Fossiliferous limestone, with shells in the rock matrix, Shelbyville, Kentucky

Brachiopods residing in limestone, which is not uncommon at all. But what I like about this piece is how the fossils are enveloped in the limestone (mud) bedrock, almost as if you spotted them on the seafloor bottom. In so many ways, fossils still attached to their bedrock, and not sawed or carved or polished up, are the best.

Picked this up in the 1990s walking across Thomassen Jelsma Davis’ (one of my daughter-in-law) family farm.  It was a hot day, and as we crossed a tiny and dry creek the layer of which this was once a part suddenly showed up.  I liked seeing a nearly horizontal stream bed carving a shallow channel on a nearly horizontal limestone bed hundreds of millions of years old.  No need to get technical with such a find, except to say that brachiopods are cool because when they die, and their muscles give out, the shell closes tight (unlike their friends the pelecypods, who do just the opposite).  

Age & Formation