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

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