Shell & Fossil Identification

Shells & Fossils

Follow this handy guide to learn more about your seashells & fossils


The seashells and fossils you will find during your Treasure Quest are from Africa and Asia.  Our shells are from the Indo-Pacific region of Asia which includes the tropical waters of the Indian and Pacific oceans.  Our fossils are from the Sahara Desert in Morocco.  This portion of Northern Africa was once covered in water and is rich in marine-life fossils from the Cretaceous period (145.5 – 65.5 million years ago) through the Eocene periods (56 – 33.9 million years ago).  We hope you enjoy learning more about your treasures!

Abalone
Abalone – The abalone shell is characterized by an iridescent sheen on the inside of the shell and is often prized for jewelry. The iridescence is called nacre or mother-of-pearl. This species of abalone is called a “Donkey’s-Ear Abalone” because of its interesting shape.
Bone Fragments
Bone Fragment – From time to time you will discover pieces of fossilized bone in your mining rough. While it’s hard to tell what type of animal they are from, one thing we do know is that they are millions of years old!

 

 

Button Tops
Button Top – These little animals live in sandy areas and have a smooth, flattened shell. They often have a speckled or banded pattern and range in color. They have a button-like appearance, hence their name.

 

Cerith - These spiral-shaped shells are one of the more abundant shallow-water dwellers. There are so many varieties that it is often hard to identify the specific species.
Cerith – These spiral-shaped shells are one of the more abundant shallow-water dwellers. There are so many varieties that it is often hard to identify the specific species.

 

Conch - This family of shells is characterized by having a very distinctive shape. The shells come to a point on both ends.
Conch – This family of shells is characterized by having a very distinctive shape. The shells come to a point on both ends.

 

Cone - All animals in this family have shells that are conical in shape. They are popular with shell collectors due to the wide variety of colors and patterns.
Cone – All animals in this family have shells that are conical in shape. They are popular with shell collectors due to the wide variety of colors and patterns.

 

Cowry - There are over two hundred different species of cowries and all have the same basic shell structure. They are most known for their glossy appearance, beautiful colors and “teeth” on the underside of the shell. They are nocturnal creatures and feed on algae in the coral reef.
Cowry – There are over two hundred different species of cowries and all have the same basic shell structure. They are most known for their glossy appearance, beautiful colors and “teeth” on the underside of the shell. They are nocturnal creatures and feed on algae in the coral reef.

 

 Dolphin - This small group of gastropods is characterized by its ornate and intricate shell. They are prized among collectors for their heavy ornamentation.

Dolphin – This small group of gastropods is characterized by its ornate and intricate shell. They are prized among collectors for their heavy ornamentation.

 

Elasmosaurus Tooth - The elasmosaur is a type of plesiosaur that lived in the Cretaceous period (145.5 - 65.5 million years ago). This long-necked marine reptile lived in the ocean and fed on fish and ammonites. On rare occasions, you may find fragments of an elasmosaur tooth in your Treasure Quest mining rough.
Elasmosaurus Tooth – The elasmosaur is a type of plesiosaur that lived in the Cretaceous period (145.5 – 65.5 million years ago). This long-necked marine reptile lived in the ocean and fed on fish and ammonites. On rare occasions, you may find fragments of an elasmosaur tooth in your Treasure Quest mining rough.

 

Moon Shell - The members of this family are commonly found on the sandy ocean floor and inhabit oceans around the world. The opening of the shell, or aperture, is half-moon shaped.
Moon Shell – The members of this family are commonly found on the sandy ocean floor and inhabit oceans around the world. The opening of the shell, or aperture, is half-moon shaped.

 

Mosasaur Tooth - The mosasaur family includes ocean-dwelling reptiles from the Cretaceous period. They became the dominant ocean predator following the decline of plesiosaurs. You may more commonly know of this animal from its cinematic role in the movie, Jurassic World. Like the Elasmosaur fossils, you may find fragments of Mosasaur teeth in your Treasure Quest mining rough on rare occasions.
Mosasaur Tooth – The mosasaur family includes ocean-dwelling reptiles from the Cretaceous period. They became the dominant ocean predator following the decline of plesiosaurs. You may more commonly know of this animal from its cinematic role in the movie, Jurassic World. Like the Elasmosaur fossils, you may find fragments of Mosasaur teeth in your Treasure Quest mining rough on rare occasions.

 

Murex - This family of shells is frequently collected for their beautiful, ornamental shell. You will also find these shells used in the hermit crab hobby.
Murex – This family of shells is frequently collected for their beautiful, ornamental shell. You will also find these shells used in the hermit crab hobby.

 

Nassa - This family of gastropods includes a large variety of small animals of varying color, patterns and ornamentation. They are found worldwide foraging in sandy places. The size of this family makes it challenging to identify the specific species.
Nassa – This family of gastropods includes a large variety of small animals of varying color, patterns and ornamentation. They are found worldwide foraging in sandy places. The size of this family makes it challenging to identify the specific species.

 

Nerite – The name of this small species of snail is derived from the name, Nerites, who was a sea god in Greek mythology. The story of Nerites includes the boy being changed into a shellfish and then restored back to his normal form.

 

Scallop – This is a family of bivalves is distinctly characterized by its fan-shaped, ribbed shell with “ears” on either side. Most scallops are free-swimming and do not attach to a substrate, allowing themselves the ability to escape from a predator by using jet-propulsion to swim backwards. Scallops do produce pearls although they are not as pretty as those made by their oyster cousins.

 

Screw Shell – Collected for their unique shape, screw shells have a prominent spiral that sets them apart from other gastropods. They are also called “tower shells” and are known for burrowing into the sandy ocean floor.

 

Sea Glass - A beachcomber’s favorite - sea glass starts off as a piece off of a broken bottle and is worn smooth over decades by continuously being tumbled in the ocean. It can take 20 to 50 years to achieve a smooth, round and frosted appearance which is prized by collectors. Hint: our sea glass is mechanically tumbled and is created under a much faster timeframe.
Sea Glass – A beachcomber’s favorite – sea glass starts off as a piece off of a broken bottle and is worn smooth over decades by continuously being tumbled in the ocean. It can take 20 to 50 years to achieve a smooth, round and frosted appearance which is prized by collectors. Hint: our sea glass is mechanically tumbled and is created under a much faster timeframe.

 

Sharks’ Teeth - Our sharks’ teeth come from the Sahara desert in Morocco. This desert was once underwater and was a prolific marine habitat. The teeth found in your Treasure Quest mining roughly date from the Paleocene (66 - 56 million years ago) through the Eocene periods (56 - 33.9 million years ago). You will predominantly find teeth from the Sand Tiger shark, but will also find teeth from the extinct Otodus shark on very rare occasions. The Otodus pre-dates the Megalodon and is believed to be the direct ancestor of the largest shark to have lived.
Sharks’ Teeth – Our sharks’ teeth come from the Sahara desert in Morocco. This desert was once underwater and was a prolific marine habitat. The teeth found in your Treasure Quest mining roughly date from the Paleocene (66 – 56 million years ago) through the Eocene periods (56 – 33.9 million years ago). You will predominantly find teeth from the Sand Tiger shark, but will also find teeth from the extinct Otodus shark on very rare occasions. The Otodus pre-dates the Megalodon and is believed to be the direct ancestor of the largest shark to have lived.

 

Stingray Plates - These fossils are of a stingray mouth plates used to crush their food.
Stingray Plates – These fossils are of a stingray mouth plates used to crush their food.

 

Top - Also known as cone-shaped top, these animals are in the same family as their smaller cousins, the button top. They can be found in a variety of colors including emerald green and rosy pink.
Top – Also known as cone-shaped top, these animals are in the same family as their smaller cousins, the button top. They can be found in a variety of colors including emerald green and rosy pink.

 

Turban - The turbans have a distinct shape that sets them apart from the rest. In addition to their unique shape, they often have a pearlescent interior and are commercially harvested for their mother of pearl.
Turban – The turbans have a distinct shape that sets them apart from the rest. In addition to their unique shape, they often have a pearlescent interior and are commercially harvested for their mother of pearl.

 

Vertebrae - From time to time you will find fossilized fish or shark vertebrae in your Treasure Quest mining rough. These pieces roughly date from the Paleocene (66 - 56 million years ago) through the Eocene periods (56 - 33.9 million years ago).
Vertebrae – From time to time you will find fossilized fish or shark vertebrae in your Treasure Quest mining rough. These pieces roughly date from the Paleocene (66 – 56 million years ago) through the Eocene periods (56 – 33.9 million years ago).