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Hornby Island Mystery Fossil


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This is possibly one of the least photogenic fossils in my collection, but it is also probably the only one that I have absolutely no idea what it is. Perhaps someone will have encountered something similar and can offer a suggestion?

The fossil consists of a bundle of fine tubes. Each individual tube is about 1 mm or somewhat less in diameter, and is almost perfectly circular in cross section. The tubes are all packed together, in a bundle about 1 cm in diameter, but they do not appear to actually touch one another. Individual tubes are long; they appear to extend through the whole diameter of the concretion, a distance of 11 cm, without showing any taper. They are smooth on the exterior, and show no evidence of internal partitions or suture lines. The interior is whitish calcite, and the exterior seems to be a brown material. I can see no sign that the tubes branch off of one another.

The specimen comes from the Northumberland Formation on Hornby Island, British Columbia, and is Campanian (Upper Cretaceous) in age. Associated fossils include a diversity of ammonites, bivalves, not too infrequent crabs, infrequent gastropods, and rare vertebrates (mosasaurs, pterosaurs, shark teeth). Fossils are mostly found in concretions in greyish shale; deposition rates were probably fairly low (as the larger ammonites are preserved with the side to the sediment intact but the upper surface dissolved away), and water depth was well below wave base, probably at least 100 meters.

So, any suggestions?


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All I can think of it some kind of feather worm colony.

"There has been an alarming increase in the number of things I know nothing about." - Ashleigh Ellwood Brilliant

“Try to learn something about everything and everything about something.” - Thomas Henry Huxley

>Paleontology is an evolving science.

>May your wonders never cease!

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It kinda looks like the Paleozoic coral Pleurodictyum to me. Do you find corals in this formation? Whatever it is I think it photographs well.


Many times I've wondered how much there is to know.  
led zeppelin


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is that a bit of shell on the bottom of the second pic? Am guessing a crab or other shelled invert with a burrowing organism occupying the interior. the shell is removed and we are looking at burrow terminations? all guesses of course.....

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Odd... It looks like each 'spine' is made of a hollow shell material (filled with calcite as the case may be), correct? I guess if it was just filled burrows you would be able to tell. My first thought was something plant-related, but not if there is no carbonization.

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