I picked up the hobby a couple months ago and was wondering if any of you enjoy it as well. How did you get started? What are some of your favorite finds? How did you find them? For me, it all started with two bowls too many of macaroni and cheese. I felt ill and the need walk it off, so I headed outside (which I rarely ever do) for a healthy stroll. My dad had recently done some dozer work, so I randomly decided to walk around that area. That's when something caught my eye, probably the most bizarre rock I had ever seen: Despite its turtle-like appearance, I knew that it was unlikely a fossil (at this point, I was convinced that we didn't have fossils here), so I asked a geologist to ID this interesting piece. I was told that it was an ironstone concretion. As I suspected, not a fossil, but still pretty neat. A day or so later, I went out to see if I could find anymore of these concretions. Instead, I see this really interesting texture poking out from the side of the wet, muddy hill. I tried various methods to pull it out, including kicking it (don't do this -- you could damage the specimen or trigger a cave-in), but it was just in there too good and too slick to get a grip on. I returned the following day after it had dried up a bit and the rock eased out of the hill with no problem at all. I was half-expecting it to just be a regular slab of rock with sedimentary lines on the end, but it was instead cylinder-shaped (just about the width of a soda can) with vertical lines going all around it (well, aside from part of the back which was broken off and nowhere to be seen). This totally topped the turtle rock, but what was it? I cleaned it up so I could take photos to get it ID'd and noticed a horizontal groove wrapping around the top. This probably wasn't just a "rock." The geologist I was messaging wasn't from around here and wasn't sure what it was, but after doing some research on my own, I accidentally-on-purpose found a photo of what was obviously the same thing: a Calamites fossil. (Calamites are ancient tree-like reeds, related to modern-day horsetails, which could grow up to 100 feet. They went extinct about 360 million years ago.) 25 years-old and my first fossil ever. Now that I knew there were fossils here, I started keeping an eye out for them and went out nearly every day. I've found several other Calamites fossils (although none quite as cool as my first), but I've found a few other things as well. Here are some of my favorite finds, all of which were found nearby my house: Spoiler: Trace Fossil (Marine Invertebrate Tracks) My first that isn't plant-related and favorite at that time. I asked several people, including a paleontologist, and they nearly all agreed that it was a trace (tracks) fossil of an ancient marine invertebrate. (It's unknown exactly which species left them. I was told that it's very hard to identify them without finding the animal itself "dead in its tracks.") Spoiler: Artisia in Cordaites I had found a couple other pieces of Artisia (a pith cast) before, but this is the coolest as it's the only one that has part of its tree, Cordaites, still attached to it. They were seed-bearing plants that grew in wet ground and lived around the same time-frame as Calamites. Spoiler: Horn Coral While not native to this part of the state, I found this horn coral in a hole on the edge of our property that had been filled-in -- my very first non-plant find that still had the specimen inside. There are some other marine things going on in the matrix (fossil-bearing rock) as well, including what may be crinoid (sea lily) stems, but nothing in it is quite as easy to make out as the horn coral. Spoiler: Goniatite Ammonoid I've dreamed of finding an ammonite fossil ever since I started fossil-hunting, but I had more or less given up on the idea after being told that my area isn't a "true marine deposit." However, while looking through the washed-up creek rock one day, this caught my eye. I thought it may have just been a suggestive rock since I didn't think I'd ever actually find an ammonite, but after comparing it to the polished ammonite fossils my dad ordered me last year, I noticed some uncanny similarities. To make sure it wasn't just wishful thinking, I asked around several more experience collectors and it turned out to be an ammonite after all! (Well, it's technically an ammonoid, not a "true ammonite," but the words are commonly used interchangeably.) While not my largest or most-detailed find, this is hands-down my favorite. EDIT: To be more specific, it's a goniatite ammonoid. These pre-date true ammonites and eventually evolved into them. Spoiler: Brachiopod or Horn Coral with Chert My most attractive driveway fossil thus far! I actually didn't even notice the fossil at first (that part was buried), but rather a small portion of the chert that was exposed. Imagine my surprise when I pulled it up and this was attached! Spoiler: Diaphorodendron My largest fossil yet, measuring about a foot long. It's the cast of a "scale tree" trunk. Spoiler: Calamites ~NEW~ I've got more cool fossils in my collection, but I'm just posting the ones I found myself. Now for the rocks: Spoiler: Quartzite This Quartzite caught my eye one day when I was walking by the creek. Not rare by any means, although it's about 3-4 times larger than those I typically see in rock beds around hospitals and such. Spoiler: Siderite/Manganese Nodule I thought this was a lycopod root fossil for months (since that's what it was originally identified as), but it's actually not a fossil at all. In fact, it's a siderite (or manganese) nodule. I'm not super-disappointed that it's not a fossil, because I also collect cool rocks and this fits the bill.