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After 50 Plus Years, A Fossil Is Revealed


LoneRanger

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In the early 1960s, I collected Triassic fossils from Granton Quarry in North Bergen NJ. This was a phenomenal Triassic site, producing many fish fossils plus rare reptiles such as the gliding Icarosaurus.

Back then, I found several complete fish. But one piece remained a mystery for 50+ years. It is a roughly 3-inch cigar-shaped lump in a 7 X 5 inch piece of very hard, black shale. I always thought there was a fossil inside the lump, but the tough shale cover stymied me.

Three years ago I took the piece to the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences and had the staff paleontologist (a Triassic specialist) look at it. He blasted it with dolomite for a few minutes, but this didn't cut the shale surface. He gave the piece back, telling me it was likely a coprolite or concretion and not worth the effort to reveal what was under the surface.

Fast forward: A week ago, I bought a Makita wet stone grinder & polisher to shape and polish agatized wood. It's a tool designed for granite and marble fabricators, but used by petrified wood enthusiasts. I couldn't resist using it on my Granton piece, and the diamond pads cut right through the surface. Inside the "lump" is a vertebrate -- maybe a fish, but I can't ID it. The tiny bones are replaced by light blue silica, and they almost look opalized.

All photos were taken through a microscope, and these are some examples. First photo: the fossil has no head, but these look like vertebrae that are near the head (field of view is just under one-half inch, and violet is a light reflection off the surface). Behind these vertebrae are scattered bones and scales(?), followed by more interesting structures seen in the next photos. Second and third photos: very thin bones and scales (?) that trail off and eventually disappear.

 

 

post-3634-0-34838800-1369260422_thumb.jpg  post-3634-0-81463100-1369260453_thumb.jpg  post-3634-0-79004100-1369260474_thumb.jpg

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Would love to have collected at Granton at some time in the past.

Neat find, looks fishy to me.

Any chance of a shot of the entire specimen?

Thanks for posting this.

Regards,

    Tim    VETERAN SHALE SPLITTER

   MOTM.png.61350469b02f439fd4d5d77c2c69da85.png      PaleoPartner.png.30c01982e09b0cc0b7d9d6a7a21f56c6.png.a600039856933851eeea617ca3f2d15f.png     Postmaster1.jpg.900efa599049929531fa81981f028e24.jpg    VFOTM.png.f1b09c78bf88298b009b0da14ef44cf0.png  VFOTM APRIL - 2015  

__________________________________________________
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
John Muir ~ ~ ~ ~   ><))))( *>  About Me      

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The bones and scales(?) are so tiny that a photo of the entire specimen doesn't show much beyond a light blue blur on a black background. This fossil needs magnification to see its parts clearly, so I've only posted micro-photos.

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Interesting.

Since all the scales are very much jumbled together inside this, I would still consider the possibility this is a coprolite, with digested remains of fish. As mentioned above a wider photograph would help.

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The more I think about it, the more I agree that it's a coprolite with a partly digested fish.

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That's probably a good bet - coprolite with scales.

I was thinking along the same lines.

Here is one of mine from the Shuttle Meadow Fm. (Early Jurassic) here in CT.

post-2806-0-64120200-1369315512_thumb.jp

The coprolites here were believed to be made by Diplurus longicaudatus, the larger coelacanth found in the Newark Supergroup.

Yours being from Granton, though, opens up the possibility that it is from a reptile or large fish.

A very neat find. - especially with the blue colors.

Thanks for posting this material. Love to see the material from the Newark Supergroup.

Any chance of some pics of your complete fish from Granton?

Regards,

    Tim    VETERAN SHALE SPLITTER

   MOTM.png.61350469b02f439fd4d5d77c2c69da85.png      PaleoPartner.png.30c01982e09b0cc0b7d9d6a7a21f56c6.png.a600039856933851eeea617ca3f2d15f.png     Postmaster1.jpg.900efa599049929531fa81981f028e24.jpg    VFOTM.png.f1b09c78bf88298b009b0da14ef44cf0.png  VFOTM APRIL - 2015  

__________________________________________________
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
John Muir ~ ~ ~ ~   ><))))( *>  About Me      

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Alright Fossildude, here are pics of a shale slab with 4 complete coelacanth fishes (Diplurus newarki) from Granton, plus 2 isolated heads. In the first photo, one of the fish heads is at the far left, crushed flat and appearing as a dark oval with mandible bones below the oval. The other fish head is sitting on top of one of the complete fish (the fish looking to the right -- isolated head is sitting in the middle of its body). The other photos are close ups of the two pairs of complete fish, which are each around 3 inches long.

 

 

post-3634-0-58556700-1369485121_thumb.jpg  post-3634-0-33873500-1369485135_thumb.jpg  post-3634-0-69881100-1369485153_thumb.jpg

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beautiful piece LR, thanks for sharing these :)

"Your serpent of Egypt is bred now of your mud by the operation of your sun; so is your crocodile." Lepidus

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Thank you, Lone Ranger! :)

That is an astounding plate! :faint:

The Diplurus newarki I've seen have all been hard to see, and not nearly as well preserved as yours.

Thanks again for posting this.

Regards,

    Tim    VETERAN SHALE SPLITTER

   MOTM.png.61350469b02f439fd4d5d77c2c69da85.png      PaleoPartner.png.30c01982e09b0cc0b7d9d6a7a21f56c6.png.a600039856933851eeea617ca3f2d15f.png     Postmaster1.jpg.900efa599049929531fa81981f028e24.jpg    VFOTM.png.f1b09c78bf88298b009b0da14ef44cf0.png  VFOTM APRIL - 2015  

__________________________________________________
"In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks."
John Muir ~ ~ ~ ~   ><))))( *>  About Me      

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LoneRanger, you might want to send the photos to Paul Olsen to see what he thinks....

Dr. Paul E. Olsen

Geoscience

61 Route 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades, NY
10964-8000

The plural of "anecdote" is not "evidence".

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