RARE Mazon Creek Bandringa Museum Shark Fossil

Part and Counterpart Specimen

Bandringa rayi

Order Selachii, Suborder Ctenacanthoidea, Family Bandringidae

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

Size (25.4 mm = 1 inch): Fossil is 45 mm long (curve measure), Matrix: 40 mm by 40 mm nodule pair

Fossil Site: Pit 11, Mazon Creek, Braidwood, Illinois

Fossil Code: RCF01

Price: Sold

Bandringa rayiDescription: 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 Bandringa negative photographpond for the Braidwood nuclear power plant, but with over 100 other localities, specimens still come to light. This one is of the bizarre shark with a long rostrum known as Bandringa rayi. This particular one is seen in dorsal aspect with the eyes quite evident. The nodule split in such a way that the rostrum is preserved in only one side. It is difficult to see unless the light catches it just right. I have included a negative photograph (to the right) to point it out more clearly. Until recently, there were thought to be two species: B. rayi and B herdinae, with the latter found in freshwater deposits in Ohio and Pennsylavania, while the Mazon Creek species was preserved in brackish and saltwater deposits. A publication earlier this year presents the conclusion that there is in fact only one species, and that they hatched in a marine environment and moved into freshwater to grow and mature. Whatever the case Bandringa rayi from Mazon Creek is a very scarce animal with only some 50 examples known at present. Discovered by collector Ray Bandringa in 1967, this is another shining example of the value of amateur paleontologists to the scientific community.

Fieldiana Geology, Vol 12 No 10 Mar 24, 1969, pp157-169
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology, Vol 34 No 1, 2014.

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