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Found 103 results

  1. Hi, Bit of a geological question here, I recently took this photo of some of the Upper Hamstead Member strata exposed on a headland at Bouldnor Cliff whilst out collecting. I really like this spot as the colour variation in the beds is really interesting. I've heard that the colour mottling in mudstones such as these can be indicative of the paleo-environmental conditions they were deposited in. Generally speaking these muds were deposited in ponds, lakes, and sluggish waterways on a low lying coastal plain. However, would it be correct to presume the redder areas indicate more arid conditions i.e. a period when the Hampshire Basin coastal plain was very dry and the other green and grey beds periods in which the environment on the plain was wetter? Thank you, Theo
  2. Hi, I recently finished processing 4kg of matrix from a horizon in the Upper Hamstead Mbr. of the Bouldnor Fm. from Bouldnor Cliff and thought I'd share the results! The White Band is definitely the most diverse vertebrate fauna I've collected so far in my short time screen washing, with at least 2/3 genera of fish, 2 genera of reptiles, and 2 genera of mammals, it also has some interesting taphonomy. The White Band refers to a thick Polymesoda shell bed in the Upper Hamstead Mbr. and dates to approximately 33 million years bp during the Rupelian. The Upper Hamstead Member is the youngest strata in the entire paleogene sequence of the Hampshire Basin (Late Palaeocene to Early Oligocene). The horizon was deposited in a shallow freshwater lacustrine environment on the low-lying Solent Group coastal plain of the southern Hampshire Basin. By the time the White Band was deposited average annual temperatures in the region were beginning to warm up again after the sudden and rapid cooling that marked the Eocene-Oligocene transition. Global sea levels were also beginning to rise. The Grande Coupure, the large scale turnover of European mammalian faunas had been and gone, and the endemic Eocene groups such as Palaeotheres, Omomyid primates, and anoplotheres had long vanished. The lake/pond system that deposited the White Band was home to aquatic plants such as Stratiotes and was fringed by patches of open woodlands of Sequoia, Pine, and broadleaf. With the post-grande coupure fauna now established the landscape was home to anthracotheres, hornless rhinos, hyaenodonts, bear-dogs, entelodonts, primitive ruminants, choeropotamids, and a myriad of smaller mammals including bats, adapid primates, rodents, insectivores, marsupials, and the otter-like pantolestids. Not to mention the alligators, birds, and freshwater turtles. 1. Worn fragment of Emys carapace 2. Possible fragment of crocodilian osteoderm? 3. Fragment of Bowfin skull bone 4. Isoptychus sp. cheek tooth. Theridomyid rodents like Isoptychus are the most commonly found micro-mammal throughout the entire Solent Group. This molar has been heavily worn which may suggest an older individual. Theridomyids were bipedal and foraged along the ground and in low trees. They also seem to have fed on the seeds of marginal aquatic plants such as Stratiotes, which may be the reason this individual was in the vicinity of the pond/lake. The Theridomyids were one of only a few Eocene mammal groups to survive the Grande Coupure and seemed to have survived fairly unscathed in terms of diversity etc. showing what hardy and adaptable rodents they probably were. 5. Fragment of M3 from a talpid, most likely Myxomygale sp. (just 1.5mm long!). Talpids (or as we call them today, Moles) were newcomers to Europe with the Grande-Coupure, arriving from Asia. Belonging to the tribe Urotrichini (Shrew-Moles) which are only found in North America and Asia today, Myxomygale may have spent most of the day underground in burrows before emerging at night to feed on invertebrates. Modern Shrew-Moles prefer moist habitats such as swampy areas, a habitat which was abundant on the low-lying coastal plain of the Oligocene Isle Of Wight. The taphonomy of the White Band is also interesting. Some specimens i.e. the Emys fragment and osteoderm are highly 'polished' and worn, suggesting transport prior to deposition. Whereas others such as the mammals and most fish material I've recovered are unworn and 'fresh' looking. I'm not sure what conditions could have caused this, and if anyone has any suggestions I'd be really interested. My take is that the mammals and fish were likely living in the immediate area, in and around the lake/pond, whereas the polished material is from animals living some distance away brought to the pond/lake by floods or streams etc. although I'm no trained geologist or palaeontologist. Thanks for reading, Theo
  3. Hi, I thought I'd share some of my best finds from what has been a brilliant start to collecting in 2018! The Isle Of Wight has been hit by heavy storms, with torrential rain and gale force winds, numerous times over the last month or so. This has caused some serious erosion and slipping to the soft clay cliffs and foreshore of the Bouldnor Fm. and the coast has been highly productive. I've made some of the best finds of my fossil hunting "career" (if that's the right term for it), including some very nice large mammal finds that I have dreamed of coming across for a while now. 1. The partial cranium of a mammal. This is without a doubt one of my best finds. I collected it ex-situ from the foreshore and at first thought I was looking at a large piece of fossil wood, which are common in some of the fluvial and freshwater horizons of the Lower Hamstead Member. Luckily I spotted the cancellous bone texture, and quickly realised it was a large piece of mammal skull. The cranium is essentially the left portion of the brain case with the parietal bone, part of the frontal bone, jaw articulation surfaces and saggital crest with scars from the temporalis muscle. The brain case is filled with sediment and Viviparus gastropods, which may be the culprits for the extensive mollusc bore marks on the parietal bone. There is also a Stratiotes seed in one of the gastropod shells indicating the skull was deposited in a shallow (less than 6.5m deep) freshwater pool, probably already broken. Skulls like this are incredibly rare, and I've heard that it looks like it was probably out on the shore for just a couple of hours! As usual with my big or unusual finds I took it straight in to Dinosaur Isle Museum where it's currently on loan for preparation and identification in case it's an important find. I believe it may be something like an Anoplotherium although I'm not sure. 2. Partial Bothriodon mandible. This is a really cool find that I've always wanted to come across! Bothriodon is an abundant part of the Post-Grande Coupure mammal fauna, arriving in Europe and Britain around 33.6 million years ago from Asia. This was facilitated by the Oi-1 glaciation event in Antartica lowering global sea levels and opening up several migration routes from Asia into Europe for a myriad of immigrant taxa. The habitat of the early Oligocene Hampshire Basin was ideal for the proposed lifestyles of anthracotheres (low lying coastal plain with wetlands, lakes, and open woodland), which along with a preservation bias, makes Bothriodon the most common large mammal encountered. I found this jaw in two pieces, 14 days apart and 5m from each other in a mudflat at low tide. The bone is heavily crushed and has P2 - M3 in-situ, although P1 is missing (possibly pre-fossilisation) and I still haven't found the other jaw section with the M2 (fingers crossed it'll turn up one of these days!). I think the jaw washed out of the Upper Hamstead Member during this winter's storms and smashed into several pieces which were subsequently scattered over the immediate area. (P1 to M1 section found 14 days after the M3)
  4. Rodent Cheek Tooth

    Cheek tooth from the theridomyid rodent Isoptychus sp. Collected through screen washing of matrix from the 'White Band' a shallow freshwater lacustrine horizon.
  5. Hi, I've recently fully processed some matrix from the Lower Hamstead Mbr. that I collected back in November, and I thought I'd share some of my finds in a similar way to my Bembridge Marls Mbr. material. The matrix originates from a 'shelly' horizon in the Lower Hamstead Mbr. and was collected from fallen blocks at the base of a low cliff exposure at Bouldnor Cliff. The Lower Hamstead Mbr. overlays the late Eocene Bembridge Marls and dates from the very earliest Oligocene epoch, approximately 33.75 - 33.5 million years ago. To put the finds into an environmental context the Lower Hamstead Mbr. was deposited during a period of rapid global cooling and drop in sea levels associated with the onset of antarctic glaciation (Oi-1). The cooling and eustatic change had begun in the late Eocene, with the palaeo-environments of the Bembridge Marls becoming increasingly terrestrial towards the Eocene/Oligocene boundary. By the Lower Hamstead Member the southern Hampshire Basin was a low lying coastal plain with extensive wetlands, lakes, ponds and sluggish rivers flowing south east towards the early channel (at this time the channel was more a large embayment with only occasional connection to the North Sea). The dense sub-tropical forests of the late Eocene had disappeared and the landscape was dominated by open woodlands of pine, sequoia, and oak. The environment was much cooler and annual rainfall had significantly dropped since the Eocene, although temperatures would begin to rise again further into the rupelian and Hamstead Mbrs. The basin was surrounded by areas of chalk upland (still existing today) with forests of sequoia and broadleaf species. This dramatic climate change is likely what triggered the Grande Coupure, in which endemic Eocene mammals like the palaeotheres disappeared and were replaced with Asian groups such as carnivorans, rhinocerotids, anthracotheres, and a variety of other artiodactyls. The mammals of the dense tropical Eocene forests simply couldn't adapt fast enough to the new open environments of the Oligocene and ultimately failed to compete against the better adapted migrants. By the Upper Hamstead Member the mammals on the Hampshire Basin coastal plain are almost entirely of Asian origin. Therefore the micro-vertebrates lived in an environment of large scale climatic and ecological change, which I think adds another level of interest to collecting from this member of the Bouldnor Fm. The material I've collected so far is a lot more varied than the Bembridge Marls, but overall is less abundant. So far it's produced at least 3 fish taxa, 2 mammals, and an indeterminate piece of jaw which may be reptilian or mammal. 1. A skull element from a Bowfin (Amia sp.), these fish are very common in most horizons of the Bouldnor Fm. 2. A vertebra from a Bowfin (Amia sp.) 3. A damaged lateral scute from a Sturgeon (Acipenser sp.) showing the transition to a freshwater environment 4. An indeterminate piece of a tiny jaw, may be crocodilian although I'm not sure. 5. The nicest find of the lot, a lower incisor from the theridomyid rodent Isoptychus (ID'd by Jerry hooker from the NHM). These rodents looked similar to modern kangaroo rats, hopping along the ground on large rear legs. Bite marks on Isoptychus bones collected from Thorness Bay suggest that they were common prey for the bear-dog Cynodictis. 6. Finally 2 images of an unidentified mammal tooth. I'm unsure as to whether this is part of the tooth or the entire crown, but it doesn't appear to be from a rodent. Hope you all enjoyed the finds, Theo
  6. Hi, I headed out for a full day of collecting at Hamstead on Saturday, and thought I'd share how it went. I reached the beach at Hamstead Duver around 9am and began searching the foreshore. The finds on this part of the coast are washed round by longshore drift, but it can be a productive section. This was definitely the case on Saturday, within the first 20 odd metres I picked up various pieces of trionychid carapace, Emys fragments, and the worn trochlea of an anthracothere humerus. I continued west along the coast before reaching the slipway (a disused boat launching ramp, apparently used by the US military in preparation for the Normandy Landings) the point where Hamstead Cliffs begin. Having not been able to visit in nearly a month, and after weeks of pretty violent storms over Christmas and the New Year, the coast at Hamstead Ledge has now completely changed. Most of the sand and gravel has been taken off the beach leaving large exposed areas of Bembridge Marls strata on the foreshore. The junction bed between the underlying Bembridge Limestone and Bembridge Marls is also now visible (usually obscured by sand and gravel). The Bembridge Limestone Fm. lays beneath the Bouldnor Fm. and was laid down in a series of large carbonate lakes on a heavily forested sub-tropical coastal plain stretching across what is now the northern Island. At 34.0 million years ago rising sea levels flooded the plain and the estuary/lagoons of the lower Bembridge Marls were deposited, which can be observed in the low cliff face. (A small normal fault can be seen in the Bembridge Marls highlighted in yellow, additionally the 'thin white horizon' is the western limits of the famous Insect Limestone. However it is un-lithified and does not produce insects at this locality) The largest change however was an enormous landslide just west of the ledge in the high cliff face. As well as several smaller falls and slips, this slip has littered the beach with clay debris and small trees. It's on the site of a large mudflow from last winter, I reckon the heavy rain saturated the already weakened area and triggered a large scale failure of the cliff face. I checked through the debris (and the exposed strata) and found some very nice pieces, including a huge piece of trionychid hypoplastron (the largest turtle piece I've ever found), a fragment of alligator jaw, a large fish vertebra, and two large baso-occipital bones from Bowfins (Amia sp.). As the beach was covered with clay blocks the foreshore wasn't very productive for ex-situ finds. As the tide dropped I moved further west towards Cranmore and beach conditions returned to normal with shingle, sand, and gravel, and a nice variety of finds. The best finds were a couple of anthracothere teeth, including a very nice canine. Coprolites were also very common as usual, most, if not all, are likely crocodilian. Further west there are exposures of the Upper Hamstead Member on the foreshore which if you're lucky turn up in-situ finds. The Upper Hamstead Member dates from approximately 33.2 - 32.4 million years ago. This time I was in luck, I spotted a large bone fragment and a piece of Emys weathering out of the clay. I checked the areas adjacent in case there was anymore associated material but unfortunately not. The bone fragment appears to be a rib. I reached Cranmore and collected some matrix for micro-sieving from the cliff face, and after collecting a few more bone fragments and coprolites, and with the tide now rising I called it a day and headed up to the main road. Overall it was a good collecting trip, with some good finds. Hopefully as the winter goes on the landslide debris is eroded away and some nice vertebrate remains are produced. Hope this was interesting, Theo 1. Huge piece of trionychid hypoplastron 2. 'Interior' view of the hypoplastron
  7. Hi, I thought I'd share some of my finds from what was a pretty good trip up to Bouldnor Cliff on Tuesday morning. This was my first collecting trip in over a month due to tides, being ill over Christmas and being generally busy, so I missed out on most of December. But hopefully I can start getting back into going twice a week again as usual. Low tide was at 09:48 so I decided to head for Bouldnor instead of Hamstead, as it's a lot easier to quickly access. My hope was that the prolonged stormy weather we've had for a couple of weeks now would have brought up some nice finds, and I wasn't disappointed. Walking along the shingle I quickly spotted a worn mammal vertebra sticking out of the sand, then a couple of metres away in an area of mud was the distal end of an anthracothere humerus. Pieces like these can be pretty rare finds so I was really pleased with them. They both seem likely to be from Bothriodon based off their larger size. Moving further along the coast the productivity dropped and the finds were the usual fish vertebrae, alligator scutes, and Emys fragments punctuated by the occasional piece of rolled bone. I checked the surface of the log bed and any shelly horizon for bones or teeth that may be weathering out, but unfortunately no luck there. An interesting sight though was the log bed's huge tree trunks. Usually obscured by sand the log bed marks the boundary between the Upper and Lower Hamstead Members. It correlates with a eustatic lowstand attributed to the onset of antarctic glaciation and rapid global cooling. Around this bed is where the mammal fauna at Bouldnor passes through the famous Grande Coupure, marking the extinction of earlier endemic Eocene mammals like palaeotheres and anoplotheres, who are replaced with rhinocerotids, carnivorans, and a wide range of artiodactyls and rodents, including entelodonts and anthracotheres. The log bed represents a large log jam in fluvial swampy conditions, intermixed with the trees were the carcasses of mammals (a nearly intact Anoplotherium skeleton eroded out of the bed between the 1960's and 2002). Large tree trunks of pines and redwoods can be seen weathering out on the foreshore, and look pretty impressive. There's a long hiatus after the log bed, before the deposition of the Upper Hamstead Member above. Having passed the log bed, productivity picked up again and within the space of around 20 metres I made some pretty nice finds, including teeth from Bothriodont anthacotheres, an alligator tooth, a large section of trionychid costal plate, alligator jaw fragments, and a large cervical vertebra from an alligator (Diplocynodon sp.). Despite missing the neural arch and cervical ribs on one side the vertebra is quite well preserved and unworn, and is definitely one of the best bones I've collected from the Bouldnor Fm. I walked on a bit further towards Cranmore but decided to turn back as the tide has begun to turn. Overall, it was a great trip with some really nice finds. I'm planning on heading up to Hamstead for a full day of collecting on Saturday so I'll post on how that trip goes. Thank you, Theo 1. Worn Bothriodon vertebra 2. Distal anthracothere humerus, most likely Bothriodon 3. Diplocynodon cervical vertebra 4. Front view of the Diplocynodon vertebra
  8. G'day all! After three years since my last visit to the UK, i finally returned in December 2017 for another massive collecting trip across England. This was my most ambitious tour of the UK's Mesozoic and Cenozoic vertebrate deposits thus far, with 20 days of collecting across ten different locations. These were (in chronological order from first visit): Abbey Wood in East London Beltinge in Kent Bouldnor on the Isle of Wight Compton Bay to Grange Chine on the Isle of Wight Lyme Regis to Charmouth in Dorset Aust Cliff in Gloucestershire Saltwick Bay in Yorkshire Kings dyke in Cambridgeshire Minster in Kent Tankerton in Kent. If you went collecting at any of these places in the last month, there's probably a 25.6975% chance you saw me looking very intimidating hunched over in my hooded rain jacket and muddy pants 14 of those collecting days were back-to-back, a new record for me, though it was very tiring! Having just come from the hot Australian summer, winter collecting in England was certainly a challenge at times and my fingers and toes froze to the point i could barely feel them on multiple occasions. Temperatures for many of the days reached 0 degrees celcius or below, with ice on the ground around me and even snow falling while i was trying to collect! I also went out during the middle of the night to collect using a head torch on some occasions (mainly at Bouldnor) due to the tidal conditions and bad weather which prevented collecting during the day. All in all i am certainly pleased with how the trip went, i was successful at all locations with the exception of Tankerton. For some of the locations (Aust Cliff, Kings dyke, Saltwick Bay) it was also my first and only visit, so i'm glad i still managed to do well with no prior experience at these sites and with such limited time at each. I have tried to write this trip report not only as a means of showing you guys my finds but also to provide an informative overview of some of the better locations for Mesozoic and Cenozoic vertebrates across England for others who might be planning similar trips. Anyway, here are the results! Pictures will be spread across the next 12 posts due to file size restrictions. Abbey Wood - East London (6/12/17, 30/12/17 and 31/12/17) Formation: Blackheath ('Lesnes Shell Bed') Deposit Age: 54.5 million years (Eocene) Fossil Diversity: Sharks, bony fish, chimaeroids, bivalves, gastropods, rare mammals, turtles and crocodiles This was one of only two inland locations i visited (the other being Kings dyke). As i have found, the majority of the UK's easily accessible fossil collecting locations are coastal! Abbey Wood is an excellent location just 45 minutes on the tube from central London. It is situated in a park called the Lesnes Abbey Woods and there is a small collecting area that is open to the public for shallow digging (see my first two pictures below). You definitely need a sifter, shovel and basin of water at this location to have any real success. Be warned though that once you combine the fine Blackheath sediments with water during sifting you get some pretty gnarly mud so expect to come away from this site looking like you've just been rolling around in the dirt. I'm sure i got some interesting looks from people on the tube going back to London it was all worth it though, as every single sift load produced at least one shark tooth across the three days i visited. Very impressive considering the number of obvious holes dotted around the ground from years worth of other collectors visiting. It should be noted though that the mammalian material from this location is of high scientific importance, and collecting here is allowed on the condition that any mammalian finds be brought to the attention of and handed in to specialists like Dr Jerry hooker at the Natural History Museum in London. I didn't find any such material on my trips unfortunately. Here is the designated collecting area. The statue at the front is of Coryphodon, one of the rare Eocene mammals that has been found at the site. The full haul of shark teeth from three days of sifting in the collecting area. Most are from Striatolamia and Sylvestrilamia. I gave up trying to count them once i got past 100 Some of the other fishy bits that often turn up during sifting, including guitar fish teeth on the far left and two dermal denticles (Hypolophodon sylvestris), one gar pike fish tooth in the middle (Lepisosteus suessionensis), one shark vertebra down the bottom and unidentified bony fish vertebrae on the right. I don't typically collect shells, but i picked these up for the sake of adding a bit more diversity to my Abbey Wood collection. These are bivalves and gastropods of various species. The molluscan diversity from this one location is actually quite impressive. Beltinge - Kent (7/12/17 and 29/12/17) Formation: Upnor ('Beltinge Fish Bed') Deposit Age: 56.5 million years old (Paleocene) Fossil Diversity: Sharks, chimaeroids, bony fish, rays, turtles, crocodiles, bivalves, wood This is my favourite shark tooth collecting location in the UK and probably my favourite that i have visited anywhere so far. The shoreline directly opposite the access point at the end of Reculver Drive in Beltinge is loaded with teeth and dare i say it's impossible to come here and walk away empty handed. The shore however is very flat so there is generally only about a two hour window of time that collecting can be carried out here, one hour either side of low tide. Conditions can also vary depending on how sanded over the shore is, whether the Beltinge Fish Bed itself is exposed and how low the tide drops. However even on a poor day you will still find teeth here, just not as many! I experienced this first hand as the first day i visited on December 7th the conditions were excellent. The tide dropped quite low, there wasn't too much sand covering the clay and the Beltinge Fish Bed was exposed. This allowed direct in-situ collecting of teeth from this rich layer and i ended up with something like 240 teeth from just a couple of hours of looking. The second visit i made on December 29 of the same month was almost the exact opposite. It's amazing how quickly these coastal locations can change! The shore was largely sanded over, the fish bed was covered and the tide didn't drop anywhere near as much. I was out about the same amount of time as the first but only managed 69 teeth (only ). Keep these things in mind if you are planning a visit. Luckily though i didn't just find shark teeth, i also managed to locate some of the other less common finds as you will see below! Here is the area of shoreline that produces teeth, photographed on December 7th. It was quite cold and rainy! Three teeth sitting next to each other as found. More as-found shark teeth. This one made me quite excited when i saw it. It's a large piece of chimaeroid fish jaw and mouthplate coming straight from the Beltinge Fish Bed itself (the darker, dull-green sandy clay in this picture). Beltinge is continued in the next post.
  9. Fossil prep service uk

    I was hoping someone could recommend a fossil prepping service in the uk. Ideally south east England. I have found what looks to be a virtually complete meyeria lobster from whale chine, Isle of Wight, uk. About 15cm. Fairly big from what I understand. It looks like it could turn out really well, but it’s such a complex prep, I was thinking it’s better someone with experience did it. If anyone could recommend someone who may be able to help I would be most grateful. Many thanks henry
  10. Claw ID Help - Bouldnor Formation, UK

    Collected recently from Bouldnor on the Isle of Wight. It is about 33 million years old (earliest Oligocene). Fossils of turtles, a small alligatorid (Diplocynodon) and land mammals (most commonly anthracotheres) are the usual finds. This is the first ungual i have ever found from this location, and i am having trouble finding images of other examples to compare with. It measures 18mm long. I first thought crocodile when i collected it, but i would like other opinions. I'm now tossing up between mammalian and crocodilian. I understand going further than that will probably not be possible. Cheers!
  11. Unidentified Testudine Carapace

    Hi, I've recently been sorting through my freshwater turtle pieces from the Bouldnor Fm. and have come across a couple of fragments that don't resemble the normal finds of Emys and Trionyx. I remember collecting them at the time and thinking how weird they looked but I presumed the markings were the result of damage etc. so didn't give them much thought. Interestingly I've found a reference in a paper from 1890 on the fossil chelonians of the Isle Of Wight that states: "There is a third species of chelonian, the remains of which are comparatively rare, and the outer surface of whose carapace is furrowed in lines, much after the manner of the larger species of recent land tortoises." This accurately describes the pieces I have, but as far as I know no large tortoise (or any tortoise material) has been collected from the Bouldnor Fm. and with the paper being nearly 130 years old I took it with a pinch of salt. I was wondering if anyone would be able to confirm if these pieces are actually from a separate taxa of chelonian or whether the markings could've been caused during diagenesis etc. Thank you, Theo
  12. Hi, I thought I'd show some of my first micro-vertebrate fossils from the Bembridge Marls Mbr. of the Bouldnor Fm. I collected around 2kg of matrix from one of the 'shelly' estuarine horizons in the lower part of the member at Hamstead Ledge, and am really pleased the results so far! The Bembridge Marls form the basal member of the Bouldnor Fm. and were deposited between 34.0 and 33.75 million years representing the final 250,000 years of the Eocene epoch. The depositional environment varies throughout the member and many beds are laterally discontinuous (like the Insect Bed, which produces finely preserved insects, feathers, leaves, and lizard skin impressions). Generally however, the Bembridge Marls were laid down in a sluggish lagoonal/estuarine environment with areas of wetland and adjacent sub-tropical/tropical forests, in the southern regions of the Hampshire Basin. To the south were forested chalk uplands that are now the downs of the Isle Of Wight. There was also some fluvial influence from rivers flowing from the west, draining the uplands around Dartmoor in Devon. Fauna-wise vertebrates like fish and freshwater turtles are common, and mammal remains are rarely found (in comparison to the overlying Hamstead members which are rich in post and pre-grande coupure mammals), these include palaeotheres, creodonts, rodents, anoplotheres, choeropotamids, xiphodonts, and primates. So far I've only searched through a small amount of the matrix but it has produced indeterminate teleost vertebra, Bowfin teeth, fin spines, indeterminate fish premaxillae, and a very nice crocodilian tooth. (The quality of the images isn't always fantastic but I'm trying to find a way to work around it in the microscope's program) Isolated fish vertebra from teleosts are by far the most common micro-fossil, and I've collected more than 10 so far. Here's a nice example: Bowfin teeth are also quite common and vary in size from 2-7.5mm in length. Bowfins would have been ambush predators feeding on smaller fish and other vertebrates in the lagoons and estuaries. Based on vertebra I've found ex-situ on the beach it seems some of these fish were very large. (Close up of one the teeth) These pre-maxillae also seem to turn up from time to time and appear to be from some form of teleost. The closest match I can find is with some kind of Gadiform? And finally the best find so far, a crocodilian tooth crown. I spotted this on the surface of one of the matrix blocks. It's most likely from the alligatoroid Diplocynodon which was very common in the wetlands and rivers of Europe from the Palaeocene to the Miocene. Diplocynodon has also been found in the early Eocene marine deposits of the London Clay suggesting that they frequented both freshwater and brackish/coastal habitats. The matrix is nowhere near fully sieved and sorted through yet so hopefully there's a lot more micro-vertebrates in there! Hope this was of interest, Theo
  13. Bouldnor Cliff Phalange

    Hi, I'm back again with another mammal foot bone from the Bouldnor Formation. I collected this phalanx this afternoon whilst out collecting at Bouldnor Cliff and am having a nightmare trying to identify it. It's asymmetrical and quite 'heavily built' in comparison to your usual anthracothere phalanges which makes me think it might not be Bothriodon. It's slightly damaged around the proximal articulatory surface but other than that is pretty much intact. It's 4.2cm long and 2.1cm wide. I did check Anoplotherium as I remembered it having short compact phalanges and the remains of several individuals have been found from Bouldnor Cliff eroding out of the Log Bed (including the Ham3 skeleton), but no luck there. I was wondering if anyone would be able to lend a hand in narrowing the ID down as I've never found anything that resembles it before. I'd be grateful for any help, Theo (Distal articulatory surface)
  14. Rodent Incisor

    Lower incisor from the theridmoyid rodent Isoptychus. Collected from a thin lacustrine horizon in the Lower Hamstead Member of the Bouldnor Fm. at Bouldnor Cliff, an early Oligocene locality on the northwest coast of the Isle Of Wight, UK. Identified by mammal specialist Jerry hooker from the Natural History Museum.
  15. Hi, I collected some fossiliferous matrix yesterday from the Bembridge Marls Mbr. and Lower Hamstead Mbr. of the Bouldnor Fm. and was wondering if anyone could advise me on the best method to separate the clay from the micro-fossils. I've been interested in collecting micro vertebrate remains alongside the larger material for a while now and received a digital microscope for my birthday last week. I had a go at extracting some from some smaller pieces of matrix I collected last weekend (by simply washing the clay around in a bowl and then repeatedly decanting it) and produced a rodent incisor and various fish bones. I'm worried that just washing the clay around may destroy some of the fossils so I was wondering if there was a safer way to extract them that effectively separates the matrix from the fossils. The matrix itself is from estuarine facies, and is essentially clay that is heavily packed with gastropods, bivalve fragments, and vertebrate material (predominantly fish and crocodilians). Any help would be really appreciated, Theo
  16. Fossil or not? Isle of Wight

    Hi My brother has given my kids a fossil he found on Compton bay, Isle of Wight(uk) we are curious to know what it is from (if anything!) any help would be appreciated It is 46mm long, 25mm wide and 20mm deep.
  17. Bouldnor Cliff Metatarsal

    Hi, I headed out yesterday morning to Bouldnor Cliff on the early morning low tide for what would be a rather "interesting" collecting trip (finger numbingly cold weather followed by getting badly bitten by a loose dog). I picked up some nice pieces including a Bothriodon jaw, and this very nice metatarsal bone. My initial ideas were that it was crocodilian however after doing research online I've seen quite a few similar looking metatarsals in variety of other animals, so I was wondering if anyone would be able to lend a hand in IDing it. It seems to be fairly intact apart from slight damage to the proximal and distal ends. It's 7.5cm long and 0.7cm wide, with a very flat and thin profile. Unfortunately when the dog bit me I dropped my collecting bag smashing the bone in half, so I've had to glue it back together as best I can. Thank you, Theo
  18. Hi, I haven't posted in a while on here so I thought I'd show some of my best Bouldnor Fm. finds from this autumn (so far). As winter comes in the productivity on the coast has noticeably increased since the summer. We've had a lot of wet and windy weather through October and November, especially with Hurricane Ophelia and Storm Brian which has triggered a lot of falls and slips especially at Bouldnor and Hamstead Cliffs producing new material. I've also recently started as a lab volunteer at Dinosaur Isle (mostly accessioning Insect fossils from the Bembridge Insect Beds etc.) which has inspired me to get out on the coast a lot more often, meaning I'm now out collecting at least once a week. So here are my bests from the last few weeks: 1) A large piece of Emys plastron from Bouldnor. 2) A distal piece of an anthracothere humerus, most likely from Bothriodon
  19. Hi, I was out collecting from the Bouldnor Formation on Tuesday as usual and came across this piece of bone on the foreshore west of Cranmore. I initially thought it may have been part of a vertebra, but from what I can tell after looking at it further I think it may be part of the occipital bone/nuchal ridge (not sure on the proper name for this region of the skull so please correct me if I'm wrong) from the back of a mammal skull, as I can see an area that may be the beginning of a sagittal crest. The specimen is damaged in some areas and has clearly been broken off from a larger specimen at some point and worn by the elements. I was wondering if anyone would be able to confirm if this is a piece of occipital bone, and if it would be possible to ID it further based on its morphology etc. Thank you, Theo
  20. Hi, I was out this morning doing some collecting at Bouldnor Cliff (thought I'd mix it up from Hamstead for a change) and came across this distal portion of a mammal humerus lying on a mudflat. I'm regular collector along the north coast and know the vertebrate taxa and stratigraphy like the back of my hand but this humerus is unlike anything I've found before mammal-wise. I noticed straight away that it has a supratrochlear foramen, which from my own knowledge and some online research is a feature often found in canids. Material from amphicyonids like Cynodictis and Amphicyon have been found from the Bouldnor Formation (Rupelian aged, and spans 34.0 - 32.5 mya) but I'm unaware of any canid material, so I was looking to perhaps get a second opinion on whether this is canid, and/or whether the supratrochlear foramen is a reliable indicator of canid/carnivoran material. Any help is much appreciated.
  21. Hello, This is my first post of this forum and I would like to show you some of my unidentified macro plant spores and vertebrate remains found in residue from fallen bits of plant debris bed picked up at Yaverland IOW, photos were taken under AmScope USB microscope, hope you like them. Still to experiment with the Toupview stacking software, watch this space. The Albaneretontid jaw holds nine teeth, this is the one I hope to get my stacking software working on. I have thrown in a close up of a termite coprolite apparently they have not changed in shape (hexagonal) for 75 million years. These are so abundant in the plant debris bed residue you end up ignoring them after a while. The rest I have not identified yet and are actually mega spores I believe. Also I found a tiny insect wing on the surface of some Bembridge limestone and a section of reed from a different piece. This is why the Isle of Wight is such a special place for me.
  22. Hello Would anyone have a suggestion what this could be? It's a cross section from a split rock. Isle of Wight, UK. Conglomerate between Chilton Chine and Brook Bay. Definitely bone. Very thin bone in most places. 6.5 cm long, 6 cm wide. It has been suggested that it is skull material. It will be a tricky prep with my limited experience, but if anyone could suggest what i could be, it could help with knowing where to start. Thanks in advance Henry
  23. Mammal Tooth for ID

    I picked up this tooth from Bouldnor Beach on the Isle of Wight in the UK a couple of years ago. It is from the Bouldnor Formation and is earliest Oligocene, about 33 million years old. I'm confident it comes from a mammal of some kind, a rooted canine but that's as far as i've got. To provide some context the site has produced a number of pig-like anthracotheres (the most common mammals), carnivores like Hyaenodon, entelodonts, early primates like Leptadapis, the rhino-like Ronzotherium, deer-like forms and various others. Can any of the mammal people offer their thoughts? @Harry Pristis? Unfortunately the crown is almost completely worn away which i know is a huge detriment to identification. It measures 3.8 cm long, but of course would have been longer with the crown intact.
  24. Hamstead Vertebra

    Hi, Sorry I haven't been that active on here recently for the last few weeks, I've been incredibly busy. I've made a few trips to Hamstead over the past few weeks (I'll post some of the highlights later) and have just got back from a very wet and windy trip today, which as usual did not disappoint. The most interesting find of the day, along with a snake vertebra and an anthracothere premolar, was this fairly intact vertebra. My initial thoughts were perhaps crocodilian or mammalian but it looks very different from any Diplocynodon vertebra I've ever found, and I can't find a match to any mammals. The spinous process is nearly intact and it has a very narrow neural canal. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks, Theo
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