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Koss1959

Gunna Be Hard To Top Today's Trip

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Koss1959

Found some fantastic rare stuff today.

First up a Plesiosaur Atlas bone (not an Atlas bone. Actually a basioccipital bone, thanks Opisthotriton.) Joins the head onto the neck via the ball joint. Extremely rare. Paddy Howe of the Lyme Regis museum identified it for me saying in his (at least fifty years) experience, he has never found one and was very impressed. I coulda stopped there and that'd been a great day. But it got better...

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While still grinning like I'm on day release, I came across this. An Icthyosaur rostrum. Literally at the very top of my realistic wishlist. Still with three worn teeth. Over the moon with this one.

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Then I came across this bone. Had to get it ID'd in the fossil shop. Turns out it's another partial ichthyosaur rostrum! But from a much bigger beast. Identified by the horizontal grooves. That's where the muscle would have joined to the bone.

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Also considering it's easter half term and the beach was packed, I think I've used up my quota of luck for this year! Thanks for looking.

PS: I need a new list now. If any of you know any rare Icthyosaur or Plesiosaur Bones that can be found between Charmouth and Lyme then I'd appreciate it if you suggested them!

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Kosmoceras

That’s really nice - stunning specimens. A strong contender for FOTM? As a suggestion, it is time for some more articulated specimens I think. ;)

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Paleoworld-101

OMG!

You've done incredibly well and are very lucky indeed. They are superb finds. It seems to be hard to find any marine reptile material other than Ichthy verts but you've found 3 oddities in one day!

Next on your list: An isolated, non-worn Ichthyosaur tooth.

They are out there too but quite rare.

Edited by Paleoworld-101

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Koss1959

Thanks guys. I have got lucky today! Kosmoceras, which one are you referring to for fotm?

Paleoworld-101, I have been having some very slow times on Charmouth beach lately. Lyme has been good to me this last week or so. However, both the rostrums were found on Charmouth beach, not that far apart from each other. I only started seriously fossiling maybe two or three months ago. I actually have more Plesiosaur Bones than ichthyosaur. I've found 3 plesi verts, one being fist sized, plesi rib partials... friend who helped id the atlas bone has found a really nice large Icthyosaur tooth.

I think I've gotta aim high. I think I might say a small Ichthyosaur skull. Joined Plesiosaur vertebrae. My ultimate would be a Plesiosaur skull. Those things look monstrous.

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Paleoworld-101

Wow, that is quite unusual that you would have more Plesiosaur material than Ichthyosaur. I have a friend who hunts there and has over 35 Ichthy verts but no Plesiosaur material. You must be blessed by the fossil gods lol.

Which part of the beach was the atlas found? Closer to Charmouth or Lyme, and in the slip or just on the shingle? I was there about 5 months ago and had a blast, though it took me 4 solid days of hunting before i found my first bones (two joined Ichthy verts).

I agree that Plesiosaur atlas is FOTM worthy.

Edited by Paleoworld-101

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Koss1959

The Plesi atlas was found in Lyme on a rocky outcrop at low tide. I also found an ichthyosaur atlas bone in Lyme last week. But that's no way near as well preserved.

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Kosmoceras

Kosmoceras, which one are you referring to for fotm?

Plesiosaur atlas bone

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Paleoworld-101

Last question- where do you tend to focus your search? Along the low tide line or at the top of the beach just below the slip? Or in-between?

Ok I guess that was 3 questions lol

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Koss1959

I usually only look for bones. I find the best place is in the shingle along the shoreline. That's where all my best stuff has been found. Rocky outcrops at low tide. The sea sorts stuff into size order, so that makes it easier.

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Ammojoe

Really lovely finds, but please, educate me - what's the difference between the basiocciptal bone and an atlas bone?

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Koss1959

You know, I have no idea. I think Atlas Bone might be a layman's term. I'm pretty sure they're the same thing.

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Opisthotriton

Ah, I responded in the Find of the Month thread before checking here. The basioccipital is the back of the skull, and it connects to the atlas vertebra, which is the first vertebra. So this is a basioccipital.

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Koss1959

Ah right! So the atlas bone and the basioccipital are two different things? So this is a basioccipital. Is it actually attached to the skull or is it a separate bone entirely? Thanks for your help!

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Opisthotriton

The skull is made of many bones. The basioccipital bone forms the back base of the skull, and it is as attached as any reptile skull bone, i.e. it's firmly attached to the other skull bones and does not move, but doesn't 100% fuse with the other skull bones until late in life. Your second photo shows it dorsal side up, and you can see all of the sutures where it connected with the rest of the braincase bones.

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old bones

Wow! Terrific finds. I agree that you should enter the basioccipital bone in the fotm. What a fantastic day you've had. :)

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Ammojoe

Opisthotriton - thanks for your very informative and interesting response. I've learned something new.

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Koss1959

Learnt more about the bone today. It is actually what is called the basicranium. It is made up of several bones, one of which is the basioccipital. It is so rare because the Plesiosaur skull is very fragile it is one of the first things to be lost during fossilisation.

As soon as I know more I will update this thread.

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Ammojoe

Very exciting! I can't recall the last time I saw bones from a Plesiosaur cranium; so that's an excellent find. You must be very happy :)

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Koss1959

Apparently, the bone is definitely a basicranium from an early pliosaurid. Late Triassic or early Jurassic. I've asked the experts to explain how rare or important this bone is. I've also offered to ship it to them for temporary research. Quite excited for the next email.

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Koss1959

As per JohnJ's advice, I contacted Richard Forrest and we've been exchanging emails for a while. I met him at the Lyme Regis fossil festival today. Really nice guy who has a strong pasion for Plesiosaurs. He has taken the bone for his friend Mark Evans (apparently one of the uk's top plesiosaur experts) to study. He's going to do some light prep work and uncover more detail. He said it could be a new species of Plesiosaur. I know I shouldn't get my hopes up but I can't help it...

Anyway, thanks for looking. Feel free to vote for it in the FOTM (shameless plug).

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Koss1959

Update on the basioccipital. According to Mark Evans, who is the UK's top Plesiosaur skull expert, it maybe from a Thallasiodracon which is already currently known from the area or it could be from a Hauffiosaurus, which is currently only known from Yorkshire and Germany. From what I've researched (albeit briefly), Hauffiosaurus has not been found in Lyme Regis yet. Mark Evans is currently doing some acid prep on the bone and is revealing the sutures and details in the bone. He said he was going to get some pictures for me.

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