2" Pyrite Replaced Brachiopod (Paraspirifer) Fossil on Shale - Ohio

 
This is a brachiopod fossil of the species Paraspirifer bownockeri that has been replaced by glittering pyrite. It comes from the Devonian aged Silica Shale near Sylvania, Ohio. The brachiopod was prepped free of the surrounding rock, cleaned and then remounted back to the shale. The quarries where these brachiopods used to be found are now closed to collectors so they are much harder to acquire.

You can really feel the heft of the iron pyrite in this specimen and shale when you hold it in your hand.

Brachiopods are members of the phylum Brachiopoda. They are clam-like with wide shells composed of two halves called valves. They are filter feeders that live a-fixed to rocks or on the seafloor. Brachiopods first appear in early Cambrian. These were simple forms with non-articulating shells. Their diversity peaked during the Devonian and there are currently 12,000 described fossil species of Brachiopoda from 5,000 genera. Most species of brachiopod died out during the Permian-Triassic Extinction but there are about 450 species living today. They live in cold, marine environments, like polar seas or the continental shelf and slope. The largest fossil Brachiopod is 7.9 inches (200 mm). Most are 2-4 inches (3-8 cm). Living Brachiopods also fall into this range.

Brachiopods are more closely related to Bryozoans than Mollusks. The easiest differences to identify are in the shells of clams and Brachiopods. Mollusk shells are divided into left and right while Brachiopod shells are divided top (dorsal) and bottom (ventral). The shells of mollusks are usually equal on the right and left. In Brachiopods, the bottom shell is larger than the top. The other big difference is in how they feed. Both are filter feeders but mollusks extend their filter into the water and pull food into its shell. Brachiopods have internal feeding structures. Water is drawn into the shell where the food is filtered out before expelling it out.
DETAILS
SPECIES
Paraspirifer bownockeri
LOCATION
Sylvania, Ohio
FORMATION
Silica Shale
SIZE
2" wide brachiopod on 5.2 x 3.2" shale
CATEGORY
ITEM
#136656
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