Found on a reef next to oyster and clams shells in the Mancos Shale. Believe the black material is "skin." First thought these were tail spikes from a dinosaur but this is shallow sea environment. Can you help me identify them?

Fossil Collector: Mark P.

Location: Mancos Shale

[Note: The Mancos Shale is an Upper Cretaceous formation of Utah and the Colorado Plateau. This find is something we we we could pick up and take a closer look at, but the general impression of the black areas reminds us of large fish bones and scales. The size of these are a bit daunting. For your dinosaur theory, it is not unusual to find terrestrial animal fossils in marine deposits because a watery environment is generally needed for them to become fossils. Terrestrial animals are washed into rivers, marshes and oceans all the time. As a famous example, the first dinosaur discovered in the United States is Hadrosaurus foulkii which was uncovered in a Cretaceous marine deposit in Haddenfield, New Jersey. Hopefully someone familiar with these fossils can leave a comment for us.]

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