Author Archives: Mark Wilson

About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.

Wooster’s Fossil of the Week: A mystery fossil for my Invertebrate Paleontology students

At the beginning of my Invertebrate Paleontology course I give each student a fossil to identify by whatever means necessary. I challenge them to take it down to the species level, and tell me its age and likely place of … Continue reading
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Twenty-Ninth Annual Report of the Geology Department at The College of Wooster

Every year our Administrative Coordinator Patrice Reeder masterfully assembles the Annual Report of Wooster’s Geology Department. Every year this document grows in detail, creativity and information. This year’s report is now available at this link. The Annual Report is our … Continue reading
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A Wooster Geologist goes to a Bigfoot meeting

ORRVILLE, OHIO — The First-Year Seminar course I teach at Wooster is called “Nonsense! (And Why it’s So Popular)“. It is ostensibly about exploring irrational ideas in human society, such as astrology, conspiracy theories, pseudoscience, quack medicine, the “paranormal” and … Continue reading
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Wooster’s Fossil of the Week: An encrusted and bored oyster from the Upper Jurassic of northern England

This week’s fossil is a celebration of classes beginning again at Wooster, and a memory of excellent summer fieldwork. It isn’t especially attractive, but it has paleontological significance. We are looking at a broken surface through a thick oyster from … Continue reading
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Wooster’s Fossil of the Week: A blastoid from the Lower Carboniferous of Illinois

It is sometimes hard to believe that exquisite fossils such as the above are sometimes very common. The above is a theca of the blastoid Pentremites godoni (DeFrance, 1819) found in the Lower Carboniferous (Mississippian) of Illinois. (Thanks to expert … Continue reading
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Wooster’s Fossil of the Week: A very large Upper Jurassic ammonite from southern England

The shard above doesn’t look like much. It comes from a specimen far too large for us to excavate, let alone pack onto a plane for the trip home. Here’s a view of one of the full specimens still in … Continue reading
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Wooster Geologist at Niagara Falls

LOCKPORT, NEW YORK (August 10, 2015) — I know, such a cliché image, but you know it had to happen on this trip. This morning Andrej Ernst and I packed up 78 pounds of bryozoan-rich Silurian rocks and mailed them … Continue reading
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Final day in the Silurian of New York

LOCKPORT, NEW YORK (August 9, 2015) — This was the last day in the field for Andrej Ernst and me. We met all our goals (collecting bryozoans from the Rochester Shale, finding sclerobionts anywhere, and learning more about New York … Continue reading
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Return to the Silurian of New York

LOCKPORT, NEW YORK (August 8, 2015) — Andrej and I began some deep collecting of Silurian localities in the Lockport area today in our survey of the bryozoan and sclerobiont faunas. The sites are, shall we say, not the most … Continue reading
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Wooster’s Fossil of the Week: Small and common orthid brachiopods from the Upper Ordovician of Ohio

One of the many benefits of posting a “Fossil of the Week” is that I learn a lot while researching the highlighted specimens. I not only learn new things, I learn that some things I thought I knew must be, … Continue reading
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