Monday, November 22, 2010

Isotelus, the Ohio State Fossil

I've picked up one or two fossils on the side of the road, but can you imagine finding an enrolled trilobite, clean as if it had been carefully prepped?

My main reason for posting this video is to point out what a shame it is that Indiana doesn't have its own state fossil. The Indiana Geological Survey's Jeff Kirby wrote in 1998,
About 10 years ago several interested organizations and individuals were involved in an effort to have the crinoid Cyathocrinites multibrachiatus officially designated by the state legislature as Indiana's state fossil. The effort was unsuccessful, however, and Indiana does not have an official state fossil.
To see Cyathocrinites, take a look at the nice photos at Fossil Museum. I wonder what's behind this? Is it that Cyathocrinites just isn't dramatic enough? If Indiana boasted Mesozoic strata would we have a state fossil? If it's a big, charismatic vertebrate legislators want, we certainly have plenty of Ice Age mammals that would fit the bill.

Or maybe the problem is that there's just not enough of a public will for the state to recognize a fossil. At any rate, I'm looking into this subject. There isn't much information about the effort on-line, so I'll be doing the old-fashioned kind of research. Hopefully I'll turn up some good information. If anyone reading this has anything to share on the subject of the nonexistent Indiana state fossil, please feel free to email me at chasmosaurs(at)gmail(dot)com or leave a comment to this post.

Hey all. After reading the comment left by Double Beam, I wrote to the Cincinnati Dry Dredgers to ask about the locality of the fossil. Unfortunately, they were not able to provide an exact spot, as Mike wrote in a subsequent comment, the southeastern part of Indiana is the best place to find Ordovician fossils. Jack Kallmeyer from the Dry Dredgers wrote that "Isotelus and Flexicalymene trilobites are widespread throughout the Cincinnatian and can literally be found at almost any exposure. The best places to look would include sites exposing the Waynesville Formation or the Corryville." Thanks for the quick answer, Jack!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Indiana Geology at the Children's Museum

I recently visited the Children's Museum of Indianapolis for a series about the Dinosphere at Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs. While the Dinosphere is certainly worthy of all of the attention it gets, local natural history also gets some space. Here's a cool thumbnail version of Indiana's bedrock geology. It was overshadowed by the climbing wall next to it, so if you happen to visit with your kids, take a second to show them what's happening under their feet.

Indiana Geology

They also have this gorgeous slab of Borden limestone on display, featuring some nice crinoids from Crawfordsville.

Borden Group Crinoids