The shell of Dentalium, a Scaphopod which resembles a elephant tusk. Although generally rare as fossils, Scaphopods were apparently common in the prehistoric sea which covered the Florissant area millions of years ago. This creature, a Scaphopod, would bury itself in thesea floor, with the pointed end projecting into the water. It was a carnivore, feeding on other mollusk or the one-celled Foraminifera. Dentalium is a living fossil, near identical varieties live in modern coastal regions. This specimen is approximately 3 1/2 inches long and comes from shale deposits (Marmaton formation) near I-270 and West Florissant Ave. in north St. Louis county. The site was discovered by Scott Williams and Don Mckinnis back in the late 1970's.
The above rugose corals ("horn corals") verify that this shale layer was deposited by a tropical sea.
Fragments of teeth of an
This webpage by Scott K. Williams of Florissant, Mo. Copyright 1999, All Rights Reserved.