Exquisite Mazon Creek Polychaete Worm and Plant Fossils Association

Astreptoscolex anasillosus

Phylum Annelida, Class Polychaeta

Calamites sp


Geological Time: Pennsylvanian (~300 m.y.a.)

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Worm fossil is 40 mm long by 8 mm across; Plant fossil: 37 mm long by 17 mm across Matrix: 47 mm by 38 mm half

Fossil Site: Pit 11, Francis Creek Shale, Braidwood, Illinois

Code: MZF17

Price: Sold

Mazon Creek Polychaete Worm FossilDescription: The Mazon Creek deposits of the region near Braidwood, Illinois rival the other famous Lagerstatten of the Burgess Shale, Solnhofen, and Liaoning for the variety of detailed life preserved. Many exquisitely-preserved specimens are found in the ironstone nodules that make up the deposits. The majority of collecting areas are the spoil heaps of abandoned coal mines, the most famous of which is Polychaete WormPeabody Coal Pit 11. Pit 11 now serves as a cooling pond for the Braidwood nuclear power plant, but with over 100 localities, specimens still come to light. The Polychaeta (Bristleworms) have a diverse representation among Mazon Creek specimens. The segmented bodies of the Polychaeta have paired lobes called parapodia which have a function in locomotion or respiration. The parapodia bear numerous bristles which are the source of the name of the class (Polychaeta means many bristles). This one is thought to have been a predatory species, as are many modern-day bristleworms. The reverse shows a segment of the plant Calamites whose only living relative is the horsetail Equisetum.

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