Category Archives: Invertebrate fossils

Fossil Friday – ammonites

Among the most abundant and aesthetically varied fossils are the ammonites. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Foerestephyllum

IMG_5395Corals are such an iconic part of the modern ocean, it’s easy to overlook the fact that they didn’t become widespread until the Ordovician Period, 4 billion years after the Earth formed and some 30 million years after the Cambrian Explosion. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – bourbon and geology


In a few weeks we’ll be opening our new exhibit at WSC, “Life in the Ancient Seas”, which will include a fair number of specimens from Ordovician rocks in the midwest. In recognition of that event, I’m reposting this post, originally published on my old blog “Updates from the Paleontology Lab” in 2011. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – sunset clam

Asaphis centenaria

At the end of this month WSC is opening a new exhibit, “Life in the Ancient Seas”. A big portion of the staff’s efforts are currently focused on getting this ready, including writing labels for individual specimens; this may be the largest exhibit we’ve ever done in terms of shear specimen count! But sometimes these labels can be difficult to write, as the information is often obscure. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – abelone

Last week Cogstone Resource Management ( delivered a collection of Pleistocene deposits from Ventura County to the Western Science Center. This included a number of both vertebrate and invertebrate fossils. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – community on a half-shell

IMG_7835Life as a suspension feeder is a mixed blessing. Most suspension feeders are sessile, staying in one place for practically their entire life. They feed by extracting food particles from water, using a bewildering variety of suction tubes, mucus nets, feathery appendages, and various other anatomical variations. Almost every phylum of animals and many protists include examples of suspension feeders. It’s a lifestyle that could be regarded almost as idyllic, as you sway back and forth in the current, waiting on food to blunder into your mouth (for those suspension feeders that actually have mouths; not all do). But it can be treacherous, too. Those same currents that bring you your food can also rip you from your anchor point, carrying you off, where you may ironically end up as food for some other suspension feeder. Attaching to a solid, stable substrate is critical to survival for a suspension feeder, and in some environments there is a lot of competition for good spots. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – freshwater snail

IMG_2137The world of the dinosaurs was populated by some of the most gargantuan and charismatic animals ever to roam our planet. It is easy to forget that the Mesozoic Era was just as rich with all sorts of life as our modern world. Continue reading

Fossil Friday – Aviculopecten

During last week’s Valley of the Mastodons events, museum supporter Doug Shore donated a collection of invertebrate and plant fossils to Western Science Center.  Continue reading

Fossil Friday – pea clam

While the Diamond Valley Lake fossil fauna is best known for its mammals, there were also thousands of mollusks recovered. These are mostly minute freshwater species, and even though we have thousands of them the all fit easily in a single specimen case. Continue reading

Fossils of my youth

Inspired by the #GatewayFossil hashtag on Twitter, I’m reposting this piece that I originally published at “Updates from the Paleontology Lab” on June 9, 2009.

My first exposure to fossils in the field (as opposed to in a museum) occurred when I was around 5 years old. Continue reading