Friday, November 21, 2014

And More Fossils

This represented one of the most interesting finds to my mind. It appears to be the foot of a bivalve, possibly a razor clam. This is not an impression, but is the actual fossilized flesh of the creature. For it to be preserved like this, it would have to have been quickly buried in an anaerobic environment as a result of some catastrophic event like, for instance, the flood of Noah's day.

Another common fossil were these pieces of finger coral.

Some fossils were more difficult to imagine how they were formed, like these three "rocks" which appear to be good sized mussels of some kind. They do not appear to be the actual shells of the creatures, but an impression. If you look closely at the "shell" on the left where it is broken off, you see there is no evidence of an actual shell. On the other hand, I cannot imagine the mussel filling up with mud, displacing the live animal, hardening and shedding the shell itself. All I know for sure is that these are not ordinary rocks.

Another sample of a similar "rock." It has the same general shape as the previous picture, but this view shows it from the end.

I got pretty excited about this find. Whatever these little sea creatures were, they were not fully fossilized, but were flexible, meaning they still had some organic proteins. Turns out they weren't fossils at all, but were the nymph stage of a caddis fly or May fly. Who knew?  I have been fly fishing, but I never got into the identification phase that some individuals do. I can't remember how I learned this, but I think I may have sent the photo to the same person I contacted at the DNR who identified the otter tracks. Apparently, it just provided a good site for the insect to deposit it's larvae.

I could go one showing fossils for several more days. If it has whetted your appetite and you live in the Calvert County area, you may want to see the collection of fossils at the Calvert Marine Museum that were (mostly) found at Calvert Cliffs. This is one last "cave painting-type" image of the stream bed. Who knows how many fossils are yet to be revealed there.

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