Natural Resources

Fossils

Coral

A bottom-dwelling marine invertebrate organism of the Class Anthozoa.

This cross-section of fossilized coral in limy sandstone comes from the Glenwood area in central Newfoundland.

Ammonite

Ammonites are ancient cephalopod molluscs that were particularly abundant during the time of the dinosaurs.

This is a cross-section of an ammonite from western Canada. The living organism lived in the chamber at the end of the spiral. As it grew larger, it formed a new chamber. The animal had tentacles that it used to catch its food.

Stromatolite

Stromatolites are internally layered, mat or mound structures produced by sediment trapping, binding, and/or precipitation as the result of the activity of blue-green algae (cyanophytes).

Concentrically banded (growth features) mounds or mats consisting of calcium carbonate (limestone) and silt that is part of an old blue-green algae colony. They form large limestone (calcium carbonate) deposits in western Newfoundland.

Brachiopods and Gastropods

Brachiopods are a type of shelled animal with two unequal shell halves that usually lived attached to the seafloor by a stalk. Gastropods refer to any mollusc belong to the Class Gastropoda characterized by a distinct head with eyes and tentacles, and, in most, by a single calcareous shell that is closed at the apex (e.g., a snail).

Shelly limestone made from the shelly remains of sea creatures that accumulated on the seafloor. Brachiopods are the ribbed fan-shaped fossils in the centre of the picture. Gastropods are the spiral-shaped fossils in the lower left-hand corner. Brachiopods and gastropods are common fossils in central and western Newfoundland.

Trilobites

Ancient marine animals that lived millions of years ago. They were arthropods and were covered by a tough exterior skeleton that was divided into three main parts - head, body and tail. As they grew, they shed their skeleton to grow a larger one. Modern relatives include crabs and lobsters. Trilobites first appeared about 550 million years ago and became extinct about 240 million years ago.

This well-preserved trilobite surrounded by a matrix of trilobite fragments was collected from the Manuel's River area, near St. John's.

Precambrian Primitive Fossils

Some of the oldest fossils found in the world are about 570 million years old and are related to the present-day jellyfish and sea anemones. They were soft-bodied creatures without a skeleton or shell, and were only preserved because they were rapidly covered with fine-grained volcanic ash.

These specimens are found at Mistaken Point, near Cape Race on the Avalon Peninsula. The photo on the left shows the preserved impressions or casts of soft-bodied, multicellular organisms of Precambrian age. Two varieties, ribbed and spindle-shaped forms, are shown in the photograph. The photo on the right shows a frond-like form with a disc-shaped structure to the left. This disc may represent a circular anchorage for the once-upright frond-like form.

 
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