In Dorset, on the South Coast of England, is a town called Lyme Regis. This is situated on a stretch of coastline known as the Jurassic Coast which contains a veritable treasure trove of fossilised remains from millennia ago.
Many fantastic paleontological finds have been discovered in this area such as the Pliosaur, deemed the most brutal and terrifying killing machine to have ever roamed our planet! An article on this giant sea beast can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pliosauroidea
Other creatures have been found such as the ichthyosaur, a sort of vicious dolphin-like sea reptile, a type of sea squid know as an ammonite, and other fish and shellfish.
Ashleigh and I decided to head down to the Jurassic Coast from London one weekend on a train, equipped with a picnic, plenty of water, warm gear and some very basic excavation tools such as hammers and a large chisel.
It took approximately three hours to arrive in Lyme Regis, a quaint and beautiful little sea-side village. After attacking a meal and getting our bearings, we were set to head off.
We began scouring the shoreline and came across a bunch of very cool tide-pools, only navigable at low tide. One contained this little guy, what we think could be a small-spotted cat shark pup.
Amongst these tide pools were smooth areas of extremely hard rock which basically contained an ammonite graveyard. The pictures below really don’t do it justice, they were quite remarkable to look at and many of them were surprisingly large.
Further down the coast, the beach was guarded by a formidable cliff face, which was falling down in big torrents of mud right before our eyes. After plucking up our courage we began to scour through this debris, 250 million year old matter which was bursting out of the cliff face.
Like treasure seekers we combed the foot of the cliff and gradually uncovered a bunch of amazing ammonite fossils of our own, preserved within the brittle rock.
We had to smash our way through our fair share of rocks and debris but before we knew it, four hours had passed and we had within our possession, a bunch of fossilised ammonites, and an ichthyosaur vertebrae. Below is a picture of a large ammonite piece that split out of a much larger rock, the spaces within the shell must have contained sea water which, when fossilisation took place, gradually crystallised over millions of years.
Below is a fine example of fossilised wood, frozen within a rock. The texture still present, grains and all.
All in all a great day out, and one we would love to repeat in the future. We are planning a trip to Isle of Skye in Scotland next, known as Scotland’s Jurassic Island. Love to hear from you if you have ever been there.