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A 1.9" long molar from a Basilosaurid, a type of Archaeocete (primitive whale). These rare teeth come from the Late Eocene aged deposits in the Western Sahara near Dakhla, Morocco and are associated with teeth of the shark Auriculatus, a Megalodon ancestor.

Basilosaurids could reach gigantic sizes with some species reaching nearly 60 feet in length. It is believed that they fed exclusively on fish and sharks, and had a mouth full of teeth optimized for catching and chewing this prey. The front teeth in the jaw were pointed for catching and holding fish while they had very uniquely shaped, double rooted molars for chewing.

Just added to Fossil Era.

To celebrate Arbor Day, today we will be examining everyone’s favorite tree, Sudowoodo. Wait…what do you mean he’s not a tree? Sudowoodu is clearly a grass type, my fire pokemon will be great against him!

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve made that mistake. Despite looking and acting like a tree, Sudowoodo is a rock type, and is in fact one giant rock. If he is a rock, how can he be so convincing?

I would like to present to you, petrified wood:

All of these images are not of logs, but of rocks. Petrified wood is basically a fossilized tree, persevering the texture and appearance of bark and wood, despite being completely made of minerals.

It forms when a tree, a long time ago, becomes buried under layers of dirt and sediment. Underground, there is not as much oxygen so it becomes preserved and will not decay quickly. Then, slowly, over time, water washes through the ground and deposits minerals in the plant cells. As the cellulose and lignin decompose, the tree is completely replaced with stone. This whole process takes millions of years, but the result is a perfect stone replica of a tree.

Petrified wood we have can be dated anywhere from 60 million to 200 million years old.

Sudowoodo is not only made of wood, however, he has greens and leaves. Leaf fossils can form the exact same way, and if it were crystalized using a green mineral such as Actinolite or Glauconite (pictured),  how could anyone suspect that it wasn’t a tree at all?

Sudowoodo is composed of petrified wood and leaf fossils. This happened millions of years ago when a tree was buried in sediment, and was completely replaced with mineral as it decomposed.

I suppose this means Sudowoodo joins the ranks with Amaura and Aerodactyl, as a fossil pokémon. So go plant a tree! In a few million years, it may just be a Sudowoodo.

Happy Arbor Day!

A fossil skeleton of a primitive, Eocene aged whale at “Whales Valley”, 150 km southwest of Cairo, Egypt.  This spectacular site helps to provide an explanation to one of the biggest mysteries of the evolution of whales, the emergence of the whale as an ocean going mammal from a land-based animal. No other place in the world yields the number, concentration and quality of such fossils making it at particularly scientifically important location.

The whales found in Whale Valley possess small hind limbs, a feature that is not seen in modern whales.  They also have a powerful skull with teeth like those found in carnivorous land mammals. Several other types of mammals are present including three species of sea cows. These were fully marine like the whales, and likewise show primitive features not seen in modern species and possess teeth that suggest that they grazed on seagrasses and other marine plants.

Be sure to follow the Fossil Porn Tumblr blog for more amazing fossil photos and news stories.

We just got our first batch of large, chocolate Megalodon teeth done.  Just in time for Easter we’ve molded a Megalodon tooth in high quality, dark, milk and white chocolate.  The teeth are just under 5 inches long and contain 4 ounces of chocolate.  Each one is individually packaged along with Megalodon facts & information.

For sale at: https://www.fossilera.com/browse_products

Was drawing fossils out of a book at the Boston Public Library. “What is this horrifying-looking thing?” I exclaimed.

A horse. It was a damned horse skull. Horse ancestors from millions of years ago? Not even that freaky. Current horses and their skulls? Super freaky.

Archaeopteryx 

A bird that lived during the Late Jurassic period that is a transitional species between feathered dinosaurs such as Velociraptor and Anchiornus, and modern birds. The feather impressions found on archaeopteryx are advanced flight feathers, and suggest feathers began evolving well before the Late Jurassic. Also, this fossilized version is super creepy and super cool.

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We sell a lot of these cut and polished ammonite fossils from Madagascar, but I think this 6 inch wide pair is particularly interesting.  It has some brilliant purple coloration, which I’ve only seen in a few of them.  The inner chambers of these 110 million year old fossil cephalopods has been filled in with a silica based material, more commonly referred to as being “agatized”  Check them out at FossilEra.com

The purple color is likely a product of manganese compounds being present in the silica (quartz/agate) that filled in the chambers.

Take a tour of fossils across geologic time and evolution

A tour of life over geologic time and evolution as evidenced by the fossil record:

Precambrian Fossils I Cambrian Fossils I Ordovician Fossils I Silurian Fossils I Devonian Fossils I Carboniferous Fossils I Permian Fossils I Triassic Fossils I Jurassic Fossils I Cretaceous Fossils I Tertiary Fossils


Also see:

The Natural History of Dragons

With their enormous size, reptilian shape and threatening teeth and claws, some dragons might easily be taken for cousins of Tyrannosaurus rex. Living dinosaurs did not inspire the dragon idea–they died out long before people were around to observe them. But the fossil remains of extinct animals have sometimes been taken for dragon bones–and helped perpetuate old dragon stories.

  • Long before the development of paleontology, people unearthed fossilized bones in Asia and Europe–and believed they had found the remains of dragons from an earlier age.
  • In traditional Chinese medicine, longgu, or “dragon bones,” are prescribed as a treatment for numerous ailments, from madness to diarrhea and dysentery. Most fragments and powders sold in Chinese pharmacies as dragon bone come from fossil remains of extinct mammals, unearthed from China’s renowned fossil beds.
  • The skull of a woolly rhinoceros (Coelodonta antiquitatis) was once kept in the town hall of Klagenfurt, Austria. It was said to be the remains of a dragon slain before the city was founded around AD 1250.

Learn more about the history of dragons around the world

Fossilization is an extremely rare event.

To appreciate this point, consider that there are 10 specimens of the first bird to appear in the fossil record, Archaeopteryx.

All were found in the same site in Germany where limestone is quarried for printmaking (the bird species name is lithographica). If you accept an estimate that crow-sized birds native to wetland habitats in northern Europe would have a population of around 10,000 and a life span of 10 years, and if you accept the current estimate that the species existed for about two million years, then you can calculate that about two billion Archaeopteryx lived.

But as far as researchers currently know, only 1 out of every 200,000,000 individuals fossilized. For this species, the odds of becoming a fossil were almost 40 times worse than your odds are of winning the grand prize in a provincial lottery.

—  Biological Science, Second Canadian Edition (Textbook); Freeman, Harrington, Sharp

Just in time for Valentines day.  Heart shaped stoneware from Morocco.  It’s made out of Devonian aged fossiliferous limestone containing fossil goniatites (a primitive ammonite) and orthoceras (a straight cephalopod).  We have two sizes, one that is about 4 ½" tall for $12 and one that is 6 ½" tall for $19.  Check them out at FossilEra.com

Frankensquid creature roamed seas 480m years ago

A 480-million-year-old relative of the lobster, cockroach and tarantula was a sea monster which snared food with spine-covered protrusions on its head, researchers said Wednesday.    

The two-metre (seven-foot) creature used spiny appendages to filter morsels from ocean water, said a study in the journal Nature.

The technique is similar to the method used by modern-day ocean giants like baleen whales. But the bizarre beast also shared features with today’s arthropods, the family of invertebrates with exoskeletons that includes spiders, insects, crustaceans and centipedes.

It had pairs of “flaps”, possibly for swimming, along the length of its segmented body.

Aegirocassis benmoulae is the earliest giant filter feeder yet discovered.

The creature’s anatomy was pieced together by studying fossils unearthed at Morocco’s Lower Fezouata Formation and kept in the collection of the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History in Connecticut.

Reconstruction of the giant filter-feeding anomalocaridid Aegirocassis benmoulae from the Early Ordovician (ca 480 million years old) of Morocco feeding on a plankton cloud. Aegirocassis reached a length in excess of 2 m, making it one of the biggest arthropods to have ever lived, and foreshadows the appearance much later of giant filter-feeding sharks and whales. Credit: Marianne Collins, ArtofFact