment with marine and terrestrial sediments. 

 

This first image is from the entrance ramp for the welcome center. 

TiogaVC2017b.thumb.jpg.3e9d651e60df16445a974d53e36e87a5.jpg

So this near shore environment has the typical Holoptychius/Bothriolepis fauna but also includes large arthrodire placoderms like Dunkleosteus. Here is an unid'd head shield plate from a unid'd arthrodire. 

TiogaArthrodirePlate.thumb.jpg.de6cf0a2b47d56b5c3f6e0d04f2ca972.jpg

Here is the counter-part

TiogaArthrodirePlate2.thumb.jpg.9741359ada96a7c86be19cc9ad7fa766.jpg

More to come!

 

 

 

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  • 9 months later...

As I worked through the specimens brought home from the 2019 during my stay at home, I found probably one of the best I've ever found in a block of scales from the "Cogan House" Tristichopterid on Rt 15 in PA. This is one of those finds I was pretty sure I knew what it was as soon as I saw the outline. I have been looking for fin parts for over a decade with out finding anything id'able. This ulna (or possibly tibia) is part of the mass of an exceptional lens that collapsed and fell into the gutter along side the exit. It is complete and 3d!

305f.thumb.JPG.874e181f27c73970d4a5f94f5506d486.JPG0305j.thumb.JPG.71fe1adffafa9509580754752475a62a.JPG

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Oh and this will be heading down to the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia as part of the paper to describe this fish.

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Fossildude19

Excellent find, Paul!   Congratulations!

Thanks for showing this. 

We don't get to see enough of this material on the Forum, in my opinion. 

 

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