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!


  1. any idea as to the locality of the specimen in the video?

  2. You know, I'm not sure. But I'm emailing the Cincinnati Dry Dredgers, as it seems to have been at their booth at a rock show. I'll post an update when I figure it out.

  3. Thanks a lot. A field trip may be necessary.

  4. Nice post plus great idea for a blog theme.

    Kentucky's fossil is just the brachiopod, no specific genus or species. So Indiana might have to just make the crinoid its fossil which open up larger areas of the state to finding that fossil. Even though the Crawfordsville crinoids are world famous and quite expensive once prepped. I am somewhat partial to the Eucalyptocrinus crinoids of Waldron, Indiana.

    As for the Isotelus, the places I know where to find Ordovician Period marine fossils is the southeastern part of the state. The fossil dealer indiana9fossils has a super nice specimen at his web site here. It was found in the Dillsboro Formation of Oldenberg, Indiana. Not sure about the spelling of the city name since Google Maps cannot find Oldenberg but does find Oldenburg.

    The Indiana State Museum has that fossil now. If you look at their on-line collections database you will see another Isotelus found in Franklin County near Oldenberg.

  5. Thanks for the comment, Mike. That's a good idea, too - expecially since most folks can't distinguish between different crinoids! Not saying that I'm much better at it, sadly.