FOSSIL & MINERAL
Identify all your specimens here. Did you find a Dinosaur Bone? A 500-Milllion Year Old Trilobite? Or, is this a Ruby or Garnet? Wow, I think this is a Emerald – let’s check…
Identifying Your Fossils & Minerals Is Easy…
Excited about what you found? Now its time to identify your “find”. Simply match the specimens you found to the pictures below.
Oh, yes – if you’re wondering about that photo to the right – we took a bunch of our clients on a real fossil dig in Utah several years ago. Everyone came home with a huge collection of real fossils and beautiful gems.
Although agates can form in all types of host rock, most of the world’s agates developed in ancient volcanic lava. When the continents were first forming, layers of molten lava pushed toward the earth’s surface through rift zone cracks, volcanoes, and other geologic events.
Agates naturally develop when an empty pocket inside a host rock fills in molecule-by-molecule, layer-by-layer as these microcrystals self organize to form concentric bands or other patterns. The colors and arrangement of the microcrystals are influenced by changes in pressure, temperature, and mineral content that occur during the formation process. Unlike other gemstones, each agate is unique.
Fossil/Mineral ID Chart
Fossils are formed in a number of different ways, but most are formed when a plant or animal dies in a watery environment and is buried in mud and silt. Soft tissues quickly decompose leaving the hard bones or shells behind. Over time sediment builds over the top and hardens into rock. As the encased bones decay, minerals seep in replacing the organic material cell by cell in a process called “petrification.” Alternatively the bones may completely decay leaving a cast of the organism. The void left behind may then fill with minerals making a stone replica of the organism.
Their widely-known fossils show a ribbed spiral-form shell, in the end compartment of which lived the tentacled animal. These creatures lived in the seas from at least 400 to 65 million years ago. They became extinct at the K/T extinction event. Their nearest living relatives are the octopus, squid, cuttlefish and Nautilus.
Or univalves, are the largest and most successful class of molluscs. 60,000–75,000 known living species belong to it. Most of are marine, but many live in freshwater or on land. Their fossil record goes back to the later Cambrian.
Slugs and snails, abalones, limpets, cowries, conches, top shells, whelks, and sea slugsare all gastropods. The gastropods are in origin sea-floor predators, though they did evolve into many other habitats. Many lines living today evolved in the Mesozoic era, taking advantage of the huge supply of food on the sea floor.
(Greek meaning “head-foot”) are an important class of molluscs. They have bilateral symmetry, a head, and arms or tentacles. Teuthology, a branch of malacology, is the study of cephalopods.
The class has two living subclasses. In the Coleoidea, the mollusc shell has become smaller, or is not there at all; this subclass has the octopus, squid, and cuttlefish. The Nautiloidea have a shell; Nautilus is its only living genus.
There are at least 800 different living species of Cephalopods. Two important extinct taxa are the Ammonites, and the Belemnites (order Belemnoidea, of class Coleoidea). Cephalopods are found in all the oceans of the world and at all pelagic levels. None of them can live in freshwater (water with no salt in it), but a few species live in brackish (partly salty) water.
Are a phylum of small marineshellfish, sometimes called lampshells. They are not common today, but in the Palaeozoic they were one of the most common types. They lived near the shore(littoral zone), but now they have been pushed into deeper water by competition from bivalve molluscs.
At their peak in the Palaeozoic era the brachiopods were among the most abundant filter-feeders and reef-builders, and occupied other ecological niches, including swimming in the jet-propulsion style of scallops. Brachiopod fossils have been useful indicators of climate changes during the Paleozoic era.
They do look rather like bivalves, but their internal organisation is quite different.Their mostly calcium carbonate shells or “valves” have upper and lower surfaces, unlike the left and right arrangement in bivalve molluscs. Brachiopod valves are hinged at the rear end. The front can be opened for feeding or closed for protection.
Two major groups are recognized, articulate and inarticulate. Articulate brachiopods have toothed hinges and simple opening and closing muscles, while inarticulate brachiopods have untoothed hinges and a more complex system of muscles used to fit the two halves together. In a typical brachiopod a stalk-like pedicleprojects from an opening in one of the valves (the pedicle valve). Its function is to attach the animal to the seabed but clear of silt that would obstruct the opening.
Brachiopods have a huge fossil record going back to the Cambrian. They were much reduced by the two main extinction events, the P/Tr and K/T. Bivalve molluscs took over their inshore habitats in the Mesozoic, and since then the brachiopods have been confined to deeper water, except for a handful of species. There are about 100 to 350 species living; the fossil species number 12,000.
Are a class of Echinoderms. They have two forms, the sea lilies, stalked forms attached to the sea floor, and the feather stars, which are free-living.
All crinoids are marine, and live both in shallow water and in depths as great as 6000 meters. The basic echinoderm pattern of fivefold symmetry can be recognized, but most crinoids have many more than five arms. Crinoids have a mouth on the top surface that is surrounded by feeding arms.
The crinoids have a long history. They were the first echinoderms to appear in the fossilrecord, and have kept their early structure throughout their long career. They were extremely common in the Palaeozoic, and some rocks from the Carboniferous consist almost entirely of fossil crinoids.
Are a large and diverse group of marine cephalopods (Mollusca) belonging to the subclass Nautiloidea. They began in the later Cambrian, and are represented today by the living Nautilus.
Nautiloids flourished during the early Palaeozoic era, when they were the main predatory animals. They developed an extraordinary ramge of shell shapes and forms. Some 2,500 species of fossilnautiloids are known, though only a few species survive today.
Are made up of small invertebrate animals, known as zooids, that look like tiny sea anemones. They feed on small food particles they find in the water around them.
Together, many zooids form colonies, many colonies form reefs. Coral reefs can be massive structures, stretching hundreds of miles. The Great Barrier Reef in northern Australia can be seen from space.
The oldest coral fossils are over 500 million years old. The earliest forms were different from those we see today and they died out 225 million years ago. Modern corals are still common in tropical oceans.
Is one of the numerous teeth of a shark. A shark tooth contains resistant calcium phosphate materials. Sharks continually shed their teeth; some Carcharhiniformes shed approximately 35,000 teeth in a lifetime, replacing those that fall out. There are four basic types of shark teeth: dense flattened, needle-like, pointed lower with triangular upper, and non-functional. The type of tooth that a shark has depends on its diet and feeding habits.
In some formations, shark’s teeth are a common fossil. These fossils can be analyzed for information on shark evolutionand biology; they are often the only part of the shark to be fossilized. Fossil teeth comprise much of the fossil record of the Elasmobranchii, extending back to hundreds of millions of years. Shark teeth are also useful in conducting research about the structure of teeth, shark migration patterns, and identifying shark species.
The most ancient types of sharks date back to 450 million years ago, during the Late Ordovician period, and are mostly known by their fossilised teeth. However, the most commonly found fossil shark teeth are from the Cenozoic era (the last 66 million years).
…lived during the periods of Earth history known as the Jurassic and Cretaceous. They became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous Period at roughly the same time as the dinosaurs disappeared. Ammonites were marine animals and had a coiled external shell similar to the modern pearly nautilus.
Fossil Pink Gastropods
Fossil White Cephalopods
Cephalopods have a very long history of life on Earth (at least 550 million years). They first appear as fossils in rocks of earliest Cambrian age, and their descendants survive, albeit relatively rarely, in today’s oceans and seas. They were particularly abundant during the Palaeozoic Era (248 to 545 million years ago), and are often the most common fossils in rock of that age.
Fossil Clams Brachiopod
Bivalves have inhabited the Earth for over 500 million years. They first appeared in the Middle Cambrian, about 300 million years before the dinosaurs. They flourished in the Mesozoic and Cainozoic eras, and abound in modern seas and oceans; their shells litter beaches across the globe.
Because many crinoids resemble flowers, with their cluster of waving arms atop a long stem, they are sometimes called sea lilies. But crinoids are not plants. Like their relatives–starfishes, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, and brittle stars–crinoids are echinoderms, animals with rough, spiny surfaces and a special kind of radial symmetry based on five or multiples of five.
Crinoids have lived in the world’s oceans since at least the beginning of the Ordovician Period, roughly 490 million years ago.
Fossil Dinosaur Bone
Utah, over 65 Million Years Old
• Dinosaur fossils have been found on every continent of Earth, including Antarctica.
• Fossils help us understand what the dinosaurs were like. Information can be gathered from sources such as fossilized bones, footprints, stomach stones, feces, internal organs, soft tissues, eggs and feathers.
• Over 1000 different species of dinosaurs have been named and the list continues to grow as new fossils are discovered.
• Some of the largest fossilized dinosaur eggs ever discovered were found in China in the mid 1990’s. The eggs are over 60cm (2ft) long and 20cm (8in) wide.
Fossil (Orthoceras) Sea Squid – Morocco – Ordivician Period (300 million Years Old)
Ancient Mollusk, The Orthoceras. … Orthoceras was an ancient mollusk that lived more than 300 million years ago. The name means straight horn, referring to the characteristic long, straight, conical shell. The preserved shell is all that remains of this ancestor of our modern-day squid.
Corals are simple animals that secrete skeletons made of calcium carbonate. They are close relatives of sea anemones and jellyfish and are the main reef builders in modern oceans. Corals can be either colonial or solitary.
As fossils, corals are found worldwide in sedimentary rocks. Based on these fossils, we know that the corals began their long evolutionary history in the Middle Cambrian, over 510 million years ago. In Kansas, they are fairly common in Pennsylvanian and Permian rocks, deposited from about 315 to 250 million years ago.
Fossil Shark Teeth – Morocco – Sand Tiger Shark – over 33 Million Years Old (Eocene Period)
A shark tooth is one of the numerous teeth of a shark. A shark tooth contains resistant calcium phosphate materials. Sharks continually shed their teeth; some sharks shed approximately 35,000 teeth in a lifetime, as well as replace them by producing thousands of more. There are four basic types of shark teeth: dense flattened, needle-like, pointed lower with triangular upper, and non-functional. The type of tooth that a shark has depends on its diet and feeding habits.
POLISHED AGATES FROM BRAZIL