I found this curious object yesterday in the Lomond Hills in Fife and I'm hoping somebody might be able to tell me what it is. I've found small shell fossils here before but never anything as round or spherical-looking as this:
The two pieces were lying some distance apart but clearly belonged together. This is the area I found them in, a small scree slope above which a steady supply of new rock is exposed and released quite easily:
Here's a bit of background from the local ranger service about the area in question: http://www.fifecoastalpath.co.uk/userfiles/file/Baked%20Buckled%20&%20Frozen%20-%20email.pdf. The rock was found at location No.4 on the map.
Some more pics with measurements:
Any help greatly appreciated.
Many Thanks in advance.
I'm tempted to say it is a sponge, such as Porosphaera globularis.
But that's associated with the Cretaceous; I don't think it goes as far back as the Carboniferous (the age of the sediments in the Lomond Hills).
Need some more opinions...
Interesting, but tricky because the sediment has not preserved much detail of the surface structure ?shell ornament/sculpture. Tentative,y the symmetry of the valves suggests bivalve to me, I have emailed a colleague in Scotland for some advice. I assume the location is Carboniferous. Is there any chance of a higher magnification image?
Will get back to you as soon as I hear from my Scottish colleague. When I am back in the NHM on Monday, I will go and have a look in the BMNH Collection to see if I can find a comparison.
All the best,
It looks like a small concretion - possibly more muddy than the surrounding limestone. You get these a lot in the Carboniferous brackish environments - especially in the quarries at Beith, Ayrshire, so no reason why they shouldn't occur elsewhere. You may be able to pop it out from the otherside a a flattened smartie-shaped lump. I don't think it is a fossil shell, but I may be wrong. I would have to examine it first though. I think I have also seen similar in Clatteringwell Quarry in the Lomond Hills (where the first British gold rush began).
Thank you Dinodoc! A valuable contribution - grateful to have your expertise, particularly as you have fieldwork experience of these rocks. As you say, it is always difficult to determine with confidence from a photograph.
Funny you should mention smarties, as everyone I've shown it to has been preoccupied with chcolate and has either compared it to smarties or chocolate buttons
I'm intrigued by all these responses and hadn't considered that it might just be a more dense globule of mud. I'm also going to look up that gold rush you mentioned. I live in the Lomonds but that's the first time I've heard gold mentioned in a local context. Fascinating stuff.
The gold rush was the one in 1852 gold rush to the hills of Fife. Someone found some gold and caused every worker in Fife, and even some from further afield, to down-tools and start digging. It didn't last long because most of the folk didn't know what they were looking for and ended up with lumps of pyrite (fool's gold) from Clatteringwell Quarry. The quarry is still above the village of Kinnesswood, and you can find some fossils there still, but no gold. I am sure gold was found, but only those who knew what it was made money on it. You can still find gold there, but it is not as easy now as it once was. This gold rush became known as the 'Fool's Gold-Rush' and has been quietly written out of the history books. You can still find out about it though as some websites do mention it, and there is a book to be published in February next year on Scottish gold that will include a bit on this event. The only successful gold rush in Britain was the 1869 Kildonan gold rush in Caithness. You can still pan for gold up there today and come away with a few flakes.
Thanks for that summary, much appreciated. I can easily walk over the hill to Kinnesswood from where I stay, so to learn about a little-known episode in local history is wonderful. Maybe I'll have a rummage next time I'm up there
I'm familiar with Kildonan too as I've stayed up in Kinbrace and Forsinard a fair few times and like pottering about along the river. It's funny to picture the small shanty town that sprung up as result of the gold rush.
Anyway it looks like my rock query has been taken as far as it can go, for which I'm very grateful. This is my first post on this forum and I'm not sure whether I'm supposed to mark it as 'Answered' or not. If someone could let me know what the protocol is I'll happily oblige