Marine Deposits Near Porter, Washington

This specimen is from the massive, tuffaceous siltstone and sandstone that runs through the town of Porter on the east side of the road. The fossil-rich bedding planes are well-exposed with concretionary beds throughout.

Collecting was possible in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s but may be forbidden (or heavily discouraged today) as the site is on a busy roadway. I made multiple trips to Porter back in the day with folk from Vancouver and Washington State. The primary focus in the early 2000’s were the crabs. They were just in the early stages of being written up and much excitement surrounded them.

But to each his own — as it happens, this wee tusk shell is one of my favorite fossils from the site as my trips to Porter were focused mainly on the molluscs.

Tusk or tooth shells, are members of a class of shelled marine mollusc with a global distribution. Shells of species within this class range from about 0.5 to 15 cm in length. This fellow is 8 cm end to end, so near smack dab in the centre of his cohort.

The Scaphopoda get their nickname “tusk shells” because their shells are conical and slightly curved to the dorsal side, making the shells look like tiny tusks (picture a walrus or mammoth tusk in your mind’s eye). The scientific name Scaphopoda means “shovel foot,” a term that refers to the “head” of the animal, which lacks eyes and is used for burrowing in marine sediments.FullSizeRender-30--f89n1xj4yn.jpg

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.

One Comment:

  • Vale: That’s a nice find! It’s in great condition!

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