Mystery Fossils Found on Dry Dredgers Field Trips

This page will document fossils found on our field trips that defy identification. As time goes on, the fossils tend to find an identity. As that happens, the web master will update this page with what we've learned about these strange ones. Send your thoughts and identifications to Bill Heimbrock at


Here is a very unusual item found on the March 2002 field trip to our favorite northern Kentucky road  cut that exposes the Southgate member of the Kope formation. I have no idea what it is, but it may be a rare Echinoderm and must be very uncommon. It might be a carpoid! Or it could be a new variety of an algae similar to Receptaculites that has recently been found at a neighboring site. Note the trail or groove in the shale beside it that looks like a pair of spines or stems were dragging through the mud?

This next Mystery Fossil was found on our May 2006 field trip the same Northern Kentucky Kope site that the previous mystery fossil was found. We think it's most likely a very rare type of Cephalopod. It was found by the Janssen family, visiting from Wisconsin. We later saw an identified specimen at a Dry Dredgers meeting for which the similarity was dead on.

This next Mystery Fossil is a tiny pyritized animal, just 12 mm long. It has fine details that should make it easy to identify. It was found on our September 2007 field trip to our Southeast Indiana road cut that exposes the Waynesville through the Whitewater formations of the Richmondian. So far, the knowledgeable individuals have guessed that it's a Cephalopod. 
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Here's one from our March 2002 field trip to a Northern Kentucky Kope site. This limestone and shale mixture was pulled out of one of the several mollusc layers on the site. Note first the great variety of gastropods (snail shells) on this rock. Closer examination of the surface revealed a structure with ridged plates (shown in the black box, but not clear in the photo). This structure could be a number of things and requires a professional to correctly identify. It could be a Conularia (jellyfish shell) or a Machaeridian (a problematic fossil), among others. Whatever it is. It's probably rare and special.

Send your thoughts, guesses and identifications to Bill Heimbrock at

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