Kids Korner Fossil Collection from the 2021 Chicagoland Gems & Minerals Show

This page has information about the Fossil Collection bags handed out at the 2021 Chicagoland Gems & Minerals Association show.

Kids Corner collection of six fossils with a fossil identification chart.

Fossil Shark and Ray Teeth

Each Kids Korner Fossil Collection bag includes five shark teeth and one ray tooth collected from a phosphate mine in Morocco, Africa.

The teeth are between 50 and 70 million years old (before or after the extinction of giant dinosaurs — from the Late Cretaceous Period to the Early Cenozoic Era).

The shark teeth are often very sharp and come in many shapes and sizes. They came from many species and ages of sharks, most of them extinct. The ray teeth are rectangular in shape, with flattened, ridged surfaces. Ray teeth were used to crush the hard shells of the clams, snails, crabs, and shrimp that rays ate.

The Moroccan phosphate deposits also include fossils of dinosaurs, mosasaurs, pterosaurs, sea snakes, and bony fish. This website has more information about the Moroccan phosphate deposits and can help you identify some of your teeth:

Your Kids Korner Fossil Collection bag also includes four of these five fossils:

Fossil Crinoid Stem

Crinoids were common in the shallow seas that covered the much of the world hundreds of millions of years ago. Crinoids are related to sea stars, but the bodies and arms of most ancient crinoids were mounted on long stems, usually anchored to the sea floor. The crinoid stem fossil in the collection bag was part of a crinoid that lived in what is now Morocco, on the west coast of Africa, about 400 million years ago (during the Devonian Period). Go here to learn more about crinoid fossils:

Fossil Crinoid Stems

Fossil Snail Shell

The snail fossil in the collection bag includes both hardened mud that filled the shell after the animal died (called an internal mold) and some bits of preserved shell. We are not sure when or where these snails lived. Go here to learn more about how fossil shells can be preserved:

Fossil Snail Shells

Ram’s Horn Oyster

Although ram’s horn oysters are coiled like snails, they are ancient relatives of our modern edible oysters, which do not look coiled at all. This species of oyster lived in the shallow seas that covered what is now Austin, Texas during dinosaur times (Late Cretaceous, about 95 million years ago). This species scientific name is Ilymatogyra arietina. A related coiled oyster found in Britain is called the “devil’s toenail.”

Here’s a blog post about this species, Ilymatogyra arietina:

Fossil Ram’s Horn Oysters from Texas

Button Coral

Tiny button corals lived in the shallow seas that once covered the Midwest about 400 million years ago (during the Devonian Period). Each button-shaped skeleton supported a single, multi-tentacled coral animal (so it would be called a solitary, rather than a colonial, coral).

The scientific name for this coral is Hadrophyllum orbignyi, and they can be found in the Speed Limestone in Clark County, Indiana. Check this blog post for more information about this species:

Fossil Button Corals

Fossil Archimedes Stem

Archimedes were a type of colonial animal, called a bryozoan. The tiny bryozoan animals lived on sheets of lace-like material that spiraled around a central stem. Each collection bag contains part of the stem, but not the lacy material. Archimedes lived in Midwestern seas about 350 million years ago (during the Mississippian Period).

This web page has detailed information about Archimedes fossils: Go here to read about Archimedes and other bryozoan fossils in Illinois:

Fossil Archimedes Stems