TREE OYSTER SHELL
Isognomon maxillata (Lamarck, 1819)
Life : Animalia : Mollusca : Bivalvia : Ostreida : Malleidae : Isognomon : Isognomon maxillata
This hinged bivalve grew in Middlesex County during the Miocene Era some 10-20 million years ago. It is now extinct but has a close family member still here that we enjoy eating today, Crassostrea Virginica, also known as the Virginia Oyster, the Eastern Oyster, or the American Oyster.
The fossilized remains of the tree oyster show that during its life, the tree oyster lived in a brackish marine water environment, attaching itself for a stationary lifestyle by byssal threads that resemble those of mussels or pen shells. It was a suspension feeder that grew up to 3.7 inches. The museum is blessed with several of these fossils in beautiful condition all on display in our new exhibit, “Middlesex Early Inhabitants”.