Wednesday, 2 July 2014

TW:eed team field week

Last week the TW:eed Project team met up in the Scottish Borders, for a week of fieldwork. We visited several localities throughout the week to examine tetrapod and fish fossil deposits, to study their sedimentology and to collect more samples.
One of these localities was a site on the River Till that we heard about from amateur palaeontologist and local Chris Murray, which contained some fantastic Gyracanthus material. Unfortunately the site was rather overgrown with vegetation, but despite this it was a worthwhile visit, with some new fossils discovered. This will help us understand more about the gyracanths, about which little is known.
Chris Murray’s Gyracanthus specimen, the dorsal spine of a very large fish
Jenny Clack at the locality on the River Till

The sedimentology team were looking for examples of vegetation and palaeosols (ancient soils). At one site, due to weathering over the winter, a new face was exposed. Sticking out was a large root that was in-situ (in its original position) in the sediments. This is a root from a Lycopsid-type tree, and gives us one indication of what the environment was like at the time. A lucky find!

Tim Kearsey pointing out a large tree root

One of the highlights of the trip was working alongside the vertebrate palaeontologists. I was recording the sediments while they looked in those sediments for fossils. This was a very productive way to work and both sides learned a lot of new information about sediments and fossils. I can now spot a rhizodont scale even without my hand lens! 

Until next time

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