Spent another four hours at the new site, mostly probing the rocks and getting a feel for which layers will be the most gainful. There are some rocks that are just so filled with large brachiopods at the expense of anything else (except maybe a few Pseudodechenella sp. pygidia), and others that are almost all rostroconchs.
This image and the closeup gives some indication of the typical beds that come out, sheet after sheet, of almost exclusively brachiopods of mostly decent size.
Some of these rostroconchs attained to a fairly robust size. All but the specimen on the right popped out of the matrix. I neglected to take a photo of a few layers where they were so numerous that they were stacking on top of each other. What the size and abundance of these confirms for me is that the deposition environment was shallow, turbulent, and open marine. Some rostroconchs could attain a length of 15 cm.
This I bucketed earlier in the day, and were not the biggest I encountered.
Gastropod steinkerns. Some could be fairly substantial in size, but extracting them from the host rock when they are of any decent size is a major difficulty.
These brachiopods are quite large and plump. The photo does not convey their rotund aspect very well, but picture crabapples or large kiwis.
Not as big on the bugs this trip (discounting the zillions of small Pseudodechenella tails!). Two fragments of Odontocephalus sp. The one on the right is an impression, but shows the eye and a bit of cheek. This genus is particularly hardy, and was able to persist in some less than hospitable environments that other bugs could not tolerate.
Anchiops anchiopsis tails. The piece with the double initially appeared as four on the same undulating plane adjacent to a plane that was very jointed. Sadly, the other two were in pretty poor shape and not worth bringing home.
I'm not done yet. I hope to get out again very soon and so a solid day's work on this stuff.
Prospecting for new sites can be a miserable business, with a failure to success ratio of ten to one. But, it is that one spot that makes the memories of all those disappointments vanish. Today was one of those days after getting skunked twice on dead leads. Of course, for obvious reasons I can't disclose the location. But keep reading as I save the best for last.
This material is plentiful, filled with sometimes more brachiopods than matrix, some bryozoans, tons of rostroconchs, and some high-spired gastropod steinkerns This seems to be classic Onandaga material.
Just riddled with fossils, mostly brachs. This material breaks apart fairly easily, in chunks or along uneven bedding planes, similar to the Formosa Reef material.
These are absolute beasts! I'm not a brach collector, but these big brutes had to come home with me. The one on the farthest right has a "wingspan" of about 8 cm.
Some people claim that rostroconchs are rare; I'm up to my back teeth in the things.
But let's get to my favourite part: the bugs! Now, keep in mind that there are thousands upon thousands of rocks at my new spot, and I only managed to get through a single slab that was about a metre wide, metre long, and 50 or so cm thick. In that rock I managed to pull four different species of trilobites. Nothing complete, but that is still pretty expletive amazing for Devonian rocks.
First two. On the top left is a Pseudodechenella. Likely the lower left is a free cheek of one as well. The rocks had an abundance of their moulted bits. In the middle is likely the dalmanitid, Anchiopsis anchiops, and a much better example with the pygidial spike (still partially buried under matrix) is on the right.
Not one, but two examples of the frontal lobe denticles of Odontocephalus sp. I've found a similar example a few years back in dumped fill near my house, but these are a lot nicer.
This was my trip-maker: a pygidium of Coronura aspectans. Note the spokes coming out of the pydigidal margin.
Did I mention that all of these were in the same rock? Wow.
Here's a snip from Lesperance and Bourque's paper on the synphoriinae. I've put big green checkmarks on the ones I found today. Again, in the same rock.
So, yeah, I think I'll be going back to that spot. Chances of finding anything complete is very low, but I'd be pretty jazzed about finding more examples of the Coronura.
I'll close out today's post with my newest doodle. Next up is a Damesella paronai.