What is it?

  • 1 hour, 11 minutes ago
    James Preslicka posted an update in the group What is it?

    Looking for some help in identifying this fern to genus level if possible, so it can be posted to the emuseum.  It is from the Mazon Creek fossil beds, near Morris, Illinois, USA.  It is from the Francis Creek Shale, which if I recall correctly is Middle Pennsylvanian – Des Moinesian Stage.  Any help would be much appreciated!



  • 1 hour, 21 minutes ago
    James Preslicka joined the group What is it?
  • 12 hours, 31 minutes ago
    James Parks posted an image in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    Pressing stone for fire bow and drill? #fossil

  • 12 hours, 35 minutes ago
    James Parks posted an image in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    Grinding stone?

  • 12 hours, 37 minutes ago
    James Parks posted a new specimen in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    James Parks has contributed a new specimen to myFOSSIL!

  • 12 hours, 40 minutes ago
    James Parks posted an image in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    Hatchet or digging tool?

  • 12 hours, 41 minutes ago
    James Parks posted a new specimen in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    James Parks has contributed a new specimen to myFOSSIL!

  • 13 hours, 5 minutes ago
    James Parks posted a new specimen in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    James Parks has contributed a new specimen to myFOSSIL!

  • 13 hours, 8 minutes ago
    James Parks joined the group What is it?
  • 18 hours, 21 minutes ago
    Bianca San Miguel-Guy posted a new specimen in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    Bianca San Miguel-Guy has contributed a new specimen to myFOSSIL!

  • 18 hours, 29 minutes ago
  • 1 day, 20 hours ago
    Cameron Muskelly joined the group What is it?
  • 2 days, 2 hours ago
    Heather Gillette posted a new specimen in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    Heather Gillette has contributed a new specimen to myFOSSIL!

  • 2 days, 2 hours ago
    Heather Gillette posted a new specimen in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    Heather Gillette has contributed a new specimen to myFOSSIL!

  • 2 days, 2 hours ago
    Heather Gillette joined the group What is it?
  • 2 days, 15 hours ago
    Keith Schmidt posted a new specimen in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    Keith Schmidt has contributed a new specimen to myFOSSIL!

    • Hi @keith-schmidt – are you finding these in Michigan? Are they rocks? They look like sponges to me.

      • My uncle passed away and he was a geologist so we have a massive rock mineral and as you see fossil collection. These are very dense and very heavy. This one weighs 50+ lbs. We do not know where they came from or have any information on them. I have Michigan State University and the University of Michigan looking at them and confirmed a few of them are Palms but we have some that do not match anything in their collections or references. I am on a scavenger hunt and it is fun!

        • Hm, most of these look like sponges but it really depends on where you are finding them. I’ll be joining the University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology in the fall, maybe we can meet up so I can see them in person. @mackenzie-smith do you have any idea about if these could be palms? the structures look sponge like to me but information is limited.

          • Peter Rose at UofM thinks they may be Palms.

          • @keith-schmidt @jbauer Yes these are definitely palms. Now that it’s zoomed in and I can see a little of the cross section it is more clear. That scattered, unorganized vascular patter is characteristic of monocots (palms) and in the living ones you can even see it from their “bark” (and on this specimen). Kelly Matsunaga (who was at the University of Michigan but is now, or is now transitioning to the University of Kansas) is the palm expert. I don’t know how much taxonomic resolution you can get from palm stems (fruit are the best) but she would be the best person to ask.

  • 2 days, 15 hours ago
    Keith Schmidt posted a new specimen in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    Keith Schmidt has contributed a new specimen to myFOSSIL!

  • 2 days, 15 hours ago
    Keith Schmidt posted a new specimen in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    Keith Schmidt has contributed a new specimen to myFOSSIL!

  • 2 days, 15 hours ago
    Keith Schmidt posted a new specimen in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    Keith Schmidt has contributed a new specimen to myFOSSIL!

  • 2 days, 22 hours ago
    Keith Schmidt posted an image in the group What is it? from the myFOSSIL app

    Lepidodendron?

    • They look like it… where did you find these? Also, paging @mackenzie-smith

    • A relative passed away and had them displayed in his house. Unfortunately he passed suddenly and there was no identification on anything. He was a geologist so needless to say learning about rocks and minerals as well!

    • There appear to be one or two specimens that have the diamond-shaped leaf scars similar to lepidodendron however, the rest do not so I think there might be a mix of woods. For those larger specimens can you is the cross section visible? That is generally the better angle for plant stem ID.

    • Sure can! I am working on getting some 3D pictures for Michigan State University so i can pass them along.

    • also they had this to say about them.. Well, I sent the photos around to several knowledgeable colleagues, and some of those have “stumped the chumps!”  There are some definite plant fossils— the smaller prone one in the middle and another, far right— that may be cycads.  The large elongated, somewhat pointed ones bear a resemblance to the horns of extinct rhino-like animals, but they don’t closely match anything in our collections or in references that would confirm it. And at least one person thinks they could all be vegetative in nature (plants). But at this point we must admit that “we don’t know!”  It would help if we had some additional information on where these came from and how they were collected…

      I’d suggest sharing photos of these specimens more widely, perhaps contacting fossil experts at the American Museum (New York), Field Museum (Chicago), or the Smithsonian (National Mus NH). It may help to actually show these to the “experts,” since photos don’t always provide all the information necessary. Also, every February the MSU Museum has an event called “Darwin Discovery Day” where people can bring in natural specimens for (possible) identification. We’d love to see them and be glad to take a closer look. (Watch for annoucement of date on the Museum website).

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