I work for Tarmac Marine Dredging Ltd, an aggregate dredging company based in the UK. Our operations target sand and gravel deposits, often located in ancient river terraces and channels.
One of the staff at our wharf in Bedhampton identified that the flint (pictured below), which was dredged from a licence area located west of the Isle of Wight, had a fossil within it. Please ignore the arrows, they were added by the wharf staff as a joke!
I was wondering if anyone could identify this fossil? We are assuming that it is a fish but wondered if it was possible to identify a sepecies or family from the scale pattern?
Furthermore I wondered if it is possible to expose more of the fossil? And if so how you would go about doing it or who you could send it to?
Any information would be greatly appreciated.
Well, I'm very tempted to say Echinoid (sea urchin), thinking of ambulacral plates.
But something's not right with the symmetry.
Hang on Ed,
with a bit of luck one of our flint experts will chip in...
I agree with Mike, its plates from an irregular shaped echinoid.
The plate arrangement looks like that of Echinocorys scutata thats also one of the most commonly found.
I think its best left as it is.
Thanks Keith, good call.
Agrees with Echinocorys scutata here, for instance
I am not from the NHM; if you click on my name, you'll see my background
Folks who work at the NHM usually (always?) have 'Museum ID Team' as a suffix to their name, as shown by this link
(which happens to include some other folks as well).
This is probably Echinocorys scutatus Leske see:
All the best,
In regard to this bit:
"Furthermore I wondered if it is possible to expose more of the fossil? And if so how you would go about doing it or who you could send it to?"
I would leave it as it is tbh - I dont really think there is much more of it in all likelihood since these creatures tended to break up into fragments fairly shortly after death so its far more common to find a fragment than a complete one.
Additionally flint is extremely brittle so theres a high chance of it just shattering and to cap it all the dust produced from flint is carcinogenic for your lungs.