July 31, 2005 - Pennsylvanian Fossils, Walker Co, AL

BPS members visited a new site this month in Walker county. A starfish had been discovered on the scouting trip, so the group was hoping to find more specimens. This roadcut exposed Pennsylvanian shale which contained a small amount of plant material, including impressions and casts, and a layer containing several nice slabs of starfish casts, vertebrate tracks, and fish fin markings. The starfish are a type of echinoderm, and are in the class Asteroidea. We surveyed a large portion of the cut, but only found the starfish in one small area.

One of the more interesting finds of the day was a young kitten, living in a cave in the wall. It had apparently not eaten in quite a while, as it was nothing but a pile of bones. Several members fed her, and this friendly, loving little kitten now has a good home with Jan and Greg.

(Pictures courtesy Steve Corvin and Vicki Lais.)

making fossil collecting plans
Looking over the site, trying to decide where to start.

hunting fossils in road cut
Calamites rhizome
Calamites rhizome (root) showing distinctive round structures that "could" become new shoots.
 Calamites stem section
Calamites stem section - this is the part that would have been above ground, and looks similar to today's bamboo.

fossil starfish
Steve found this shale slab containing 2 very clear starfish on the scouting trip.

fossil starfish
A closer look.

hunting fossils in road cut
Lea digging through the rubble.

fossil calamites
Calamites - an impression and an inside mold.

showing off fossil starfish
Lea found a slab with a nice starfish cast.

fossil starfish
A closer look at Lea's starfish.

trace fossils
Possible raindrops and other trace fossils. Many of the fossil finds at this site were impressions on boulders too large to carry home.

lepidodendrum and calamites
These are impressions of lepidodendrum and calamites.

starfish slab
Bill found this slab of shale with several starfish impressions. He graciously allowed Greg to break it apart and shared it with other members.

starfish slab
A closer view of the slab. There are at least 6 starfish on this slab.
Bill found fossil starfish
Bill found the large slab containing several starfish. This is the piece he kept. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful find, Bill!

fossil starfish
A closer view.

fossil plant markings
More plant impression fragments.

Paige with new kitten friend
We found this newest member living in a cave in the rocks (the kitten, if you had to ask!), and nothing but skin and bones. We fed her and made a friend for life - Jan and Greg took her home to live with them.