Conodonts, the microscopic phosphatic tooth-like remains of an extinct eel-like marine organism, perhaps the first vertebrate, have been enigmatic since their initial description in 1856. While the biological affinities remain controversial, and the subject of a recent book: “The Great Fossil Enigma - Search for the Conodont Animal,” Simon Knell, 2012, the utility of the fossils is unprecedented in the Paleozoic for biostratigraphy, geochemical analysis, facies analysis, and geothermometry. To wit, five period boundaries are defined by conodonts, and 31 stage boundaries from the upper Cambrian to the end of the Triassic. Conodonts are one of several easily collected, widely studied, certainly beautiful microfossils. In North America the first report of conodonts included the Upper Devonian North Evans Limestone which is well exposed on Eighteenmile Creek and the Lake Erie shore in Erie County.
D. Jeffrey Over
Professor of Geological Sciences at SUNY- Geneseo, where started in 1991; BS – Allegheny College, MSc – University of Alberta, PhD – Texas Tech University. Teaches classes in Stratigraphy, Sedimentology, Invertebrate Paleontology, Field Methods, History of Life, and Environmental Sciences. Has studied conodonts from five continents, with a main focus on Silurian through Carboniferous, concerned mostly with biostratigraphy, boundary intervals and mass extinctions, sequence stratigraphy, calibration of the Devonian time scale, and black shale deposition.