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Kid's Question


chirqa

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Hello!

My kid found this rock on the beach in Latvia and is asking if those are fossils. I said they might be, but he is not satisfied with a "might".

Sorry if this is the wrong place to ask such a newbie question.

Gunars from Latvia.

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Hi Gunars

You can tell him "yes" without any doubt at all. It's what we call a "hash plate" since it contains fossil debris from a mixture of marine organisms that have sunk to the ocean floor, been churned up and fossilized into limestone. I can see segments from crinoids (marine animals that look like rather like plants) and broken brachiopods (sometimes known as "lamp-shells") among other things.

Roger

I keep six honest serving-men (they taught me all I knew);Their names are What and Why and When and How and Where and Who [Rudyard Kipling]

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Yep, I see Crinoid segments and brachiopod shells. The Crinoids looked a bit like sea lilies- the circular rings would have formed a stalk and on the top of that there would have been a flowerlike "head", hence the name sea lily. However, Crinoids were actually animals, and are related to star fish. Brachiopods looked like clams, but some major differences between the two are that brachiopods are bilaterally symmetrical and are stationary while most clams are mobile. Some of these pre-historic animals actually still exist today, but they are not as numerous or diverse. I'm sorry if you already know this stuff- I'm just trying to give you some information about the organisms to tell your son.

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Many thanks for your replies. My seven year old will be very inspired by this. We will study brachiopods and crinoids and look for more limestones at the beach. This will make a great summer project. And I thought that fossils in Latvia are only found as insects in amber, which is plentiful here.

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If you find anything else that's interesting or that you have questions about, feel free to post it also.

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post-15361-0-51342700-1400816065_thumb.jpg

I hunt for the exact same fossils here in Upstate New York with my children. My son and daughter have a great-grandfather from Riga, how small the world really is!

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Seven is an age of wonder and dawning awareness, and fossils are a fascinating gateway to discovery; I'd like to do seven all over again!

"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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