Rudists: A fossil story

Jack Shimon (USA)

This article is adapted from a presentation given at the Denver Gem Show, September 17, 2016 by me, Jack Shimon. When I was six and a half years old, my Grandpa took me fossil hunting in central Texas. We went to a Carboniferous Limestone quarry that he had visited earlier and was given permission to enter and collect from. This was one of my first fossil hunting trips and I really enjoyed it. The ancient reef we went to (now a quarry) had huge boulders of limestone and tube-like things in it we later to be found to be rudist bivalves. This article is all about these finds and the efforts we went to, to find out what they were.

Fig 1. The author at the quarry. (Photo credit: Mike Hursey.)
Fig. 2. This Google satellite image shows the reef we collected from. Two of the three lobes
have been excavated for limestone. You can also see smaller pinnacle reefs marked with the
short arrows. All of the reefs rise above the flat Texas landscape. (Permission from
‘Special Use Guidelines’.)
Fig. 5. We were curious about the mould fossil
in this picture and what caused the spiny
ridges lining it.
Fig. 6. The casts in the photo have a tube
shape suggesting they might have grown
on stalks. Looking closely, you can also see
junctions in the stalk.

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