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Scientific name: Turritella sp.
Age: Miocene to Pliocene, 10 mya
Distribution: United States
This mold is rather unique in that it is a mold of a mold. The “fossil” that this mold was made from is actually the hardened sand, now sandstone, that filled the gastropod's shell after it died. The sand was deposited slowly and finally packed solid inside the shell. Over time the shell wore away but the sand, now turned to stone, that had filled the inside did not wear away and was eventually collected. These fossil casts can tell us a lot about the interior of shells and other organisms. Other useful “fossil casts” are footprints, cocoons, trackways, tree roots and limbs and even the matrix or sandstone that encased a dinosaur bone where the bone is now gone but it's shape is preserved in the matrix.