Judging from your photos, I'm pretty sure it is fossil, not modern.
It is either:
- a bryozoan mat, or
- a leaf
If it has a rectangular structure within the overall radiating structure, it is a Bryozoan.
Here's a fossil showing that rectangular structure well
This photo of a modern bryozoan mat called broad-leaved hornwrack (Flustra foliacea) at Whitby also shows the characteristic rectangular structure
Although it is often mistaken for seaweed, it is rough to the touch.
That's just to get your eye in on Bryozoans. Like I say, I am pretty sure yours is fossil.
If it is a plant, we'll have to think some more (Jurassic plant fossils have been found at Whitby Bay).
Please get back to us!
Oh, and some close-up photos (including a scale) would be useful, so long as you can get them in focus.
many thanks for your help and quick reply i have had to coat the fossil with pva glue as it was quite flakey in places i hope this doesnt hinder you to much, i have also attatched a close up picture, thanks again.
I think it could be a horsetail plant fossil. It can't be off calamites, because it became extinct in the Permian period, but they still were different species in the Jurassic (there are still even a few today.). I'll post some images of my horsetail plant fossils which I found from the carboniferous period (the age of the insects.). They look very simular.
Thanks - useful further photos.
Definitely not bryozoan.
I am fairly sure it is a fossil leaf.
It has similarities to fossil Ginkgo leaves, which do occur in the Jurassic, eg.:
And on the Yorkshire coast (search for Ginkgo on the first page):
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Fossil_Plant_Ginkgo.jpg (Scarborough)
- http://www.whitbymuseum.org.uk/collections/foss.htm (Whitby Museum - a good place to enquire about yours)
However, Ginkgo leaves are only a few cm across, Here's one (also from the Yorkshire coast) including a scale
Yours is 30cm across! I have never seen any that big. It may be just that I have no come across them.
Here's a modern Ginkgo leaf and seed (nut)
...Which I mention because I think we can see something similar to the nut in your first photo (bottom right)...
In your specimen, the subect itself disappears into the rock near its 'middle'. It would be enlightening to know what happens there. I wonder if you could carefully pick off the rock to see if the broad flat part merges into a stem. If you damage the fossil in your attempts, stop. To me at any rate, this is a very interesting fossil, and warrants expert preparation.
Closer examination (microscope) might also be useful. It could show pores (stomata), indicative of the specimen being a leaf
If it was not for the large size, I would be fairly confident it was a fossil Gingko leaf.
As it is, I am open to other suggestions (Could it even be a fish fin? I have no experience of them.)
I will see if I can get a palaeontologist to take a look at this thread.
I hope you donot mind but I have attached two images of a similar (not as good as yours) partial Phylloceras outer whorle, when i turned it over I could see other fossils inside of it.
Very nice find starburst1812
It is the side of the outer whorle of a Lower Jurassic - Upper Lias ammonite called Phylloceras hetrophyllium, these ammonites are amongst the biggest you can find if you are lucky enough to find a whole one around Whitby.
Ooh - difference of opinion!
I would ordinarily defer to your excellent local knowldge, Tabfish. But the specimen appears thin and almost flat, whereas Phylloceras could have considerable thickness/curvature, surely? Also, if it was Phylloceras, the 'centre' would be offset because of the spiralling, whereas here I get the sense that the 'centre' is central.
I could entertain the idea of an ammonite aptychus, as being flattish; but I would not expect a dominant radial marking like on this specimen.
Ah - but you say 'side'.
OK, I see what you mean - a broken fragment excluding the more-curved 'edge'.
I think a bit of prepping to reveal what happens in the centre would decide between the two ideas!
Just took some images!
The first is a small Phyllo that I am holding in my hand, the rest is of a decent sized specimen found near Whitby.
When you find these partial specimens on the beach they are spectacular, with a fantastic golden sheen, but after a while they go dull and sometimes start to crumble as they dry out.
Very nice find.
Hi many thanks for all your help, I did think it was a plant at first as there is indeed what appears to be a nut or leaf imprint beneath it however having looked at the photos of the phyllo I think you may be right , thanks again for you help.
Hope it's ok but I found something similar to your specimen tonite in my shed.
I will post some more images separately because it's easier for me to explane what they are.
The first is a view from the side of something like yours that has been in my shed for a while.
Don't forget starburst - if you found a partial fossil Phyllo then there is a good chance you were in the right area to find a full one!
Just get the tides rite and the cliffs are very dangerous around Whitby.
Look forward to seeing some more of your finds.
knowing my luck tabfish the full one was right in front of me and i have missed it haha, but at least i got this lovely imprint im not due back in whitby for awhile but saw several small rockfalls whilst i was there so i have been extra careful whilst searching however i am of to the isle of wight in june and i am hoping for some interesting finds, thanks for all your help
My family and I has spent many happy times on the Isle of Wight and we have made some friends there, I can only say we wish we were there now.
Have a great holiday and please show your finds on here.
I know you said Whitby Bay and 'under some boulders', but please could you give me more detail on the location (if possible). Specifically:
- by 'under some boulders', did you mean loose? - or was it in the bedrock?
- whereabouts around the bay (grid ref, some landmark that I could locate on a map, etc.)
Also, you could go here
click on 'Go to location' (upper right), enter Whitby as location,
and see if you could give location information in terms of the geology.
You'll have to play around to get the hang of how the site works, eg. click anywhere and you'll get a popup regarding the geology at that point.
This might enable you, for instance, to tell us if the spot was in the Saltwick Formation And Cloughton Formations, or Whitby Mudstone Formation, or Mulgrave Shale Member.
I am in contact with the advisory staff at the Angela Marmont Centre, who have requested this loation information (but are extremely short-staffed). I hope they, in collaboration with a palaeo, will be able to provide some useful insight. I would, of course, post that here.
Hi sorry for the lack of responce lately I am changing broadband suppliers at the moment so only have my mobile phone I will have a look on the web page you suggested so I can give you some more detail of where it was found it wasn't far from the harbour I will post further details on Tuesday when my broadband is up and running hope that is ok:)
hi mike had a look at the web page you sugested and have got a grid ref for you it was found in this area under a very large boulder the grid ref is 490928,511340 i hope that helps if you manage to find the real thing i would love to see it anyway good luck
Ah - that's right where the stratigraphy changes in a short distance. To paraphrase the info from the BGS map:
There are four formations, all in the Jurassic:
- Cloughton Formation - Sandstone, Siltstone And Mudstone, ~168-172ma
- Eller Beck Formation - Mudstone, Sandstone And Ironstone, ~168-172ma
- Dogger Formation - Sandstone, ~172-176ma
- Whitby Mudstone Formation - Mudstone, ~176-183ma
Setting: shallow seas. These rocks were formed in shallow seas with mainly siliciclastic sediments (comprising of fragments or clasts of silicate minerals) deposited as mud, silt, sand and gravel.
Local environment previously dominated by swamps, estuaries and deltas.
However, was that boulder on the beach (or a bit inland)?
And was it in the bedrock (or loose)?
If so, we're dealing with the Whitby Mudstone Fm.
Once I have your answers, I shall email my contact...
Yes tabfish I am really looking forward to going to the isle I wight it will be my sons first fossil hunting trip ( he is 12 week old at the moment) so I am hopeful I can find something nice to show him when he is older and my three year old daughter is already showing a interest in all things to do with fossils so we should have a great time , thanks again :)