Starting off the week with a bang, I had no fewer than three packages waiting for me when I got home. Two were purchases, and one was a gift from a dear Fossil Forum friend from the Netherlands.
First up, a "gold bug":
This phacopid is Metacanthina barrandei from the Couche Rouge, Maeder Region of Morocco. The trilobites in this layer are entirely replaced by chalcopyrite. In this case it is likely that the trilobite during preparation was painted or polished/buffed to appear in this fashion. It has two interesting features that distinguish this species: a tiny "spathe" at the end of the glabella (looks like it is sticking out its tongue) and a distinct occipital spike just below the cephalon. This one is not tiny, either, at about 90 mm tip to tip.
Similar to the trilobite I featured first last week, this is of the same genus. I welcome Gerastos ainrasifus to my collection. Just like the other proetid, it is fairly small at around 30 mm.
And now for the splendid gifts from my friend Pat overseas. This first is the classic, glabella-bulging Moroccan phacopid, Reedops sp. Some fabulous eye detail, yes, but that "shnozz" is something else!
This one is a bit tough to make out until I hook up the digital scope, but this barely 5 mm wide cephalon belongs to the very rare Diacanthaspis (Acanthalomina) minuta, a Silurian Odontopleurid (my first!) from Lodenice, Czech Republic. It has the tuberculate cephalic markings somewhat similar to various species of Ceraurus, but is more closely related to various Lichid trilobites.
And another lovely gift: the Ordovician asaphid Ogyiocaris dilatata. This was collected from the Oslo fjord area in Norway and are considered very rare.
And this one, well, this Belgian trilobite has yet to be formally described! It comes from the Hotton area, Ardennes, Belgium. I am guessing a phacopid of some kind, and it looks like I might give some matrix removal a try to see if I can find more of it in there.
And apart from these lovely trilo-gifts, I also received a cool Roman coin from the reign of Constantine II (337-340 AD), and shrapnel from the battlefield of the very famous - and one of the bloodiest - Battle of the Somme, which took place between the British (+Canada!) and the French against the Germans, July to November 1916. These are two pieces of non-trilobite history I very much cherish. It's been a fantastic day indeed!
It is raining today, and looks to be mild and almost springlike going into March... But I will err on the side of caution and say it is a false spring just so I don't get my hopes up if the polar vortex returns.
A good haul of things came for me today:
A common, but welcome Gerastos tuberculatus marocensis from Morocco. Many online dealers misname this as Gerastos granulosus, but no such species is identified from Morocco.
This is Coltraneia oufatenensis, a very distinct Devonian phacopid from Morocco, and the only trilobite named after a musician (John Coltrane). Note the tall eyes on this crazy looking trilobite
I desperately needed a new fossil hunting backpack. My old one, which was really just an appropriated school backpack, had to be turfed after my terminally ill cat Portia had peed on it. And cat pee almost never goes away. But this one is extremely sturdy with loads of compartments, handles, and clips. It is going to be a great mobile kit to carry my expanding range of tools and containers.
Today's post is another that beats the winter blahs. The first is just some tinkering with some of my finds from the previous year, and the second is a generous gift from a forum member.
I am definitely running out of material to explore and prep, so I took a look at some of my one-of-a-kind specimens and noticed that maybe, just maybe, I could poke around my little Achatella achates from Brechin a bit more. I knew it was not complete, but finding even a cephalon of this Ordovician phacopid is quite uncommon.
This is a before and after sequence. Using a pin vice and my fancy microscope, I was able to remove some of the matrix to uncover more of the cephalon, but also the characteristic long genal spines of this species. Finding a whole one would be a trip-maker, for sure, but having an intact cephalon of this species is not too shabby.
The next item is the result of a very lovely gift by one of our very great forum members, Dave A. from NY state. I've been wanting one of these for some time. The fragments my friend Tim gave me last April managed to make me pine in finding a fuller one of these very interesting holmonotid bugs. So here is Dipleura dekayi in its semi-prone, semi-enrolled glory:
This one measures 10 cm along the axis if full prone, and so close to the upper end for how big these got. It is speculated by Whittington that it was a benthic critter that buried itself in sand with only its turret-like eyes protruding, hunting in a manner reminiscent of modern day crabs. This is one great Devonian delight for me.
Will there be more trilobites? There will be more trilobites, as they are en route as I type this. Stay tuned!
Winter is still dragging, and so one is forced to trade in the rock hammer for the credit card, or otherwise engage in some friendly fossil trades. Today was a good one for receiving a few new delights.
This might not be exciting to, well, anyone, but I quite desperately needed this prep tool. This is a double-collared pin vice that will make any of my pin-prepping much easier. Up until now, I've been holding the sewing needle between my fingertips, and after a while my hand starts to cramp. This tool will give me much more control. This tool didn't quite break the bank at about a dollar, free shipping.
This was part of a marvellous package sent to me by Hong Chan Ui from South Korea. I had sent him a package of trilobites last month with a few other fossil goodies, and he in turn sent me two trilobite species I don't have and also perked the package with some South Korean coins and tektites. How cool is that! The specimen above is a partial pygidium of the rare Ordovician asaphid, Dolerobasilicus sp. from Taebaek, Gongwon-Do, South Korea.
This glorious Devonian phacopid in the same package is Mrakibina cattoi from the El Oftal formation Jebel Mrakib, Ma'der, Alnif, Morocco. A near cousin of Greenops. The preservation detail and preparation is just remarkable.
This large Silurian phacopid was an eBay steal. Meet Coronocephalus gaoluoensis, coming in at 7 cm, or 3 inches long. Note the impressive pygidial spikes, if not the crazy number of segments. You usually find these as pygidia only. This is from Hunan Province, China.
These new acquisitions surely take a bit of the grinding gloom out of winter. But, as always, stay tuned: six or more bugs are still on their way, and it isn't even the official start of the 2018 collecting season yet!