Research Explorations in the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site PhD Reflections on 'The Practices of Carnival: Community Culture and Place' (Jon Croose) and 'Stone Exposures: photography, landscape change and anticipatory adaptation in the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site' (Rose Ferraby)

Ichthyosaur

01.13.2012 · Posted in Stone Exposures

Ichthysosaur_2Earlier this week I was invited down to Lyme by Richard Edmonds (the Jurassic Coast team’s Earth Science Manager) to help a team excavate an Ichthyosaur on the beach. Richard had found a fragment of the spine in a block on Christmas day, and after days of hunting, discovered the place where the block had broken from and the rest of the skeleton remained.

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There was only a short window of time in which to get the fossil out, as the tide started creeping back in. Luckily there were lots of people who knew what they were doing! I found it hard at first to see which blocks contained the bone, against those that just had an imprint, and it was made harder since the fossil was on the fringe of two distinct layers. It looked beautiful, as the line of the spine emerged, ribs, paddle and jaw.

Once all the pieces had been hauled up the beach (by stretcher, barrow and hand) Richard was faced with the difficult job of reassembling, and removing the piddocks! It’ll be a long job to clean and refit it, but seeing some others that have been discovered, you realise just how much detail can remain of a reptile which was living 198 million years ago. It makes you think about how it moved, what it ate and how it died.

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It is wonderful to experience the discovery of something which represents a fleeting moment in time and to try and fit that into a picture of this coastline as a whole.

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