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2236 Views 14 Replies Last post: Mar 5, 2014 9:08 PM by Tabfish RSS
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Mar 2, 2014 11:01 AM

Is this a fossil?

I found this on a beach between Itchnor and Dell Quay in Chichester Harbour. It looks to me like a fossilised egg trapped in some flint. It looks like the egg has been fractured under the pressure of the flint but I think most of it has stayed in the flint.

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    Mar 2, 2014 3:14 PM (in response to Lois Peyton Jones)
    Re: Is this a fossil?

    Lois,

     

    Please could you post some photos from other angles?

     

    I suspect it may be an internal cast of a sea urchin (much smoohter than the outside), but I'm only guessing based on that first photo.

     

    Mike

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    Mar 2, 2014 6:41 PM (in response to Lois Peyton Jones)
    Re: Is this a fossil?

    I don't think it is a fossil it doesn't have a carving I'm not sure because I'm only 8

    Lois Peyton Jones wrote:

     

    I found this on a beach between Itchnor and Dell Quay in Chichester Harbour. It looks to me like a fossilised egg trapped in some flint. It looks like the egg has been fractured under the pressure of the flint but I think most of it has stayed in the flint.

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        Mar 2, 2014 10:26 PM (in response to Lois Peyton Jones)
        Re: Is this a fossil?

        Lois,

         

        Thanks for the other photo.

        That does not show anything vital that supports the sea urchin idea.

         

        Flints often have a 'rind'; that is, they have an outer layer that differs from the core. In princinciple, I could offer that as an explanation for your specimen. But such rinds are always(?) firmly attached to the core; they usually grade into each other over a short distance. I do not recall seeing a flint where the rind was clearly separated from the core as in your specimen.

         

        ...Which means I do not have an explanation for you!

         

        I have asked a colleague, Tabfish, to have a look.

        See if he posts...

         

        If he doesn't know either, I suggest you take/send it to the Natural History Museum.

        Contact info:

        http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/darwin-centre-visitors/marmont-centre/

        In the first place, you could phone and ask them to look at this thread. (Some of them do look here, but they have such a lot of other requests to deal with, it can be difficult for them to notice everything that happens here.)

         

        Mike

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          Mar 4, 2014 9:24 PM (in response to MikeHardman)
          Re: Is this a fossil?

          Thank you Mike for asking my opinion.

          We find a lot of fossil sea urchins on the Holderness coast but non like this! ours are usually the 'whole' fossil but I think what you have here is the internal cast from one.

          You can just see the 'heart' shape in the first image posted.

          Very interesting find and one for the collection.

          I hope you don't mind as I have attached an image of some fossil sea urchins in our collection.

           

          Tabfish

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    Mar 3, 2014 2:58 PM (in response to Lois Peyton Jones)
    Re: Is this a fossil?

    A very interesting specimen! Flint nodules are the result of a very complicated diagentic process (the changes that happen after burial), leaving us with the strange forms we often see, and so complicated its hard to find a good answer to how many form.

    Flint nodules can form in hollows left by dissolved fossils, inside fossils, in burrows (those nice finger like bits that I expect you find allot). I’m reluctant to come to any conclusions on your specimen because A it looks very different to most the nodules I have seen and B it’s difficult to assess just from a picture. However here are a few ideas:

    Is the inside definitely flint? Sometimes flint nodules are hollow where they formed around a fossil and the fossil has since dissolved, this could be the case where the fossil hasn’t quite dissolved. If you know anybody into lapidary it may be worth cutting it in half to see if there is an internal structure.

    It is easy to assume it comes from the chalk as most flint on the south coast does, but remember we have nice flinty beaches because it is hard and lasts and can survive being transported by glaciers and water, it’s possible your nodule could come from a much older deposit much further away, there are a number of other older formations that also have been known to contain chert nodules.

    Possibly the best way to think about it is as a growth in a void as opposed to a fluid filling the void; A fossil was buried and dissolved leaving a void, the microcrystalline then grew within it, but for some reason wasn’t allowed to completely fill the void.

    Are you a member of Rockwatch? I think they are doing a trip to Bracklesham later on in the year might be worth you going, and taking your specimen to see if anyone there has any ideas.

    Keep on rocking!

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      Mar 3, 2014 3:20 PM (in response to palaeoalex)
      Re: Is this a fossil?

      Going back a few years to school classes I am no authority  I think it is a sea urchin Echinocorys scutata

       

      I found this   www.weybourne.ukfossils.co.uk/Weybourne-Fossils-Geology/fossil-photos.htm

       

      Steve

       

      Message was edited by: basquesteve because he cannot get the link to work

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        Mar 4, 2014 11:26 AM (in response to basquesteve)
        Re: Is this a fossil?

        It certainly is the right shape for an echinoid, although I can't see any ambulacral features in the pictures which makes me reluctant to call it an echinoid. If you have any more pictures showing such features that would confirm it.

        Alex

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          Mar 4, 2014 12:28 PM (in response to palaeoalex)
          Re: Is this a fossil?

          Alex,

          No ambulacral faces - exactly - which I why I vaguely suggested it might be an internal mould.

          But I still don't fancy the idea much.

           

          Lois,

          While we're grasping at straws, do you think you could prise-off any more of the outside, so we might see more (perhaps even all) of the egg-shaped object?

           

          Also, I/we should have commented about your wondering if it might be an egg...

          Very unlikely. Flints are associated with marine sediments, and marine eggs are very unlikely candidates for fossilization.

           

          Mike

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              Mar 4, 2014 8:51 PM (in response to Lois Peyton Jones)
              Re: Is this a fossil?

              Just the skin - like peeling a boiled egg where you've already broken the shell into pieces.

              I can't tell how easily the pieces might break off - just be careful, both for the specimen and for your eyes and fingers (flint can be very sharp).

              We're looking for any signs of a repetitive pattern or texture or symmetry - which could point to it being fossil.

               

              If it does break through the middle, that might reveal something of interest as well.

               

              Mike

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