GB0002. Texas Fossils: An Amateur Collector's Handbook


GB0002. Texas Fossils: An Amateur Collector's Handbook, by W. H. Matthews III. 123 p., 26 figs., 49 pls., 1960. ISSN: 0363-4132: ISBN: 978-1-970007-07-7. Print.

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GB0002. Texas Fossils: An Amateur Collector's Handbook, by W. H. Matthews III. 123 p., 26 figs., 49 pls., 1960. ISSN: 0363-4132: Print. ISBN: 978-1-970007-07-7.

About This Publication
Designed for use by fossil collectors, students, and teachers, this nontechnical guide is a classic introduction to the fossils of Texas. It offers useful information, for example by defining what fossils are, where and how to collect them, and how they are used. The author offers suggestions on how the specimens can be identified and catalogued and includes many illustrations of the main types of plant and animal fossils. Included also is a simplified geologic map of Texas and a brief review of Texas geology.

Keywords: fossils, fossil collecting, Texas fossils, Texas geology, handbooks


What are fossils?

The study of fossils


Invertebrate paleontology

Vertebrate paleontology


Preservation of fossils

Requirements of fossilization

Missing pages in the record

Different kinds of fossil preservation

Original soft parts of organisms

Original hard parts of organisms

Calcareous remains

Phosphatic remains

Siliceous remains

Chitinous remains

Altered hard parts of organisms


Petrifaction or permineralization

Replacement or mineralization

Replacement by calcareous material

Replacement by siliceous material

Replacement by iron compounds

Traces of organisms

Molds and casts

Tracks, trails, and burrows







Where and how to collect fossils

Collecting equipment

Where to look

How to collect

Cleaning and preparation of fossils

How fossils are named

The science of classification

The units of classification

Identification of fossils

Use of identification keys

Identification key to main types of invertebrate fossils

List of Texas colleges offering geology courses

Cataloging the collection

How fossils are used

Geologic history

Geologic column and time scale

The geology of Texas


Trans-Pecos region

Texas Plains

High Plains

North-central Plains

Edwards Plateau

Grand Prairie

Llano uplift

Gulf Coastal Plain


Precambrian rocks

Paleozoic rocks








Mesozoic rocks




Cenozoic rocks



Main types of fossils

Plant fossils

Classification of the plant kingdom

Division Thallophyta

Division Bryophyta

Division Tracheophyta

Animal fossils

Phylum Protozoa

Class Sarcodina

Order Foraminifera

Order Radiolaria

Phylum Porifera

Phylum Coelenterata

Class Anthozoa

Subclass Zoantharia

Order Rugosa

Order Scleractinia

Order Tabulata

Phylum Bryozoa

Phylum Brachiopoda

Class Inarticulata

Class Articulata

Phylum Mollusca

Class Gastropoda

Class Pelecypoda

Class Cephalopoda

Subclass Nautiloidea

Subclass Ammonoidea

Subclass Coleoidea

Order Belemnoidea

Phylum Annelida

Phylum Arthropoda

Subphylum Trilobitomorpha

Class Trilobita

Subphylum Crustacea

Class Ostracoda

Phylum Echinodermata

Subphylum Pelmatozoa

Class Cystoidea

Class Blastoidea

Class Crinoidea

Subphylum Eleutherozoa

Class Asterozoa

Subclass Asteroidea

Subclass Ophiuroidea

Class Echinozoa

Subclass Echinoidea

Subclass Holothuroidea

Phylum Chordata

Subphylum Hemichordata

Class Graptolithina

Subphylum Vertebrata

Superclass Pisces

Class Agnatha

Class Placodermi

Class Chondrichthyes

Class Osteichthyes

Superclass Tetrapoda

Class Amphibia

Class Reptilia









Crocodiles and alligators



Order Saurischia

Suborder Theropoda

Suborder Sauropoda

Order Ornithischia

Suborder Ornithopoda

Suborder Stegosauria

Suborder Ankylosauria

Suborder Ceratopsia

Class Aves

Class Mammalia

Subclass Allotheria

Subclass Theria

Order Edentata

Order Carnivora

Order Pantodonta

Order Dinocerata

Order Proboscidea

Order Perissodactyla





Order Artiodactyla



Books about fossils

General works

Nontechnical and juvenile

Collecting helps

Reference works

Selected references on Texas fossils






1. Sketch of a coprolite—fossilized animal excrement

2. Sketch of a gastrolith—the gizzard stone of an ancient reptile

3. Dendrites—a typical pseudofossil

4. Types of symmetry in a fossil coral

5. Bilateral symmetry in fossil brachiopod

6. A brachiopod showing specimen number and accompanying label

7. Two types of micropaleontological slides

8. Typical Pennsylvanian crinoidal limestone

9. Typical Texas Foraminifera

10. Typical radiolarians

11. Morphology and principal parts of corals

12. Two types of bryozoans

13. Morphology and principal parts of articulate brachiopods

14. Lingula, a typical inarticulate brachiopod

15. Kingena wacoensis, a common Cretaceous brachiopod

16. Morphology and principal parts of gastropod

17. Morphology and principal parts of a typical pelecypod shell

18. Morphology and principal parts of the pearly nautilus

19. Characteristic features of the various types of cephalopod sutures

20. Types of typical fossil annelid worms

21. Morphology and principal parts of trilobites

22. Two extinct attached echinoderms, Pentremites and Caryocrinites

23. Typical modern crinoid, or “sea lily,” showing principal parts

24. Graptolites

25. Sketches of mastodon and mammoth teeth

26. Two views of a typical fossil horse tooth



1. Geologic time scale (frontispiece)

2. Types of fossil preservation

3. Silicified brachiopods dissolved from Permian limestones of the Glass Mountains, Brewster County, Texas

4. Dinosaur tracks in limestone in bed of Paluxy Creek near Glen Rose, Somervell County, Texas

5. Fossil collecting equipment

6–8. Fossil identification charts

9. Physiographic map of Texas

10. Geologic map of Texas

11. Geologic range of the major groups of plants and animals

12. Fossil plants—thallophytes and tracheophytes

13. Fossil plants—tracheophytes

14. Paleozoic sponges and sponge spicules

15. Pennsylvanian corals

16. Cretaceous and Tertiary corals

17. Pennsylvanian bryozoans and Cambrian and Mississippian brachiopods

18,19. Pennsylvanian brachiopods

20. Pennsylvanian gastropods

21. Pennsylvanian and Cretaceous gastropods

22,23. Tertiary gastropods

24. Pennsylvanian pelecypods

25-28. Cretaceous pelecypods

29-31. Tertiary pelecypods

32. Pennsylvanian and Cretaceous cephalopods

33. Cretaceous cephalopods

34. Fossil arthropods

35. Fossil starfishes, crinoids, and holothurian sclerites

36. Cretaceous echinoids

37. Primitive armored fish, shark teeth, and conodonts

38. Comparison of the dinosaurs

39. Comparison of Mesozoic flying and swimming reptiles

40. Pelycosaur, cotylosaur, and a primitive amphibian

41. Swimming reptiles

42. Phytosaur and flying dinosaurs

43. Skull of Phobosuchus, from Cretaceous of Trans-Pecos Texas

45. Ornithischian dinosaurs

46,47. Cenozoic mammals

48. Tertiary mammals

49. Cenozoic mammals

Matthews, W. H. III, 1960, Texas Fossils: An Amateur Collector's Handbook: The University of Texas at Austin, Bureau of Economic Geology, Guidebook 2, 123 p.