Some Favorite Fossil Brachiopods Of Mine

(In No Particular Order Of Preference, By The Way)

An Ordovician Period Brachiopod:

Pedicle view of an orthid brachiopod I collected several years ago from the world-famous lower middle Ordovician Kanosh Shale, western Utah. In addition to abundant beautiful brachiopods, the Kanosh yields coquinas composed of ostracods (a bivalved crustacean), trilobites, sponges and echinoderms. Also common are perfectly preserved graptolites and conodonts, plus several species of gastropods. The brachiopod in actual dimension is 12 millimeters wide.

A Pennsylvanian Period Brachiopod:

Brachial view of a Spirifer brachiopod I collected a number of years ago from the upper Pennsylvanian Hartford Limestone, eastern Kansas. The brach came from an abandoned rock quarry I used to frequent while I resided in Kansas--a paleontologically prolific locality that yielded abundant and fantastically preserved invertebrates from a number of groups: brachiopods, bryozoans (both twig and stem-like types, plus lattice-style fenestellids), fusulinids (an extinct single-celled animal that secreted small wheat to American football-shaped shells with intricate internal geometric designs), rugose and tabulate corals, and extraordinarily long echinoderm crinoid stems. It was a special place to collect from, indeed. The Spirifer is 35 millimeters wide.

A Pleistocene Epoch Brachiopod:

Here's a brachial view of a Terebratella brachiopod I collected some years ago from the lower Pleistocene Santa Barbara Formation, California. I found the brach during excursions to a wildly fossiliferous locality while I resided in Santa Barbara. What's particularly fascinating about this Santa Barbara brachiopod is that the original shell material is preserved fully intact, without any kind of mineralization (such as silicification, for example). In the vicinity of where I collected the Terebratella, numerous other invertebrate groups occur in mind-boggling abundance (at least they used to, anyhow)--all with their original shell material preserved without mineralizing alteration: scores of species of gastropods (including many usually elusive operculums) and pelecypods (clams, oysters, mussels, and scallop shells), bryozoans, corals, foraminifers, massive calcareous algal developments, and even worm tubes. In actual dimension, the Santa Barbara brach is 45 millimeters across.

A sidelight here: While I lived in Santa Barbara, California, several years ago, I had the great fortune to investigate, from time to time, the western-most outcrops of the famed middle Miocene Temblor Formation; it's exposed "on the backside of Santa Barbara," above the coastal community on the northern side of the Santa Ynez Mountains. The Temblor Formation, of course, is the same geologic rock unit that contains the world-famous Sharktooth Hill Bone Bed near Bakersfield, California. While I was never able to locate shark teeth in the Santa Ynez Mountains Temblor Formation localities, I did happily collect many mollusks there (gastropods and pelecypods)--in addition to a few brachiopods and even abundant (at least at one specific stratigraphic interval) sand dollars. Oh, yes, and I did observe in the field one other tantalizing specimen--a fragmental humerus from a marine mammal. So perhaps those Santa Barbara Temblor Formation exposures demand additional field examinations. Who knows just what might lurk there: another shark tooth bonanza, somewhere?

A Devonian Period Brachiopod:

Pedicle view of a Meristella brachiopod I collected from the Middle Devonian Nevada Formation, Nevada. This particular specimen's shell has been silicified--that is replaced by silicon dioxide, lending to the surface an aesthetically pleasing silvery sheen. Occurring with numerous species of brachs within the widespread Nevada Formation are abundant corals (both rugose and tabulate) and "spaghetti"-type stromatoporoids (a sponge), echinoderms (crinoidal material), and occasional gastropods. Actual dimensions of the Nevada Formation brachiopod is 25 millimeters wide.

Triassic Period Brachiopods:

Four brachiopods from the upper Triassic Luning Formation, Nevada. Even though they might not demonstrate the kind of spectacular preservation numerous Paleozoic Era specimens certainly display, the Luning fossils nevertheless remain some of my very favorite brachiopods of all time. This is because, first, late Triassic brachiopods of any kind are relatively uncommon in the contiguous United States, except at a few select and well-documented locations within a relatively narrow swath that runs north-south through eastern-northern California, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. That geographic zone of late Triassic brach material then continues north through western Canada to Alaska. And, second, the fossil locality was downright difficult to find. I spent hours pouring over geologic maps and various road atlases while attempting to pinpoint the prime brachipod area of occurrence; that my ultimate reward was eventually finding a veritable paleontological bonanza, a place I have with great anticipation returned to time and again over the years, only serves to intensify my enthusiasm for the upper Triassic Luning Formation brachiopods.

Of special note is that the brachiopod fauna of the upper Triassic Luning Formation in Nevada is the most taxonomically diverse (in other words, contains the most species of brachiopods) known for the Mesozoic Era of North America. they classically intone in those numerous late night infomercials--"that's not all." Not only are brachiopods common to abundant in the Luning Formation of Nevada, but several other fossil types have also been entombed in the extensively exposed limestones that constitute the lower and upper members of the Luning. Characteristic of the Luning in Nevada are massive coral-sponge accumulations that can be traced laterally for roughly a mile and a half or more. Also weathering out of the calcareous accumulations are many mollusks--clams, oysters, gastropods, ammonoids and belemnites--in addition to sea urchins and even icthyosaur skeletal elements. One specific locality in the Luning contains a unique icthyosaur graveyard, where the mineralized and mostly complete skeletal remains of several great fish-lizards have been quarried by professional vertebrate paleontologists.

From top to bottom: (1) A pedicle view of Spondylospira lewesensis (15 millimeters wide); (2) Brachial view of Plectoconcha aequiplicata (20 millimeters across; note the small, faint cylindrical hole at upper left on this brachial valve view--that was caused by a predatory invertebrate animal that decided to bore into the brachiopod and gain a meal); (3) Brachial view of Zugmayerella uncinata (18 millimeters wide); (4) Pedicle view of Zugmayerella uncinata (different specimen than in image #3) (18 millimeters across).

A Devonian Period Brachiopod:

Top to bottom: brachial and pedical views, respectively, of two Atrypa brachipods I collected from the Upper Devonian Guilmette Formation, Nevada. At the horizon I explored several years ago, such Atrypa brachs weathered out by the "zillions" from well-exposed dark gray, thin-bedded limestones. The specimen is silicified, by the way, replaced by silicon dioxide, and imbued with minor amounts of iron minerals, which lend to it an unusual pearly-golden glow. Elsewhere in the Guilmette exposures, massive fossil reefs composed of stromatoporoids (extinct sponges) and rugose and tabulate corals characteristically attain thicknesses exceeding 50 feet, amazing reef structures that can be traced laterally for over a mile. Along with stromatoporoids and corals, several limestone beds locally contain common gastropods and echinodermal crinoid stems; the corals, brachiopods, crinoid stems, and to a lesser extent the stromatoporoids all often weather out free and intact, ready to be collected. Specimen at top is 20 millimeters wide; brach at bottom is only slightly larger.

A Pennsylvanian Period Brachiopod:

A pedicle view of the brachiopod Linoproductus. The specimen happens to represent my earliest exposure to fossil brachiopods. My father collected it from the lower to middle Pennsylvanian Ely Limestone during his summer field mapping project in Nevada, the last of many courses he completed to successfully attain a Bachelor Of Science Degree in geology from the University of Southern California (he went on to specialize in Engineering Geology), and then gave it to me upon returning when I was a youngster. This particular Linoproductus came from low in the Ely section, near the contact with the underlying upper Mississippian Diamond Peak Formation, so the brach is certainly early Pennsylvanian in geologic age. It has been silicified, by the way, replaced by silicon dioxide, lending to it a nice silvery sheen.

Throughout the Ely Limestone exposures in Nevada and neighboring western Utah, all kinds of fossil goodies await discovery: these include many species of brachiopods, fusulinids (an extinct single-celled animal that secreted small wheat to American football-shaped shells that bear intricate internal geometric designs), rugose and tabulate corals, echinoderms (crinoid stems, primarily) and several varieties of gastropods and mollusks.

In actual dimension, the Ely Limestone brachiopod is 27 millimeters across.

A Cambrian Period Brachiopod:

Here's a pedicle view of one of the oldest known stem groups of brachiopods yet recovered from the geologic record (it's technically a sister group to the lingulid brachiopods)--it's called Mickwitzia occidens, an extinct type that clearly reveals its characteristic phonograph record-like morphological aspect. I collected the ancient specimen a number of years ago from a Nevada locality in the lower Cambrian Poleta Formation (approximately 520 to 516 million years old) that additionally yields another interesting inarticulate brachiopod called Lingulella; the brachs occur in the middle shale member of the Poleta, above a distinctive lower limestone Poleta unit that bears common to abundant archeocyathids (an extinct calcareous sponge). In addition to inarticulate brachiopods, the middle shale member of the Poleta also yields several species of trilobites (some of which can be found in an essentially perfect state of preservation), hyolithes (an extinct lophophorate, distantly related to brachiopods), helicoplacus echinoderms (most of which occur in Poleta exposures in eastern California, although there is one superior Nevada site that yields fully articulated Helicoplacus--it's the best-studied, oldest echinoderm recognized in the fossil record), anomalocaridid fragments, sponges, cyanobacteria developments (algal bodies), a salterella-like small shelly fossil (an extinct critter that resembles a tiny ice cream cone), and Planolites trace fossils (the feeding process of an extinct worm-like creature). The early Cambrian brachiopod is 23 millimeters in diameter.

My Other Web Sites--Musical and Paleontological

Paleontology-Related Pages

Web sites I have created pertaining to fossils

  • Fossils In Death Valley National Park: A site dedicated to the paleontology, geology, and natural wonders of Death Valley National Park; lots of on-site photographs of scenic localities within the park; images of fossils specimens; links to many virtual field trips of fossil-bearing interest.
  • Fossil Insects And Vertebrates On The Mojave Desert, California: Journey to two world-famous fossil sites in the middle Miocene Barstow Formation: one locality yields upwards of 50 species of fully three-dimensional, silicified freshwater insects, arachnids, and crustaceans that can be dissolved free and intact from calcareous concretions; a second Barstow Formation district provides vertebrate paleontologists with one of the greatest concentrations of Miocene mammal fossils yet recovered from North America--it's the type locality for the Barstovian State of the Miocene Epoch, 15.9 to 12.5 million years ago, with which all geologically time-equivalent rocks in North American are compared.
  • A Visit To Fossil Valley, Great Basin Desert, Nevada: Take a virtual field trip to a Nevada locality that yields the most complete, diverse, fossil assemblage of terrestrial Miocene plants and animals known from North America--and perhaps the world, as well. Yields insects, leaves, seeds, conifer needles and twigs, flowering structures, pollens, petrified wood, diatoms, algal bodies, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, bird feathers, fish, gastropods, pelecypods (bivalves), and ostracods.
  • Fossils At Red Rock Canyon State Park, California: Visit wildly colorful Red Rock Canyon State Park on California's northern Mojave Desert, approximately 130 miles north of Los Angeles--scene of innumerable Hollywood film productions and commercials over the years--where the Middle to Late Miocene (13 to 7 million years old) Dove Spring Formation, along with a classic deposit of petrified woods, yields one of the great terrestrial, land-deposited Miocene vertebrate fossil faunas in all the western United States.
  • Cambrian And Ordovician Fossils At Extinction Canyon, Nevada: Visit a site in Nevada's Great Basin Desert that yields locally common whole and mostly complete early Cambrian trilobites, in addition to other extinct organisms such as graptolites (early hemichordate), salterella (small conical critter placed in the phylum Agmata), Lidaconus (diminutive tusk-shaped shell of unestablished zoological affinity), Girvanella (photosynthesizing cyanobacterial algae), and Caryocaris (a bivalved crustacean).
  • Late Pennsylvanian Fossils In Kansas: Travel to the midwestern plains to discover the classic late Pennsylvanian fossil wealth of Kansas--abundant, supremely well-preserved associations of such invertebrate animals as brachiopods, bryozoans, corals, echinoderms, fusulinids, mollusks (gastropods, pelecypods, cephalopods, scaphopods), and sponges; one of the great places on the planet to find fossils some 307 to 299 million years old.
  • Fossil Plants Of The Ione Basin, California: Head to Amador County in the western foothills of California's Sierra Nevada to explore the fossil leaf-bearing Middle Eocene Ione Formation of the Ione Basin. This is a completely undescribed fossil flora from a geologically fascinating district that produces not only paleobotanically invaluable suites of fossil leaves, but also world-renowned commercial deposits of silica sand, high-grade kaolinite clay and the extraordinarily rare Montan Wax-rich lignites (a type of low grade coal).
  • Ice Age Fossils At Santa Barbara, California--Journey to the famed So Cal coastal community of Santa Barbara (about a 100 miles north of Los Angeles) to explore one of the best marine Pleistocene invertebrate fossil-bearing areas on the west coast of the United States; that's where the middle Pleistocene Santa Barbara Formation yields nearly 400 species of pelecypod bivalve mollusks, gastropods, chitons, scaphopods, pteropods, brachiopods, bryozoans, corals, ostracods (minute bivalve crustaceans), worm tubes, and foraminifers.
  • Trilobites In The Marble Mountains, Mojave Desert, California: Take a trip to the place that first inspired my life-long fascination and interest in fossils--the classic trilobite quarry in the Lower Cambrian Latham Shale, in the Marble Mountains of California's Mojave Desert. It's a special place, now included in the rather recently established Trilobite Wilderness, where some 21 species of ancient plants and animals have been found--including trilobites, an echinoderm, a coelenterate, mollusks, blue-green algae and brachiopods.
  • Fossil Plants In The Neighborhood Of Reno, Nevada: Visit two famous fossil plant localities in the Great Basin Desert near Reno, Nevada--a place to find leaves, seeds, needles, foilage, and cones in the middle Miocene Pyramid and Chloropagus Formations, 15.6 and 14.8 to 13.3 million years old, respectively.
  • Dinosaur-Age Fossil Leaves At Del Puerto Creek, California: Journey to the western edge of California's Great Central Valley to explore a classic fossil leaf locality in an upper Cretaceous section of the upper Cretaceous to Paleocene Moreno Formation; the plants you find there lived during the day of the dinosaur.
  • Early Cambrian Fossils Of Westgard Pass, California: Visit the Westgard Pass area, a world-renowned geologic wonderland several miles east of Big Pine, California, in the neighboring White-Inyo Mountains, to examine one of the best places in the world to find archaeocyathids--an enigmatic invertebrate animal that went extinct some 510 million years ago, never surviving past the early Cambrian; also present there in rocks over a half billion years old are locally common trilobites, plus annelid and arthropod trails, and early echinoderms.
  • Plant Fossils At The La Porte Hydraulic Gold Mine, California: Journey to a long-abandoned hydraulic gold mine in the neighborhood of La Porte, northern Sierra Nevada, California, to explore the upper Eocene La Porte Tuff, which yields some 43 species of Cenozoic plants, mainly a bounty of beautifully preserved leaves 34.2 million years old.
  • A Visit To Ammonite Canyon, Nevada: Explore one of the best-exposed, most complete fossiliferous marine late Triassic through early Jurassic geologic sections in the world--a place where the important end-time Triassic mass extinction has been preserved in the paleontological record. Lots of key species of ammonites, brachiopods, corals, gastropods and pelecypods.
  • Fossil Plants At The Chalk Bluff Hydraulic Gold Mine, California: Take a field trip to the Chalk Bluff hydraulic gold mine, western foothills of California's Sierra Nevada, for leaves, seeds, flowering structures, and petrified wood from some 70 species of middle Eocene plants.
  • Field Trip To The Alexander Hills Fossil District, Mojave Desert, California: Visit a locality outside the southern sector of Death Valley National Park to explore a paleontological wonderland that produces: Precambrian stromatolites over a billion years old; early skeletonized eukaryotic cells of testate amoebae over three-quarters of billion years old; early Cambrian trilobites, archaeocyathids, annelid trails, arthropod tracks, and echinoderm material; Pliocene-Pleistocene vertebrate and invertebrate faunas; and late middle Miocene camel tracks, petrified palm wood, petrified dicotlyedon wood, and permineralized grasses.
  • Fossils In Millard County, Utah: Take virtual field trips to two world-famous fossil localities in Millard County, Utah--Wheeler Amphitheater in the trilobite-bearing middle Cambrian Wheeler Shale; and Fossil Mountain in the brachiopod-ostracod-gastropod-echinoderm-trilobite rich lower Ordovician Pogonip Group.
  • Fossil Plants, Insects And Frogs In The Vicinity Of Virginia City, Nevada: Journey to a western Nevada badlands district near Virginia City and the Comstock Lode to discover a bonanza of paleontology in the late middle Miocene Coal Valley Formation.
  • Paleozoic Era Fossils At Mazourka Canyon, Inyo County, California: Visit a productive Paleozoic Era fossil-bearing area near Independence, California--along the east side of California's Owens Valley, with the great Sierra Nevada as a dramatic backdrop--a paleontologically fascinating place that yields a great assortment of invertebrate animals.
  • Late Triassic Ichthyosaur And Invertebrate Fossils In Nevada: Journey to two classic, world-famous fossil localities in the Upper Triassic Luning Formation of Nevada--Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park and Coral Reef Canyon. At Berlin-Ichthyosaur, observe in-situ the remains of several gigantic ichthyosaur skeletons preserved in a fossil quarry; then head out into the hills, outside the state park, to find plentiful pelecypods, gastropods, brachiopods and ammonoids. At Coral Reef Canyon, find an amazing abundance of corals, sponges, brachiopods, echinoids (sea urchins), pelecypods, gastropods, belemnites and ammonoids.
  • Fossils From The Kettleman Hills, California: Visit one of California's premiere Pliocene-age (approximately 4.5 to 2.0 million years old) fossil localities--the Kettleman Hills, which lie along the western edge of California's Great Central Valley northwest of Bakersfield. This is where innumerable sand dollars, pectens, oysters, gastropods, "bulbous fish growths" and pelecypods occur in the Etchegoin, San Joaquin and Tulare Formations.
  • Field Trip To The Kettleman Hills Fossil District, California: Take a virtual field trip to a classic site on the western side of California's Great Central Valley, roughly 80 miles northwest of Bakersfield, where several Pliocene-age (roughly 4.5 to 2 million years old) geologic rock formations yield a wealth of diverse, abundant fossil material--sand dollars, scallop shells, oysters, gastropods and "bulbous fish growths" (fossil bony tumors--found nowhere else, save the Kettleman Hills), among many other paleontological remains.
  • A Visit To The Sharktooth Hill Bone Bed, Southern California: Travel to the dusty hills near Bakersfield, California, along the eastern side of the Great Central Valley in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada, to explore the world-famous Sharktooth Hill Bone Bed, a Middle Miocene marine deposit some 16 to 15 million years old that yields over a hundred species of sharks, rays, bony fishes, and sea mammals from a geologic rock formation called the Round Mountain Silt Member of the Temblor Formation; this is the most prolific marine, vertebrate fossil-bearing Middle Miocene deposit in the world.
  • High Sierra Nevada Fossil Plants, Alpine County, California: Visit a remote fossil leaf and petrified wood locality in the Sierra Nevada, at an altitude over 8,600 feet, slightly above the local timberline, to find 7 million year-old specimens of cypress, Douglas-fir, White fir, evergreen live oak, and giant sequoia, among others.
  • In Search Of Fossils In The Tin Mountain Limestone, California: Journey to the Death Valley area of Inyo County, California, to explore the highly fossiliferous Lower Mississippian Tin Mountain Limestone; visit three localities that provide easy access to a roughly 358 million year-old calcium carbate accumulation that contains well preserved corals, brachiopods, bryozoans, crinoids, and ostracods--among other major groups of invertebrate animals.
  • Middle Triassic Ammonoids From Nevada: Travel to a world-famous fossil locality in the Great Basin Desert of Nevada, a specific place that yields some 41 species of ammonoids, in addition to five species of pelecypods and four varieties of belemnites from the Middle Triassic Prida Formation, which is roughly 235 million years old; many paleontologists consider this specific site the single best Middle Triassic, late Anisian Stage ammonoid locality in the world. All told, the Prida Formation yields 68 species of ammonoids spanning the entire Middle Triassic age, or roughly 241 to 227 million years ago.
  • Late Miocene Fossil Leaves At Verdi, Washoe County, Nevada: Explore a fascinating fossil leaf locality not far from Reno, Nevada; find 18 species of plants that prove that 5.8 million years ago this part of the western Great Basin Desert would have resembled, floristically, California's lush green Gold Country, from Placerville south to Jackson.
  • Fossils Along The Loneliest Road In America: Investigate the extraordinary fossil wealth along some 230 miles of The Loneliest Road In America--US Highway 50 from the vicinity of Eureka, Nevada, to Delta in Millard County, Utah. Includes on-site images and photographs of representative fossils (with detailed explanatory text captions) from every geologic rock deposit I have personally explored in the neighborhood of that stretch of Great Basin asphalt. The paleontologic material ranges in geologic age from the middle Eocene (about 48 million years ago) to middle Cambrian (approximately 505 million years old).
  • Fossil Bones In The Coso Range, Inyo County, California: Visit the Coso Range Wilderness, west of Death Valley National Park at the southern end of California's Owens Valley, where vertebrate fossils some 4.8 to 3.0 million years old can be observed in the Pliocene-age Coso Formation: It's a paleontologically significant place that yields many species of mammals, including the remains of Equus simplicidens, the Hagerman Horse, named for its spectacular occurrences at Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument in Idaho; Equus simplicidens is considered the earliest known member of the genus Equus, which includes the modern horse and all other equids.
  • Field Trip To A Vertebrate Fossil Locality In The Coso Range, California: Take a cyber-visit to the famous bone-bearing Pliocene Coso Formation, Coso Mountains, Inyo County, California; includes detailed text for the field trip, plus on-site images and photographs of vertebrate fossils.
  • Fossil Plants At Aldrich Hill, Western Nevada: Take a field trip to western Nevada, in the vicinity of Yerington, to famous Aldrich Hill, where one can collect some 35 species of ancient plants--leaves, seeds and twigs--from the Middle Miocene Aldirch Station Formation, roughly 12 to 13 million years old. Find the leaves of evergreen live oak, willow, and Catalina Ironwood (which today is restricted in its natural habitat solely to the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California), among others, plus the seeds of many kinds of conifers, including spruce; expect to find the twigs of Giant Sequoias, too.
  • Fossils From Pleistocene Lake Manix, California: Explore the badlands of the Manix Lake Beds on California's Mojave Desert, an Upper Pleistocene deposit that produces abundant fossil remains from the silts and sands left behind by a great fresh water lake, roughly 350,000 to 19,000 years old--the Manix Beds yield many species of fresh water mollusks (gastropods and pelecypods), skeletal elements from fish (the Tui Mojave Chub and Three-Spine Stickleback), plus roughly 50 species of mammals and birds, many of which can also be found in the incredible, world-famous La Brea Tar Pits of Los Angeles.
  • Field Trip To Pleistocene Lake Manix, California: Go on a virtual field trip to the classic, fossiliferous badlands carved in the Upper Pleistocene Manix Formation, Mojave Desert, California. It's a special place that yields beaucoup fossil remains, including fresh water mollusks, fish (the Mojave Tui Chub), birds and mammals.
  • Trilobites In The Nopah Range, Inyo County, California: Travel to a locality well outside the boundaries of Death Valley National Park to collect trilobites in the Lower Cambrian Pyramid Shale Member of the Carrara Formation.
  • Ammonoids At Union Wash, California: Explore ammonoid-rich Union Wash near Lone Pine, California, in the shadows of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States. Union Wash is a ne plus ultra place to find Early Triassic ammonoids in California. The extinct cephalopods occur in abundance in the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation, with the dramatic back-drop of the glacier-gouged Sierra Nevada skyline in view to the immediate west.
  • A Visit To The Fossil Beds At Union Wash, Inyo County California: A virtual field trip to the fabulous ammonoid accumulations in the Lower Triassic Union Wash Formation, Inyo County, California--situated in the shadows of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States.
  • Ordovician Fossils At The Great Beatty Mudmound, Nevada: Visit a classic 475-million-year-old fossil locality in the vicinity of Beatty, Nevada, only a few miles east of Death Valley National Park; here, the fossils occur in the Middle Ordovician Antelope Valley Limestone at a prominent Mudmound/Biohern. Lots of fossils can be found there, including silicified brachiopods, trilobites, nautiloids, echinoderms, bryozoans, ostracodes and conodonts.
  • Paleobotanical Field Trip To The Sailor Flat Hydraulic Gold Mine, California: Journey on a day of paleobotanical discovery with the FarWest Science Foundation to the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada--to famous Sailor Flat, an abandoned hydraulic gold mine of the mid to late 1800s, where members of the foundation collect fossil leaves from the "chocolate" shales of the Middle Eocene auriferous gravels; all significant specimens go to the archival paleobotanical collections at the University California Museum Of Paleontology in Berkeley.
  • Early Cambrian Fossils In Western Nevada: Explore a 518-million-year-old fossil locality several miles north of Death Valley National Park, in Esmeralda County, Nevada, where the Lower Cambrian Harkless Formation yields the largest single assemblage of Early Cambrian trilobites yet described from a specific fossil locality in North America; the locality also yields archeocyathids (an extinct sponge), plus salterella (the "ice-cream cone fossil"--an extinct conical animal placed into its own unique phylum, called Agmata), brachiopods and invertebrate tracks and trails.
  • Fossil Leaves And Seeds In West-Central Nevada: Take a field trip to the Middlegate Hills area in west-central Nevada. It's a place where the Middle Miocene Middlegate Formation provides paleobotany enthusiasts with some 64 species of fossil plant remains, including the leaves of evergreen live oak, tanbark oak, bigleaf maple, and paper birch--plus the twigs of giant sequoias and the winged seeds from a spruce.
  • Ordovician Fossils In The Toquima Range, Nevada: Explore the Toquima Range in central Nevada--a locality that yields abundant graptolites in the Lower to Middle Ordovician Vinini Formation, plus a diverse fauna of brachiopods, sponges, bryozoans, echinoderms and ostracodes from the Middle Ordovician Antelope Valley Limestone.
  • Fossil Plants In The Dead Camel Range, Nevada: Visit a remote site in the vicinity of Fallon, Nevada, where the Middle Miocene Desert Peak Formation provides paleobotany enthusiasts with 22 species of nicely preserved leaves from a variety of deciduous trees and evergreen live oaks, in addition to samaras (winged seeds), needles and twigs from several types of conifers.
  • Early Triassic Ammonoid Fossils In Nevada: Visit the two remote localities in Nevada that yield abundant, well-preserved ammonoids in the Lower Triassic Thaynes Formation, some 240 million years old--one of the sites just happens to be the single finest Early Triassic ammonoid locality in North America.
  • Fossil Plants At Buffalo Canyon, Nevada: Explore the wilds of west-central Nevada, a number of miles from Fallon, where the Middle Miocene Buffalo Canyon Formation yields to seekers of paleontology some 54 species of deciduous and coniferous varieties of 15-million-year-old leaves, seeds and twigs from such varieties as spruce, fir, pine, ash, maple, zelkova, willow and evergreen live oak
  • High Inyo Mountains Fossils, California: Take a ride to the crest of the High Inyo Mountains to find abundant ammonoids and pelecypods--plus, some shark teeth and terrestrial plants in the Upper Mississippian Chainman Shale, roughly 325 million years old.
  • Field Trip To The Copper Basin Fossil Flora, Nevada: Visit a remote region in Nevada, where the Late Eocene Dead Horse Tuff provides seekers of paleobotany with some 42 species of ancient plants, roughly 39 to 40 million years old, including the leaves of alder, tanbark oak, Oregon grape and sassafras.
  • Fossil Plants And Insects At Bull Run, Nevada: Head into the deep backcountry of Nevada to collect fossils from the famous Late Eocene Chicken Creek Formation, which yields, in addition to abundant fossil fly larvae, a paleobotanically wonderful association of winged seeds and fascicles (bundles of needles) from many species of conifers, including fir, pine, spruce, larch, hemlock and cypress. The plants are some 37 million old and represent an essentially pure montane conifer forest, one of the very few such fossil occurrences in the Tertiary Period of the United States.
  • A Visit To The Early Cambrian Waucoba Spring Geologic Section, California: Journey to the northwestern sector of Death Valley National Park to explore the classic, world-famous Waucoba Spring Early Cambrian geologic section, first described by the pioneering paleontologist C.D. Walcott in the late 1800s; surprisingly well preserved 540-510 million-year-old remains of trilobites, invertebrate tracks and trails, Girvanella algal oncolites and archeocyathids (an extinct variety of sponge) can be observed in situ.
  • Petrified Wood From The Shinarump Conglomerate: An image of a chunk of petrified wood I collected from the Upper Triassic Shinarump Conglomerate, outside of Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado.
  • Fossil Giant Sequoia Foliage From Nevada: Images of the youngest fossil foliage from a giant sequoia ever discovered in the geologic record--the specimen is Lower Pliocene in geologic age, around 5 million years old.
  • For information on what can and cannot be collected legally from America's Public Lands, take a look at Fossils On America's Public Lands and Collecting On Public Lands--brochures that the Bureau Of Land Management has allowed me to transcribe.
  • In Search Of Vanished Ages--Field Trips To Fossil Localities In California, Nevada, And Utah--My fossils-related field trips in full print book form (pdf). 98,703 words (equivalent to a medium-size hard cover work of non-fiction); 250 printed pages (equivalent to about 380 pages in hard cover book form); 27 chapters; 30 individual field trips to places of paleontological interest; 60 photographs--representative on-site images and pictures of fossils from each locality visited.

United States Geological Survey Papers (Public Domain)

Online versions of USGS publications

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