Whereabouts in Somerset?
Any chance of a close-up of the somewhat cylindical object in photo 2?
Any other fossils seen in the immediate area?
(I'm tempted to say it is fossil mud cracks, but the morphology is not ideal.)
Google maps gives these co ords : 51.321133 -2.517469
Cylindrical object in photo 2 is part of material that does not seem part of the main body more like something that has adeared later. i will attempt some better images over the weekend.
Not aware of other fossils.
Thanks for the further info.
I gather from http://mapapps.bgs.ac.uk/geologyofbritain/
"...bedrock geology description: Farrington Member And Barren Red Member (Undifferentiated) - Mudstone, Siltstone And Sandstone. Sedimentary Bedrock formed approximately 306 to 308 million years ago in the Carboniferous Period. Local environment previously dominated by rivers."
And the Farrington Member (Upper Coal Measures, Westphalian D age) is described as
"Grey mudstone with subordinate sandstone (lithic arenite) beds and numerous thin coal seams associated with comparatively thick seatearth clays."
I suspect this is the origin of your specimen. In that environment, mud cracks are possible.
Crinoids (I'm sure that is what your specimen includes) are recorded from the Carboniferous limestone of the Mendips, but I have not found particular records of crinoids from the Farrington Member.
So, I have not made much progress.
I think a crocodile scute (osteoderm) is unlikely.
Mud cracks as an idea has problems: the morphology of the plates and the fact that the layer seems to be composed of coarser sediment (silt) than that underlying it (mud). However, it is possible your specimen represents a small lobe of silty sediment deposited on muds, and desiccation caused shrinkage and cracking - which continued round the edge and a little way under the end of the lobe.
The Radstock Museum includes items of geological interest; you could try asking their opinion.
I think you have found a fossil coral! It looks to us like a tabulate coral called Michelinia which forms polygonal columns. The corallite walls may have decalicifiedand I can't see in this specimen any radiating partitions which are typical of the more common rugose coral colonies. Corals are fraily common fossils in the Carbonifierous Limestone.
I see what you mean. Good thought.
But what about the apparent thin-ness of the structure in cross-section? (photo two)
I think the angle is oblique and the corallites are angled away from that area of the rock.
Oh, I see what you mean; I think...
Shame we can't mutually handle it and chew it over.