Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Fossil Hunting!

Last week members of the Team TW:eed spent a day at one of the coastal field sites hunting for fossils. Vertebrate fossils were first found in rocks on the beach at this locality in the 1970s.  Stan Wood collected there in 1999/2000 and found more material and possibly found the fossil horizon in situ. The rocks form part of the Ballagan Formation and the tetrapod and lungfish material from this site are being studied as part of the TW:eed project. Last week the aim was to re-visit the site and locate the fossil-bearing horizon in situ (in its original position within the rock strata).

A loose piece of rock from the fossil-bearing horizon
The team found more lose pieces of matrix containing bone and other fossils and have a good idea where the in situ horizon is. But despite digging two trenches through the shingle to get down to bed rock we were unable to locate it. Because of this, we think it maybe a restricted lens of sediment, like those seen in other localities. It just goes to show how rare the fossils are and how a combined effort is often necessary to achieve our aims.
The TW:eed Team hard at work digging a trench to search for the fossil horizon: Tom Challands (University of Edinburgh), Dave Millward and Rachael Ellen (BGS), Nick Fraser and Stig Walsh (NMS) and Tim Smithson (UMCZ Cambridge) took the photo

This week Jenny Clack and other members of the team are out in the Scottish Borders continuing work at a few other important sites. Fingers crossed for a fantastic fossil-finding week!

Until next time

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Tweed Project presents at SVPCA 2014

Last week was the annual Symposium for VertebratePalaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, this time held in York. Jenny Clack and Tim Smithson were at the meeting and presented talks and posters on the project.

Tim presented on the latest chondrichthyan discoveries, with exciting new specimens changing what we know about the evolution of this group. Jenny presented on the new tetrapod discoveries from a range of sites, and discussed what this tells us about the evolution of tetrapods after the end Devonian mass extinction. The presentations were well received and attracted a lot of interested. It was a great opportunity of get together with other Tweed Project researchers and the wider vertebrate research community.

Tim Smithson at the start of his presentation
Jenny Clack explaining her poster to a delegate
Some of the Tweed Team at the conference dinner, from left to right: Rob Clack, Jenny Clack, Stig Walsh, Tim Smithson, Nick Fraser and Maggie Wood
Until next time