So what is it? In the early 1990's, I was conducting one of our first field trips through the Colorado Plateau region, and at a stop to observe the sediments of the Chinle Formation, one of the students picked up the sample seen in the picture. I am admittedly not a paleontologist, but I looked and looked and couldn't make heads or tails of it. It sat on my desk for seven or eight years, until I walked through the visitor center at Petrified Forest National Park (the park is a showcase for the Chinle Formation), when I got it! Can you?
It looks sort of like a coral. Is the Chinle marine?
It's probably not quite fair that I answer, since I've prepped and dealt with more of these than I'd care to think about in my career, but it's a chunk of a phytosaur scute. Could be aetosaur, but the pitting pattern looks more phytosaurian to me.
I would have guessed a coral, also, but the Chinle isn't marine. No good pictures of "scutes" online to be easily found, so possibly you have the best photo published. If, indeed, that's what it is!
So it's a reptile scale plate? I never would have guessed that! Totally would have guessed some kind of tabulate coral.
Hey, I just wanted to mention that, on a whim, I picked up a copy of the Geology Illustrated that you mentioned a few posts back. It's fantastic, both the explanations and pictures. Thanks for posting about it :)
This is a portion of an interclavicle from a metoposaurid.
I agree with Bill - definitely a part of a metoposaur interclavicle.
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