I found this small rock ( approx 5.5cm by 3.5cm) on a local beach in Dorset. It has red and yellow/orange lumpy bits in it and the texture is fine and gritty (like glittery bits of sand or gravel). It was more lumpy looking but I tried to sand it down because at first I thought it might be jasper. It seems impossible to polish so I have just varnished it to try and highlight the colour and texture. Not sure if it's just sandstone or something similar or maybe coprolite? Please could someone help id. Many thanks!
I think you could be right - it could be coprolite.
Its being composed of what appear to be pellets points in that direction (though burrows are sometimes filled with pellets, too).
I hope we get some other opinions, ideally from somebody familiar with the area.
...So it would be useful to know which Dorset beach...
Hengistbury Head is known more for microfossil seeds than macrofossils.
But shark teeth have been recorded:
"Returning to Highcliff, we have the cliff from thence to Mudieford com-
posed entirely of sand. From Hengistbury Head an ironstone has been
dug for several years past, and shipped to Swansea : it produces 2') per
cent, of iron. From the blocks on the shore may be obtained teeth of
So tthe answer might be shark or fish coporilite or enterospira (fossil intestine).
You might find this discussion pertinent
There are some other possibilities, as mentioned by Dr. Ian West here
- conifer cone
- other fruit
- ironstone concretion (if one considers the concretions to be basically mineral, then I don't think so - what appear to be pellets in your specimen look too organic to me)
Dr. West makes no mention of coprolites, but nonetheless that would be my best educated guess.
Thanks for all the info and links Mike - I will take a look at them. One of my friends (who has studied geology) thinks it could be ambergris but I think that could be because in my photo it looks waxy where I have varnished it.