Hi folks, we are on holiday and staying near Kessingland beach on the east coast. This afternoon we searched the beach for interesting stones and found this one, which has got to be the most interesting thing we have found as a family!
It looks to me just like a Chinese drawing of a tiger with the way the mouth is shaped. I can't imagine that this is just a natural shape? The stone is quite light and porous.
I see what you mean, but this is just one of those things that peeks the human interest, but it is just a shape of little scientific significance. Your specimen is made of flint, and flints are one of the things we get asked about most often on NaturePlus, in terms of 'this looks like a...'
That's because flints form as nodules and lumpy layers, sometimes guided more or less by fossils, including burrows. Once (millions of years later) eroded, broken, and worn on a beach, the range of shapes and patterns that flints display is very large. Some, inevitably, 'look like something'.
Some are made more intriguing by banding, a phenomenon which is not well understood, but is known not to be of organic origin. This Google image search wll show you some of the weird and wonderfulnesses of banded flint - https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=banded+flint&tbm=isch
Good morning Mike, thanks for your response. This stone doesn't appear to be flint, it has a chalky nature to it. Having looked at the banded flint links I can see how patterns can be formed that have a resemblance to "something" but this really does look like it is a drawn image on the stone. At the edge of the stone you can see that the lines are only on the surface and about 2mm deep. Obviously I'm no expert, but I have seen quite a lot of stones with patterns formed in them, and this seems really different to ones we have previously found.
Yes, the outer areas are chalky, but are you saying the funny-shaped part in the middle is similar (just differently coloured)?
Anyway, whether it is multicoloured chalk or chalk containing flint, I am sure it is natural, not man-made. Of course this is my own opinion, though based on 40+ years geologising and growing up on the chalk and playing with its flints. I wish I could justify it scientifically, but that would entail you picking away at the specimen (dentists' drills are good) to reveal the 3D shape within the chalk. I'm sure then you would see it as an irregular object rather than a (flat) drawing of any kind. But of course, that would destroy the specimen in its current form, which you may want to preserve.
Anybody else got an opinion?
I am baffled my thoughts were on the lines of an emamelled clay tile but the "drawing" wraps around the stones edge I have no idea what caused it other than an ET's calling card Its a lovely curio