Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Fossil week, day 3
I haven't been much of a fossil nut until just lately. But I am something of a packrat.
When I was 10 or so, my friend who lived in Reece City (Etowah county) said, "Let's go pick up some fossils." We thought they were dinosaur bones, which they aren't, and I shudder now to think how close to the road (and the speeding cars) we were when we picked these up.
These are fossil Crinoid stems - most of them anyway. After looking at the picture I started wondering if maybe the one in the middle wasn't something different.
They're sometimes called sea lilies, which is confusing since they were not plants. They're echinoderms, related to the starfish (which is not a fish). Anyway, they floated around gracefully while anchored on stems like the above. The stem fragments survive in fossils a lot more than the rest of them.
Although that's the only time I've ever found them, they're apparently pretty common. And cheap. A whole box can be yours for only $3.40.
More about Crinoids here, here, here, and here.
An interesting fossil ID tool (ID by shape).
Some nice posters with line drawings of Pennsylvanian period fossils.