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1777 Views 3 Replies Last post: Oct 16, 2013 10:53 PM by MikeHardman RSS
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Sep 17, 2013 9:59 AM

Fossilised Skin or Shell....just maybe?



Another piece from the North Norfolk coast.

This small piece of stone/fossil has particular patterns that could be mistaken for that of tapestry with what look like stitched seams.


Found at Trimingham beach, it is about 30mm in length and bends over this length to about 70 degrees.

It is brown in colour and with no pattern on it's underside.


This is the last of my interesting finds (for now!!) and would be grateful for an identification.


I've shrunk the image files for easy-upload but could always submit the article itself, if warranted.

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    Oct 16, 2013 5:49 PM (in response to Dan Billingham)
    Re: Fossilised Skin or Shell....just maybe?

    Im not an expert but I don't think it's fossil skin.  I think it's a fossil though.  There is a high possibility it could be a piece of fossil coral or it might be something off an Echinoid.

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    Oct 16, 2013 9:35 PM (in response to Dan Billingham)
    Re: Fossilised Skin or Shell....just maybe?

    That's something new! great find.

    Could be a Cretaceous Titusvillia sp type sponge, I do not think i have got the name right but I think it is something similar.

    First glance I thought you had found part of a hand grenade!



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      Oct 16, 2013 10:53 PM (in response to Tabfish)
      Re: Fossilised Skin or Shell....just maybe?



      This is an interesting specimen and question.


      It is also an old can of worms!

      Such fossils crop up fairly often, and we never seem to have a confident explanation !

      If you search this site for 'string of beads', you'll get an inkling of what I mean.





      Some possibilities:

      - Horodyksia - (perhaps too small)

      - Palaeopascichinus - (perhaps too small)

      - Nudibranch eggs - (photographed by Igor Bartolucci)

      - coprolites

      - holdfasts from animals or plants (both can dissolve or erode recesses in rock to help anchor themselves)

      - fragments of plant stems


      I think it is important to look at various aspects of this and similar specimens:

      - The junctions in the marks: do the marks cross or do they split/join?

      - Are any of the polygons open (ie. does a mark stop part-way along an edge) ?

      - Do they really wrap around in 3D, or is that appearance due to post-depositional deformation or a trick of weathering?

      - How consistent are the marks along their length?

      - In case the marks are moulds of fossils, are there ever any originals (non-moulds) in place?

      - Microstructure? Surface texture? (needs fine-grained sediment)

      - Do they occur in association with anything else?

      - Find some in situ, please! How do they occur? Do they have a 'way-up'? Are they within beds or at tops/bottoms of beds? Palaeoenvironment? Etc.

      In answering those questions, we should try to 'see through' the effects of modern erosion/weathering.


      Given answers to such questions, we can generate some hypotheses.

      For instance, if they are never found in situ and they commonly occur around the outside of modern pebbles and never within them, it would be worth considering the possibility they were formed by modern marine organisms.


      I appreciate this is not an answer.

      It is intended merely as an approach to finding an answer.

      And I don't really expect to get an answer short-term; it is more a mini research project.

      But if somebody cares to chip-in and tell us the answer, I would be delighted!



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