Catch up 2 – might it be a belemnite?
A fortnight ago, during a walk through the wood to the north of our little hamlet I cam across animal earth workings between the fallen trunks of some scott’s pine that sit on a steep escarpment above the river. Pausing for a few minutes I picked at the gravel spoil that spread in an orange fan away from one of the burrows.
A smooth shaped dark pebble caught my eye and I lifted it from the gritty sand and gravel. A wipe with a moist finger revealed a line down one side, enough for me to pop the stone in my pocket and take it home for further investigation.
A new bellows attachment to the camera facilitated close up images that revealed either striations or perhaps more optimistically layers revealing an organic origin and therefore potentially a fossil. More research suggested the possibility that this might be a Belemnite.
Belemnites are long extinct cephalopods similar in appearance to today’s cuttlefish or squid. Their main internal organs are encased in a calcite ‘guard’ which readily fossilises over time, causing their name in folk-lore to be thunderstones, derived from the thought that stones were changed to this shape when struck by lightning.
If my discovery is indeed a fossilised Belemnite guard then it has sat in that gravel for some 150 million years, forming as a fossil in some ancient sea. Erosion and the movement of the earth’s crust through the millennia brought it finally to the surface before it was washed by the receding glaciers of the last ice age and then excavated by animal digging to sit and wait for me to find it.
Expert positive identification remains outstanding but I hope I’m proven right and can claim the albeit insignificant discovery, except to me, of a 150 million year old sea creature that swam the seas when dinosaurs were walking the earth.