fossils from my small collection

Sep 16, 2005
Pittsburgh, PA
Architeuthoceras inspired me to dust off some of my fossils and post them.

This nautiloid is about 9 cm (3.5 in.) in diameter.


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The largest ammonite in this conglomeration is about 6 cm (2.5 in).

The little hetermorph is about 3.5 cm (1.25 in) long.


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The belemnite is 10 cm (4 in.) long.

The ammonite is about 4 cm (1.5 in) in diameter (with the price :biggrin2: I paid).


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That is a very nice nautiloid you have, I could zoom in and study that all day. Looking at the structure of the siphuncle and other parts of the shell. :cool2: It is also fun to see how some chambers are filled with matrix and some filled with crystals and others only partially filled. If from the same age (Late Cretaceous) and formation (Fox Hills and/or Pierre Shale) as some of the other fossils it is probably Eutrephoceras dekayi,

The only other fossil I can identify right off the bat is the small heteromorph, it is Scaphites whitfieldi from the Late Turonian (Late Cretaceous).

Thanks for posting them cuttlegirl! :biggrin2:
I know nothing of the origin of any of the other fossils. The nautiloid I bought in a shell shop in Seal Beach, California several years ago - when I saw it, I just had to have it. After I saw the photos, I started looking more closely at the fossil itself, pretty amazing.
That's a nice little collection of good quality material you have there Cuttlegirl. That siphuncle in the nautilus is amazing, right through the centre of the spiral. It'd be a really good educational piece to demonstrate the internal workings of these animals. The Scaphites is really nice too - we do get them rarely in our local chalk but I've never been lucky enough. :sad: A horribly ignorant comment I know, but it always beggars me how researchers can differentiate belemnoids; so many look so similar - it's all in the grooves, notches and detail no doubt.
Hello Cuttlegirl and everyone

Finally work slows down enough that I can chip in! To reiterate what Phil and Kevin have said, nice stuff there - always like to see Pierre Shale material. Its a shame we don't get nicely preserved Scaphites over here. :sad:

I've only found one small Scaphites Phil and that was on my one and only visit to White Nothe down on the south coast (if I remember, 2 or 3 were turned up on that trip) so you could try there.

Oh thanks Andy. Come to think of it, have you ever found anything decent in chalk? I've only ever found the odd sea urchin, urchin spines, tiny bits of shell material and (possibly) a bit of bone once. My large chalk ammonite was given to me when I was very young, but I know it came from near St. Margarets Bay to the north.

Come the summer and I might try again; it would help enormously if I had a car you know. Always stuck for lifts everywhere, and trains don't generally run to fossil quarries. :sad:
Thanks for the comments everyone :smile: . You are soo lucky that you can collect cephalopods yourself - I would love to go fossil hunting in England some day. I have only found fossil whale bone (just a bit...) bivalves and gastropods in California. My 9 year old daughter found a Rugosa (horn coral) in our backyard last year. :bonk: It was in a pile of gravel so I don't think it originated in my backyard.

I used to teach a fossil class to elementary school students and I often used the Nautiloid fossil to compare to a Nautilus shell that was cut in half.

I found the Scaphites at a local antique fair. There is a man who just sells little fossils that he has collected. I didn't notice that it was a heteromorph until I got home and part of the matrix popped off, revealing the inner whorls of the shell. I don't think he realized either, because I think I talked him down to $1.00.

This last fossil is an endoceras that I purchased on ebay for $2 - I have posted on Tonmo previously, but I just included it here, since it rounds out my current collection.


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$1.00 sounds like a bargain! My only backyard find were the flagstones my mum and dad used to pave around the pond - they were full of bivalve burrows.

You're right Phil - there aren't many public transport links to fossil localities that make it worth the effort of going. You have to be lucky enough to live in a productive area.

As regards the chalk I've not had a great deal but the Yorkshire chalk up around Flamborough is not as fossiliferous as that say around Eastbourne or Dover - I've had a decent sponge from Flamborough (and still bare the scar on my wrist that flew off the boulder as I was digging it out - who would have thought chalk could be so hard!) and belemnites and big flattened Inoceramus bivalves. The guides say that crinoids can also turn up but I've never found any. Ammonites are few and far between though - never found any of them there either. I keep saying I'll have to have a holiday down on the south coast some day and hunt for echinoids! The exposure we looked at White Nothe was full of ammonites at the top of the Greensand there but they were pretty fragmentary.
Scaphites are very plentiful locally out here in the wild wild west. The Mancos Shale, where they are found, turns into a very gooey, slick, gumbo when it gets wet. Most of the roads used to be built right on the shale with a very thin layer of gravel. When the roads needed repair or an annual resurfacing the road crew would go to the nearest outcrop of gravel or crush some local rock to fix the road. There are a few places I know where they found large concretions (up to 10' dia.), some packed with Scaphites and other fossils, crushed them up and spread them over the road. Of course now you have to have a paleontological survey (among others) done before even the smallest construction can occur.

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