I have been lost in fossil land for the last few days and it is completely fascinating. I returned to the shoreline and have come back with some more treasures; some fragments of what I think might be Ammonites, a few pieces of Belemnites, more Devil’s Toenails and some bits of what might be coral.
I have one really beautiful section of a belemnite, see above, the large pointed piece, which I think is a Cylindrotheutis puzosiana. It is the fossilised internal end bit of one of these:
which was once one of these:
Both of these images come from this fascinating piece about Belemnites from Ferrebeekepeers
Like the Gryphaea, the Belemnite fossils were also thought to have various different origins and properties. The strange smooth shape gave rise to names such as Devil’s Fingers (more delightful devilishness), sword stones and gnomes candles but most wonderfully, they were thought to be thunderbolts, arriving after thunderstorms.
Both Gryphaea and Belemnites were thought to have healing properties, for joints and oddly for sore eyes… more folklore to come. The reason we have these fossils is because of the Oxford Clay which lies under the Boulder Clay.
Palaeontologist and Palaeoartist (very cool) Mark Whitton has a couple of excellent blog posts about the Jurassic Oxford Clays here. This image from his blog shows the extent of these treasure filled clays.
The extent of the Oxford Clays.
Talking to local people there are fewer fossils here than there used to be as the banks have been shored up with boulders to stop the erosion, but there must still be quite a few and I have only cast a very untutored glance over the shoreline. I am trying not to let this get obsessive but I can see how you might get the fossil hunting bug. On the creative front I did get some printing done. This is the result. You can see how I got there at Printdaily:
Devil’s Toenail. 4 x4 inches.