> Lone Star Quarry

Tetrapod Fossil Find

Tetrapod Fossil Find

Call it beginner’s luck. A ten (10) year old LaMoille boy was excited about going on his first field trip with the Earth Science Club of Northern Illinois (ESCONI), then he made an exciting discovery.

"I joined the club because I wanted to go on field trips with people who know more than I do" said Matthew Galloway, who has been collecting fossils since he was six (6).

During that first field trip with the club, he spotted a bone embedded in stone which turned out to be the most significant specimen found by 38 people searching for fossils in a LaSalle County quarry on June 4.

"This is the best thing I have found" said Matthew. The club’s field trip coordinator, Bealis Giddings of Mazon, told Matthew and Bruce Galloway the fossils was a leg bone from an amphibian known as a tetrapod.

Giddings has searched for fossils in upper Illinois River Valley quarries for ten (10) years.

"This is the biggest one I have seen. It is at least six times bigger than any I had seen," Giddings said.

Everyone involved in the field trip expressed appreciation to the quarry owners for giving them permission to look for fossils.

Bruce Galloway brought the fossil to the attention of Michael Philips, a geology instructor at Illinois Valley Community in Oglesby who took digital pictures of the fossil. He confirmed that the Galloways had found a tetrapod (a four-legged animal that looks like a mud puppy) from the Pennsylvanian Age (286-320 million years ago).

Philips e-mailed photos of the bone to Russ Jacobson, a geologist and paleontologist at the Illinois State Geological Survey in Champaign. "It is a nice specimen of a lower limb bone of a tetrapod", Jacobson said. "It may not tell us much about the species, but it is a record of another one".