Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The First Utah Cephalopod Fossil

Title Page

Although fossil cephalopods had probably been collected by the Native Americans, fur trappers and early Immigrants for years, the 1859 Simpson Survey was one of the first scientific expeditions that collected fossils, and probably the first to collect cephalopods and have the results published.  Mr. Henry Englemann "the zealous geologist of the party", collected what is to my determination, the first fossil cephalopod to be mentioned in the scientific literature from what is now the State of Utah.   Englemanns's fossils were described and/or listed by F. B. Meek in: Appendix J., Report on the Palaeontological Collections of the Survey (p. 339-373 pls. I-V).

page 371

On page 371, in the list of Lower Carboniferous Forms, appears; Nautilus ____, undt. sp., No. 201.  It was not figured, only listed.  The given coordinates puts it just south of Fivemile Pass, a few miles west of Fairfield, a place I collected many brachiopods as a kid.  The Mississippian Manning Cyn. Shale and Great Blue Limestone both crop out in that area, so one of those formations is probably the provenance.

Though this report was completed before the Civil War, it was not printed by the government until 1876 because of it.