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For many years, they were known only from tooth-like microfossils found in isolation and now called conodont elements. The animals are also called Conodontophora (conodont bearers) to avoid ambiguity.
Conodonts are considered index fossils, fossils used to define and identify geological periods.
The organisms range from a centimeter or so Figures 1, 2. The three forms of teeth, i.e., coniform cones, ramiform bars, and pectiniform platforms, probably performed different functions.
Conodonts from the Deer Valley Member of the Mauch Chunk Formation, Keystone quarry, Pa. Polygnathus sp., Pa element, upper view, reworked Late Devonian to Early Mississippian morphotype, X140. For many years, conodonts were known only from enigmatic tooth-like microfossils (200 micrometers to 5 millimeters in length), which occur commonly, but not always in isolation, and were not associated with any other fossil.
This collection (93RS–79c) is from the lower 10 cm of the Deer Valley Member. Until the early 1980s, conodont teeth had not been found in association with fossils of the host organism, in a konservat lagerstätte.
Note the nonabraded, although slightly broken, conodont elements of the high-energy oolitic marine facies of the Deer Valley Member. Kladognathus sp., Sa element, posterior view, X140. Cavusgnathus unicornis, gamma morphotype, Pa element, lateral view, X140. Conodonts from the uppermost Loyalhanna Limestone Member of the Mauch Chunk Formation, Keystone quarry, Pa. Cavusgnathus unicornis, alpha morphotype, Pa element, lateral view, X140. This is because most of the conodont animal was soft-bodied, thus everything but the teeth was unsuited for preservation under normal circumstances.
The Lau event, about 420 million years ago, a relatively minor mass extinction during the Silurian period, had a major impact on conodont populations.
Cloud State, had the day off after the Winnipeg Jets played in Edmonton on Monday. Both players, who are currently sidelined by injuries, took a day trip with a luxury fishing company called Sturgeon Slayers.
This collection (93RS–79b) is from the upper 10 cm of the Loyalhanna Member. These microfossils are made of hydroxylapatite (a phosphatic mineral). Conodont elements are also used as paleothermometers, a proxy for thermal alteration in the host rock, because under higher temperatures, the phosphate undergoes predictable and permanent color changes, measured with the conodont alteration index.
Note the highly abraded and reworked aeolian forms. This has made them useful for petroleum exploration where they are known, in rocks dating from the Cambrian to the Late Triassic.
Last year, though, an excavation was undertaken that would put those claims to the test.
“Heiltsuk oral history talks of a strip of land in that area where the excavation took place,” William Housty, a member of the nation, said.