This my first attempt at trying to piece together my finds with the correct intact fossil bone finds that have been already collected and recorded in various books and museums. I’ve quite a few so should be interesting to see how far I can go.
And if it’s beneficial to anybody in there pursue to match fossil finds such as mine then it would be a good deed done.
Abbreviations as follows:
d.p.. = dorsal ramus of scapula
g.c.. = glenoid cavity
scap.f.. = scapula facet
sym.. = surface of symphysis
A = left scapula from above
C = left coracoid from above
The main picture is a Shoulder-girdle of a Peloneustes Philarchus.
Another interesting find in one of the company’s pits
In the 1970s part of a paddle of a fossil reptile was found by a quarryman, Bert Miles when digging an “anchor hole” in L.B. 2/4 pit at Fletton, Peterborough. Unfortunately this hole was then covered by the clay haulage-way and no further investigation was possible until later in the year after the first initial discovery when the haulage way had been removed.
Examination soon revealed that other bones were present. Following an inspection by the staff of the British Museum (Natural History) it was decided to uncover and collect the skeleton. Sir Ronald Stewart, Bart. Generously presented it to the Museum.
The bones of the skeleton are in a good state of preservation and are from a Plesiosaur. The skeleton found is about 15 feet long and is thought to be from a species known as Cryptoclidus Oxoniensis.It is one of the most complete found in the Peterborough area since the late nineteenth and early twentieth century when the late Alfred Leeds, then living at Eyebury,Eye near Peterborough used to visit the local brick pits collecting fossils.
I shall be attending a field trip into one of the working clay pits in Peterborough sometime in April, with weather permitting a keen eye and a lot of luck maby I can find such a specimen as this one!
The Carboniferous Period is famous for its vast coal swamps. Such swamps produced the coal from which the term “Carboniferous” or “carbon-bearing” comes. This 300 million year old tree stump (Stigmaria ficoides) was found in the brickworks in 1886 by the quarrymen it was described as the finest specimen ever discovered. All worked stopped until the finest geologists of the time could examine it and is now displayed in The Manchester Museum.
A party of curators and their wives went out to visit the quarry where it was found. The trip is recorded in Williamson autobiography, ‘Reminiscences of a Yorkshire Naturalist’:
‘On the morning we had arranged to see the Clayton tree, rain poured in torrents, and I tried in vain to persuade Dr. Williamson to postpone his journey… we went out into the rain and proceeded to tramp along unprotected upland paths, or in sodden grass, through a perfect hurricane of howling wind; before half the distance was accomplished, our boots had become pools, and our clothes were saturated.
When we reached the quarry not a living soul was near, only the grey sky above, grey Yorkshire hills around , and the storm raging, when the old geologist met face to face the thing he had hoped so long to see.
The visiting party
The quarrymaster appeared, looking astonished, and said, “Not Professor Williamson!” “Certainly.” “And from Manchester this morning,” said the shivering owner. “Yes, and why not?” “Well, sir,” answered he, “to my thinking, you and the tree are a pair , for teaching us lessons.”‘
So that brings it back to my question, what was the first impression of the quarrymen on such a discovery. Are they told to stop if they find anything of significance especially if it might be of value! And is this knowledge of potential discoveries found in these pits told in stories and passed on between generations of quarrymen i wonder?
There’s one thing for sure if it wasn’t for the quarrymen in this type of industry from Victorian times to the present day perhaps such finds would never be found.
A fossil marine reptile bone my son and i prepped today from a fossil hunt this summer. Firstly I laid my sons vast collection of gryphaea out as usual while I tackled this piece of bone. That’s not fair Elliot said you always do the bones. So I decided it was time for Elliot to move from the Devils toe nails and to have a go with the fossil piece I was working on with my new dental picks, but after about 10 minutes he turns to me and says I’ve broken it dad it’s got holes in. Under closer examination and some careful picking of some compact hard clay it looks like he’s discovered a few bite puncture marks!
You’re in luck I told Elliot, I have a friend who has some Pliosaur teeth let’s take our piece around there to see if we can match the bite marks. That suggestion just left Elliot rooted to the floor mumbling something like, Lets Go Now Dad.
The picture like description is the best I can give you:
1. The head of the paddle bone is where it joins to the scapula.
2. The facet end is where the carpals are attached.
3. I’m measuring the middle 3rd of the bone a length of two and a half inches in length.
4. Giving the total length of the paddle bone at a guess seven inches.
………My dad (Darren) had arranged a meeting with a man named Dean Lomax who is Assistant Curator of Palaeontology at the Doncaster Museum. And has wrote a book called (Fossils of the Whitby coast a photographic guide) of which he signed for us which was cool, just in time for our family day out at Whitby in a few weeks time. Dad had some old fossils from Must Farm which Dean was interested to see so I went along with him and took my (Elliot stop leaving your Devil Toe Nails all over the house) said mum, collection with me. They have some great fossils at the museum with quite a few from Peterborough well worth the visit dad said especially if you have some fossils from the Oxford Clay.Dean looked at my Gryphaea first and thought they where great then looked at dads fossils and was quite Interested in one of them, which is now going on a flight to America with Dean to show a friend of his who is also a palaeontologist studying plesiosaurs from Wyoming to help identify what type of bone and what animal it comes from?. And is keen to compare plesiosaur finds from England with finds found in Wyoming. Here are some photos of the finds dad found from a visit to Must Farm with the Stamford & District Geological Society which Dean helped to identify them dad also let me help clean them up which was great fun. I shall be going on lots of fossil expedition’s with more report back articles to read . That’s all for now we cant wait for Dean to get back to us with news of the mysterious bone also he’s bringing me back a dinosaur bone… awesome.
If you find anything of interest from this article please get in touch with me Darren it would be great for myself and my son to correspond with like minded people….
With the weather now very much taking a turn for the worse limiting fossil hunts to a bare minimum Elliot and I have decided it’s time to clean and prep our finds from this summer’s fossil trips. As I said before being a complete beginner to identifying the fossils we find, putting the time and effort into the research to put an I.D. to them is great fun. If there’s anyone reading our blog who thinks we are way off the mark or spot on please let us know.
So here go some random posts of our finds until our next fossil hunt in the New Year.
Top view of possible PLESIOSAUR ( cryptocleidus) caudal vertebrae with partial neural arch showing at the top. And two facets for chevron-bone showing at the bottom
Bottom view of same bone showing partial neural arch at the top. And
Two facets for chevron-bone showing at the bottom. With partial caudal rib showing top left.
Side view of same bone this time showing a partial caudal rib at the top. With a facet for the chevron-bone showing at the bottom.
Opposite side of same bone this time showing a facet for the chevron-bone showing at the top. With a partial caudal rib showing the bottom
First row/first scale (Lepidotes) next five(Heterostrophus phillipsi) ?
Second row/first scale(Lepidotes)next six (Heterostrophus phillipsi) ?
Small scale at bottom is different to all the rest maby (Caturus) ?
Pic of Elliot
The Oxford Clay Formation is a Jurassic marine sedimentary rock formation underlying much of southeast England, from as far west as Dorset and as far north as Yorkshire.And is also known for being a famous source of beautifully-preserved fossils, yet it deserves far more fame than it currently has, and it undoubtedly holds more surprises still. I say this from first-hand experience as I’m still finding them to this day!
During 1878 or the early months of the following year a small brickworks was opened on 13 acre site in a town called Fletton. This is located at Peterborough on the picture.
Of which leads me onto what part did the quarry men play into helping those mid-19th century geologists in finding those fantastic fossil Marine Reptiles from the Oxford Clay.
These men where called the clay getters, here’s a small passage from an article written in April 1882 by a reporter from the Peterborough Advertiser who visited the brickyards at Fletton.
The sides of the mine represent immense walls of 100 feet high. Standing on ledges in the wall are men who apparently are in imminent danger of falling to the bottom and being dashed to pieces, though we were assured that the ledges on which they stood are large and firm. These men are not provided with spades or picks, but have long iron bars, by means of which they displace lumps of the loamy clay which rolls down the side of the mine into the truck beneath ready to receive it as it falls.
Could it have been sights such as these that greeted Gideon Mantell and Richard Owen in there never ending pursuit for fossils? The most notable collections were vertebrates, assembled by the Leeds brothers. Without doubt this would have been the site that would have greeted them as they entered the pit.
I shall continue to update this post as and when to see how far I can go. All contributions welcome.
Cheers for now.
I’ve just realised while posting these dino footprints posts id actually took another photo of a possible dinosaur footprint only six feet from our first discovery what do you think?
….Or Dad and I would like to think so, it was October the 20th 2012 fossil hunting at Saltwick Bay with UKAFH . We found a Dino footprint of an ornithopod maybe! Or a theropod (I hope so) said dad, it was a single small sized boulder fallen from the cliffs above. Presumably the specimen had fallen in a recent landslip, perhaps we were the first to ever see this in over 170 million years that very day..? With many other finds including belemnites/ammonites and my first bivalves, it was one of the best days ever and nice to look for fossils with other people who like them too. A big thank you to UKAFH for organising the trip and thank you to Dean Lomax and friends for leading the hunt.
Cheers for now Elliot&Darren.
Elliot and I had joined members from the UKAFH for a Whitby weekender fossil hunting the first days hunt was at Saltwick bay followed by the second day at Runswick bay.
We stopped to examine a fallen block from the Saltwick Formation which contains prints which have been attributed to a primitive Jurassic stegosaurian dinosaur.
The block is upside down and contains three casts of the original moulds made by animal footprints. The upper left print shows indentations made by the gaps between the “toes” of an elephant-like foot.
After sitting with those foot prints for a while I trained my eye in to see if we could spot some more. After a few hours of near on eye popping, lo and behold, we found another print!
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