Welcome to my blog

This is where I post various musings about wildlife and ecology, observations of interesting species (often invertebrates)
and bits of research that grab my attention. As well as blogging, I undertake professional ecological & wildlife surveys
covering invertebrates, plants, birds, reptiles, amphibians and some mammals, plus habitat assessment and management
. I don't work on planning applications/for developers. The pages on the right will tell you more about my work,
main interests and key projects, and you can follow my academic work here.

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Awww, ain't it scute... an Isle of Wight crocodile?

As well as yesterday's iridescent limpet, some other items of interest turned up during my visit to the Isle of Wight. Not least of these, found by my wife rather than me, was the series of fossils below, arranged in what appears to be a couple of rows along a large boulder fallen from the cliff...

Overview of boulderful of mystery fossils; each lump several cm across.

The initial cry of 'I've found a dinosaur' was followed by thoughts of 'yeah, right' and then 'er, well, actually...' and so a more careful look was needed. Now, I'm no palaeontologist, but dark pitted lumps in a pale matrix shout 'fossil bone' at me. Or maybe coral... The structure was pitted and compared favourably with a chunk of brontosaurus I've got on the shelf (the small holes and channels were visible, but I wasn't able to get a photo where they showed up clearly), but most interesting were the smaller (a few cm) volcano-like structures protruding from the boulder in a few places among the lumps of maybe-bone.

Above and below, two of the interesting 'volcano' structures (both about 5 x 2.5cm)

A bit of research online and even in books started nudging my thoughts away from coral and towards scutes (rectangular-ish armoured skin plates) from a crocodilian of some sort. Many images from these sources appear pitted (not unlike a crumpet in texture) but others are similar to the two photos above. Also, a well-known palaeontologist-blogger suggested the same, so I'm feeling cautiously vindicated at present - and of course, there could be coral, and other things, in the boulder too. However, thoughts on this are most welcome, and there will be an update if anything changes. Until then, my wife's feeling very pleased with herself...


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  2. Your post is part of January's House of Herps Carnival. You can visit the festivities at http://natureisoutthere.blogspot.com/2011/01/house-of-herps.html