September 30, 2016.
To conclude this 4-part series, I’ll share with you some of my favorite things in our non-live collections. Like Roseann and Neil, I’m also a big fan of rocks and minerals as well as fossils. I’m especially attracted to things with bold colors and interesting textures. My favorite color is blue, so I thought I’d show you this interesting mineral piece with brilliant blue azurite and if you look closely you’ll also see a bit of green malachite:
This next mineral sample (from Illinois) is an odd arrangement with delicate strontianite crystals that formed on top of the fluorite mineral crystal–pretty cool!
All that glitters is not gold–in this case it’s the mineral marcasite. This mineral comes in many shapes–the one shown here is about 5 cm across and has radiating crystals with a nice brassy, iridescent color.
Ah, fossils! I dearly love them! Here’s a few of my favorites…first lovely crinoids from Kansas. Crinoids are marine echinoderms related to seastars and sometimes called “sea lilies” though they are definitely animals and not plants! What were marine animals doing in Kansas, you ask? Much of the middle of the United States was covered by a shallow sea (Western Interior Seaway or Niobraran Sea) during the late Cretaceous.
I especially love it when delicate detail is preserved in fossils–here’s a fish (genus Diplomystus), an extinct freshwater fish related to today’s herrings, about 50 million years old from the famous Green River Formation in Wyoming–all those tiny bones!
I’m a big fan of Cenozoic mammals. The Cenozoic Era started about 65 million years ago (after the demise of the dinosaurs!) and is sometimes called “The Age of Mammals.” I’m especially fond of the early horses, so here’s a small jaw section with beautiful little teeth belonging to Hyracotherium (previously known as Eohippus) which is considered by most scientists to be a primitive horse, about the size of a small dog. It flourished during the Eocene epoch, about 60-45 million years ago and unlike modern horses, it still had toes, not hooves, and its teeth were shaped for browsing, not grazing.
Now for a really big fossilized tooth, that of the extinct shark, Carcharadon megalodon. This specimen was dredged from offshore in the Chesapeake Bay:
I like modern things, too! Here’s a skull of one of my favorite animals, the opossum, North America’s only marsupial mammal (it raises its young in a pouch like its Australian cousins, the kangaroos.) An omnivore, it has 50 teeth–more than any land mammal in North America!
Hope you enjoyed this series of posts sharing some of our favorite things in our non-live collections!