I found this fossil ? in a bed of red sandstone in Somerset recently, strangly by the side of the A38 Bridgewater Road. It is approx. 18 x 10 x 5 cms. and is sandstone with calcite (?) crystalls on one edge and on the top side numerous tubular 'stems'' arranged in a fan like array. On one end there is a batch of 'stems' end-on. There are a number of bits of crinoid stem on the underside, buried in what is mainly consolidated sand. I have struggled to find any fossilised crinoids, corals or sponges that look like this item. Below are 5 photos of the main areas. Please help!
It's either a coral or a bryozoan. I think coral is most likely, though I'm not sure. Crinoid is also a possibility, but I doubt it.
I have attached an image of a similar coral fossil which I found in Whitby.
Dan, thank you for that. I hoped someone would suggest coral! I have a number of books on the subject and have researched via the internet and the only vaguely similar item was a coral. I hope to get to the N H Museum in London in the near future to see if they can i.d. it. Your photo must be of early Ediacaran worms surely.....!
Dan's photo is a coral alright; along the lines of Lithostrotion.
Ediacaran fauna in Whitby would be a turn-up for the books (as I guess you know, from your exclamation mark!)
And I think Dan's right in that yours could be similar.
What structure can you see end-on in any one of them? (I hope out of all that lot, there is at least one that might show some internal structure).
Hi Mike, Dan and Tabfish,
Thanks for your interest.
Firstly, the matrix is limestone, not sandstone like I first stated. (it bubbles with vinegar) although the soft red sediment on the underside looks like sand under my microscope (x80)
I broke off one tube/stem (about 1mm - 1.5mm) and mounted it on bluetack under the 'scope' and it is solid calcite inside I think. Vitreous, shiny and quite soft, will scrape with knife. One or two pieces have a hole in the centre but generally they are solid. Some have radial lines around the periphery like a Rugose coral section.
On further internet research it could be a Syringopora tabulate coral, found some near identical photos on 'Louisville Fossil' site which were found in Devonian limestone Kentucky. One other pic from a specimen found in UK also similar. A description as "Organ Pipe ' coral which I also saw is quite accurate I suppose.
Do you wish you hadn't asked now?!
Hello Richard, very nice find.
I agree with Dan and Mike as to it probably being a coral, but whatever it is you very rarley find a specimen like yours that is 'self prepped'.
Nature has erroded the matrix from around the fossil to show how good it is.