Saturday, June 23, 2012


(No, this is not a post about Greg Raymer.)

Here's another little treat we encountered on our walk at Sandia Peak. Look closely at the center of this picture. See a round thing protruding slightly from the rock face? I believe that is a marine fossil, probably some sort of ancient echinoid. You can see a similar example of a fossilized echinoid here for comparison. Cardgrrl took this picture while I held some branches out of the way to eliminate shadows on the object of our attention.

I'm sure that such fossils are a dime a dozen in the world of professional paleontologists. But I've never encountered one outside of a museum before. I have to say that it felt pretty cool to be wandering down a path and spot this critter that died tens of millions of years ago just sitting there, as if planted by a park ranger for the enjoyment of the hoi polloi who can't be bothered to do the hard work of digging up fossils.

It was very tempting to get some tools and chisel the thing out of the rock and take it home. But my guess is that they frown on that sort of behavior.

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