What is it?

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    Gail Tennant

    Found this slightly in-ground in a sunflower field this fall.  Has a matrix on it.  As I have just joined this website and have now seen one of the tutorials about removing matrix — I may give this a try to see if it reveals more.  I only fear I may wreck something as a novice.  I apologize for the snapshots — I will try to improve this also.  Let me know if you think you may be able to identify or if any additional shots (or better shots) are needed.  Thank you all.

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    Jim Chandler

    Hi Gail,  I have not collected any fossils in the West so I am not very familiar with fossils in that area.  My best guess to get the discussion going is that it is a bone of some kind. (maybe a hoof, but I am very much guessing.)  If I found a similar fossil in a marine sediment I might be tempted to call it a coral, but I think it may be a bone.  Where in South Dakota did you find it.  Combining the location with a geological map may help you narrow down what kind of environment it was formed in. A simple map is found at http://www.sdgs.usd.edu/geologyofsd/geosd.html  

    Also look at websites about the fossils of South Dakota.  https://www3.northern.edu/natsource/earth/Fossil1.htm  

    If it is a bone it does not look like it has much matrix to remove.  Hopefully someone more knowledgeable of fossils in your area will respond too.


    Jack Kallmeyer

    @gail-tennant, @jim-chandler  I’d say it is definitely bone and I don’t see any matrix on it.  You need to have someone put eyes on the specimen before you start removing anything that you think is matrix as it may be part of the fossil.

    The specimen looks quite porous. Is it fairly light in weight or really heavy like a rock of the same size?  I agree with Jim in that it could be a hoof core.


    Gail Tennant

    Thank you Jack for the links.  I don’t think I had found that website prior as I really didn’t know it was as extensive as it is.  My read on this specimen is that — yes, I thought digit/toe maybe… especially when I turned it over.   It is very heavy for its size.  It was found almost dead center SD in NE Sully County.  I picked up some smaller black rocks also that upon further sharing with a few friends who rockhound — they suspicion that they are bone.  But that’s a different find.  Thank you for the suggestion to not mess with the matrix — I have been torn by that idea.  SD School of Mines is about a 3 hour drive one way for me but I may need to make a trip there this winter.

    I also picked up the fossil I posted on my account on this same field which SD School of Mines tentatively ID’d per email pictures and I related on my account posting.  I would love any feedback on that fossil also as no one with expertise has had a hands-on look at them yet.

    Gail Tennant

    Forgive me.  New to this thought I was replying properly but see I messed up.  Jim, thank you for the links & Jack, thank you for the info to not mess with the matrix or specimen!

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