Gastropod with Color Bands

Pennsylvanian Period
Hertha Limestone (at the very beginning of the Missourian series)
near Crescent, Iowa

gastropod with Color Bands

gastropod with Color Bands

gastropod with Color Bands
gastropod with Color Bands
Appears to be similar to a Platyceras

Subject:  Fossils with Color Bands (not fossil identification)

This is one of two specimens with color bands.

I would like to know about the frequency of occurrence of this type of preservation
in fossils. I read a paper awhile back about this in brachiopods. I know that these
things occur but how significant are they to the fossil record.

I also would like to know if they represent true color or a mineral replacement
of original color banding. That's probably an unanswerable question.

I would like to see the fossils in an institution if they are of significance. Would
freely donate them. Better yet they go to someone in the scientific community.

Bill Rushlau


Color patterns are rare, but widely known. I don't know anyone studying Platycerids.

This is definitely a platycerid. I have some vague memory of color banding
being reported in platycerids, but would have to search to find a report.
The probably reason for color preservation is that the platycerids have a
thick shell layer composed of calcite (rather than the more common aragonite),
which makes color banding easier to preserve.

Many examples of color patterns preserved in fossils have been noted
over the years, especially in the Journal of Paleontology, but there
is no general concept of what allows color patterns to be preserved.
This is a topic of interest, but it remains a topic without a good
conceptual model to help explain it.

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