The more I looked at this stone and touched it, the more this thing looked like it was wrapped in some kind of reptile skin. It may just be a random rock. More photos if needed. Does this look like something you may have seen before?

It's mainly green/yellow in color except for the pattern on the rock. The skin like pattern is a very dark color, almost black. It's a very hard rock, not breakable. It seems to weigh what it should. Not too heavy or light. We were looking for fossils in a sand bar that was in the shallows of the Bogue Chitto River in Mt. Herman Louisiana. This river is fed by the Mississippi River. We found it a couple weeks after some severe weather. Rivers had gotten pretty high & were at flood stage. Once they receeded, we went on our adventure. We found several other fossils of shells, and small centipede looking fossils. We only picked this one up because it reminded us of an alligator toe. rock

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    $\begingroup$ the three dimensionality makes skin unlikely, Skin is only a surface, it also doesn't look like the skin of either. A coral of some kind is more likely. $\endgroup$
    – John
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 3:23
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks!! I'm obviously very ignorant about rocks & fossils in general. I appreciate you & you taking the time to look at it. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 27, 2017 at 1:48
  • $\begingroup$ The first photo is very different from the others. Since we can't know what effect the lighting conditions caused, tell me: Did you polish it up to get that effect? Are the areas between the whitish blotches really a translucent greenish black? $\endgroup$
    – Spencer
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 2:00
  • $\begingroup$ I took hdr photos with bright lighting indoors. I used my palm as the lighter background & a black card table as the other background. Either my mind is playing games or it seems to change colors based on the color of the background. Just like previously posted photos. It looks greenish when it's next to my own skin or a paler background. Lighter brown/yellow on a darker background. Baffles me even more! $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 7, 2017 at 20:41
  • $\begingroup$ A bit late, but: no your mind is not playing games and it's not changing colors. It's your camera adjusting for an 'average' color scheme. $\endgroup$
    – Jan Doggen
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 7:31

2 Answers 2


I agree with commentator @John, this is a fossil coral. The coral animal (the polyp) builds a column, and as it ages it closes off the bottom and extends the upper lip. In some of the views you see the column structure. In others you see the arrangement of polyps. It looks like the cells of the coral are filled in with calcite, which probably made the fossil harder than the surrounding rock. When the rock weathered the fossil coral broke apart. It looks like this piece is a rounded pebble from a stream bed. Or possibly the coral broke up and was rounded by wave action.

Compare this picture http://www.fossilmuseum.net/fossil-art/cnidaria/tabulatecorals.jpg


Its tabulate coral fossil bogue chitto river is full of them

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    $\begingroup$ More detail would improve this answer $\endgroup$
    – Fred
    Commented Oct 5, 2018 at 8:41

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