paleontology
Beach fossil

Twisted Crabs in a beach rock.

Fossil crab

The piece is about 3.5 inch in any direction. I was metal detecting on the beach in the low surf when I saw this rock tumbling back towards the sea. It’s odd shape caught my eye so I picked it up placed it in my finds bag and continued on. Later at home when I really looked is when I saw the fossils within.

Location: Seaside Park, NJ

Fossil Collector: Rich G.

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6 Responses to “Crab Roll”

  1. Scott says:

    This seems like an unusual fossil for New Jersey. My guess (and it is only a guess) is that this is a fossil that has traveled down the coast a bit. Maybe one of our collectors on My Fossil Find will know more.

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  2. Rich G. says:

    Is it normal for a crab to have a tail like that? I’ve been googling images for a week now and can’t find a crab with a matching tail. Surely someone can tell me what kind of crab this is? I sent pictures to Dr. Michael Novacek at the American Museum of Natural History in NY and I’m hoping he can ID the crab. If he does, I’ll post it here. If someone else knows, please clue me in.

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  3. Scott says:

    I believe the “tail” you are referring to is the triangle-shaped wedge that is at the bottom of the crab in the top picture. This is likely a female crab. Female crabs have this triangular wedge or “apron” on the bottom of the shell that expands out to hold it’s eggs while the males have a more narrow apron. That apron is missing in the fossil which is why you cannot find a crab that looks like this. The website http://www.bluecrab.info/identification.html has some good pictures to illustrate this. The exact species of crab may be difficult to determine because we don’t know what formation this crab fossil originated. Let’s hope someone recognizes it.

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  4. Rich G. says:

    ooops…I guess I was referring to the head then? In the top picture, at the top of the picture is what looks to me like a kind of feathering one might see on a lobster tail. I guess that’s just mouth parts then?

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  5. Scott says:

    It is a little hard to tell, but that is very likely what you are looking at.

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  6. Steve says:

    Blue crabs and spider crabs are sometimes found along the NJ and NY beaches in the Raritan Bay area along with other Pleistocene and Holocene fossils. Here is a website with more info:
    http://www.geo.hunter.cuny.edu/bight/fossil.html

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