Unusual Cyclus Mazon Creek Crustacean Fossil

Cyclus americanus

Class Crustacea, Order Maxillipoda

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

Size (25.4mm=1 inch): Fossil is 18 mm long, 10 mm across, Matrix: 32 mm by 45 mm

Fossil Site: Mazon Creek - Francis Creek Shale, Braidwood, Illinois

Code: CB13

Price: $25.00

Description: 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 Peabody Coal Pit 11. Pit 11 now serves as a cooling pond for the Braidwood nuclear power plant, but with over 100 other localities, specimens still come to light. The taxonomy of these animals has been under dispute ever since their discovery in the late 1800s; they are currently thought to have the copepods as nearest relatives. They have been thought to have possibly parasitized fish, but their association with plant matter seems to indicate habits more like the crabs. Usually, only the shell is preserved, but here the long antennae can just be made out.

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