Wednesday, October 17, 2012

More Campus Fossil Hunting at Indiana University

Today is National Fossil Day in the US, and I prepared for it with a recent visit to the geosciences building on the Indiana University campus. Students walking to the nearby schools of business or informatics may not realize that just through the building's doors, a treasure trove of fossils are available for viewing. So, I once again snapped some photos of some of the fossils available for the IU community to enjoy. Though there aren't any dinosaurs, I'm sure this blog's audience will appreciate these collections. These are all phone shots, taken through glass in suboptimal lighting conditions, but they cleaned up reasonably well in Camera Raw, so I'm not ashamed to share them.

First up, the collection of the late Dr. Bruce Masters, a micropaleontologist who bequeathed his wide-ranging fossil collection to the university a little over a decade ago. Here are a couple of teeth from a mastodon and mammoth, respectively.

Mastodon tooth

Mammoth tooth

A nice specimen of the tabilate coral Halysites...

Silurian coral

A eurypteryid from New York...

Eurypteris lacustris

A beautiful Hoplocrioceras ammonite...

Hoplocrioceras phillipi

Some nice Crawfordsville, IN crinoids...

Onychocrinus exculptus

Scytalocrinus robustus

A delicious Diacalymene trilobite...

Diacalymene clavicula

The Eocene perch Priscacara...

Priscacara cypha

Near the Masters collection was a display featuring a "Rock of the Month," in this case a delta slope siltstone from the Mississippian featuring ichnofossils: burrows attributed to the ichnotaxon Zoophycos.

Siltstone with Zoophycos burrows

A prominent local trilobite, and Ohio's state fossil to boot, is Isotelus, and another display case featured a mess of specimens of Isotelus iowaensis of varying sizes and states of preservation. They were all collected by Indiana's first state geologist, David Dale Owen, in Missouri in the mid-19th century. Not the flashiest trilobite, but a good, workmanlike build. It's nice to sit and gaze at such a nice assemblage of them.

Isotelus iowaensis

Isotelus iowaensis

Isotelus iowaensis

Isotelus iowaensis

Isotelus iowaensis

If you ever find yourself in Bloomington with some time to spare, I highly recommend strolling over to the geosciences building and enjoying their collections. They've all been nicely labeled, and as with this Isotelus display, feature interpretive diagrams and historical information. We really deserve a small natural history museum, but in the meantime it's good to know that the workers in our geosciences department remain dedicated to sharing their collections.

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