Nose to the ground.This trip is from a friend of mine who lives in the United Kingdom. He assisted me in a two week collecting trip out west for the museum. He caught the "fossil collecting bug" real bad. He has taken that next step and has become increasingly interested in the scientific side of paleontology. Maybe, when he get's tired of those pipes and math , he'll get his next doctorate in paleontology. I'm looking forward to more reports in the future.
From the trip logs of "UK-Mickey"
Trip date 28th October 2006
Location: Limestone quarry, Oxfordshire, England
I thought I would give a short account of a collecting trip this weekend that neatly ties together two recent reports by Paleobum. Yes, I was the guy with sunburnt arms helping at the fossil theft site out west (see the Undisclosed Oct 25 trip report). As Paleobum mentioned, we were hunting for very small material, rodents and the like. At the time I had been collecting fossils for less than 1 year and how I came to be helping Paleobum is another story. Under his expert tuition, and with the help of the rest of the crew, I learnt how to hunt for the really small material and how to jacket the much bigger fossils. Since I returned from that trip, whenever I visit most sites, I always spend some time on my hands and knees looking very carefully for what most other collectors miss. In fact, some are very dismissive of the small stuff but, as Paleobum stated, they can be very important. This weekend I visited a middle Jurassic limestone quarry in Oxfordshire, England, for the second time this year. At this site a relatively thin grey/black clay bed yields teeth from range of marine reptiles (plesiosaur, pliosaur, crocodile), fish (pycnodonts) and sharks (hybodus, asteracanthus). Of course, you do not find them all on one trip!! The photo below shows what I collected in nearly 6 hours of hunting back in March. On this occasion, I had been hunting for less than about 20 minutes, and I was not even on my hands and knees, when I spotted something. It was roughly cylindrical, about 4mm long and a couple of mm wide. Unusually, I had forgotten my hand lens and so bagged it for later examination. At home I looked at the “thing” more closely and was totally bemused by what looked like a small mammalian incisor with a crown and possibly half the root. It was very smooth so probably water abraded, which made sense – but a mammal tooth in a marine environment (OK, this was probably not that far off-shore), and middle Jurassic, about 172 million years old. Very unlikely!! I checked a couple of books and, yes, there were mammal finds reported in a couple of similar quarries in Oxfordshire, about the same age but the finds are extremely rare. It was reading Paleobum’s report (South Carolina, Oct. 28 trip report) that prompted me to write this. What of the mystery ‘incisor’? Well, no photos yet until I get it identified but watch this space. Will I be right and prove myself a worthy pupil of Paleobum or will it be the stool in the corner and the pointy hat with the big “D”!! I really don’t mind as long as I’m having fun
|Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
|The photo above shows what I collected in nearly 6 hours of hunting back in March. The teeth on the left are all probably Asteracanthus magnus, the upper pair complete, the rest broken fragments, all occlusal surface views. The teeth on the right are probably all pycnodont fish teeth, again in occlusal view. As you can see from the scale bar, the small fish teeth are only a couple of mm in diameter.