Connecting the environment of the ancient past with the natural and cultural history of yesterday and today.




(Fossils that really aren't!)

Bone-like Shapes

   Rocks in the shape of bones are pretty common. There are a lot of different bones in the body - long leg and arm bones, rounded skulls, flattened shoulder and hip bones, flattened ribs, as well as small finger and toe bones and teeth.

   Some are elongated pieces of chert (quartz). Sometimes water sculpts soft sedimentary rock into bone-shapes. To determine if your rock is really a bone, look at it closely (a magnifying glass may be helpful). Do you see the Haversian canals or similar bone-structure? It is visible on the surface and especially in the cross-section.

   As a general rule, fossilized bone will be black, brown, blue, or orange. Only bones of ice age animals found in river sediment deposits retain a white color.

Chert in the shape of a bone in limestone, Clark County, Indiana.       Bone-shaped water worn limestone from Floyd county, Indiana.

           Chert Nodule in limestone - Clark County, Indiana        Water worn limestone - Floyd County, Indiana

Bone-shaped chert nodule, Floyd or Harrison County, Indiana.       Ironstone nodule from Floyd County, Indiana.

         Chert Nodule - Floyd or Harrison County, Indiana                  Ironstone Nodule - Floyd County, Indiana 

Limestone concretion, bowl-shaped from Meade County, Kentucky.          Odd chert perhaps shaped from trace fossils, Clark County, Indiana.

         Limestone concretion - Meade County, Kentucky         Chert (This could actually be trace fossils) - Clark Co., IN

A nodule of cone-in-cone from Jefferson County, Kentucky.       Odd-shaped chert concretion, Floyd or Harrison County, Indiana.

          Cone-in-cone Nodule - Jefferson County, Kentucky        Chert Nodule - Floyd and Harrison County, Indiana

Tooth-shaped, water-worn limestone, from a Florida beach.             Zigzag stylolites in limestone from Harrison County, Indiana.

                    A tooth? No, water sculpted limestone      Jaw? No, a common solution feature in limestone called

                                from a Florida beach.                            a stylolite. Harrison County, Indiana


              Chert concretion in the shape of a T. rex tooth             On Right: Shark-tooth-shaped rock composed of chert

                           Lake Cumberland, Kentucky                     and limestone. On left: real fossil shark tooth from Florida

                                                                                               for comparison, Hardin - Meade Co., Kentucky

“Not-Quite Ready for Primetime Fossils”

Egg-Like               Scale, Skin & Turtle-Patterns                   Wood-Like               

Faces & Oddities          Fossils that are not what they appear

Pseudofossil Main Page

Created February 22, 2010, Updated August 3, 2011