| Prehistoric Pittsford
Fossils of the Pittsford Shale
In additiion to the eurypterids, the shales and dolomitic rocks of the Salina Group contain other fossils, including clams (pelecypods), Lingula sp. (an inarticulate brachiopod), ostracods (small beanlike arthropods) and some shrimplike creatures (phyllocarids). Many of the fossils collected from Pittsford and nearby areas are still under investigation. Some fossils found are only parts of an animal. Since (molting is a necessary process in arthropods in order to grow to larger size, this process increases greatly the probability of preservation in the fossil record. The creatures have to be reconstructed as best we can with the most current data we have from the parts we have discovered.
Work is currently in progress to reconstruct a pterygotid eurypterid, based upon isolated parts found at a number of sites in upstate New York. The pterygotids were, without doubt, carnivorous eurypterids and were probably the 'sharks' of the Silurian waters and may have grown to several feet in length. Such beasts would have had no problem attacking phyllocarids and the smaller eurypterids like Hughmilleria.
The study of fossils, paleontology, can be exciting. The finding of fossils often leads to new discoveries that lead to more precise reconstructions of the prehistoric animals and our appreciation of the life of the past. Reconstructing the pterygotid of the Pittsford Black Shale will be quiite an interesting challenge. It will be shared here, on the world wide web, first. Stay 'tuned.'
Another eurypterid, Mixopterus, is a strange, somewhat scorpionlike animal. Very few specimens of this animal have been obtained, but the animal is well-known from the rocks of Norway. It may well have been a form that was quite capable of creeping up onto the Late Silurian land- scape. Mixopterus is known from Pittdford, Gananda and, perhaps, from the Farmers Mills Member on Oriskany Creek in Eastern New York.
COPYRIGHT Samuel J. Ciurca, Jr. 2000
|Ice Age Pittsford
During the past 1-2 million years, a thick, glacial, ice shhet covered the region and changed the landscape for- ever.. Learn more about this aspect of Prehistorid Pittsford.
|From a group of extinct horseshoe crabs, like Pseudoniscus (at left), evolved the modern horseshoe crabs like Limulus. Horseshoe crabs are found today in coastal waters along the Atlantic Ocean. Many specimens, mostly molts, collect on the beaches, and presumably Pseudoniscus also accumu- lated, along with other debris, in windrows sorted by in- coming currents along Paleozoic shorelines. Fossil remains, including eurypterids and horseshoe crabs, are often found in windrows in the Late Silurian waterlimes and black shales. Many specimens have been reported from the Vernon Formation and the Syracuse Formation of New York and from the Bertie Group of Ontario, and New York State. At the present time, most specimens of Pseudoniscus are currently being collected from the Williamsville Formation of Ontario, Canada, where quarries expose Williamsville A, the lower eurypterid-bearing unit of the formation.
Samuel J. Ciurca, Jr. March 1, 2001