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Added: 12th December 2010 Description:
Confidence: It might be this. Notes: Large pebble/cobble found on foreshore containing a mass of fossilised remains. It somewhat ressembles some fossil corals I have found during web-searches but matches nothing exactly. I did also consider the possibility that it is a crinoid fossil but, again, it doesn't quite match any image I have been able to find.
I believe the predominant geology at St mary's Isand is carboniferous coal measures but this stone looks to my (totally inexpert) eye as if it might be a glacial erratic in which case it may have originated from elsewhere...?
I would love it if someone with some expertese in the field would put me out of my misery!
Confidence: It might be this. Notes: Or possibly fossilised worm burrows of some kind?
Confidence: It's likely to be this, but I can't be certain. Notes: Ignore the worm burrows comment, wasn't thinking logically enough!
Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be. Notes: Colonial coral with separated, slender tubular corallites of round cross-sectional form (diameter up to half a cm); short radial septa (seen in cross section, but somewhat obscured by rough surface here); and numerous closely spaced tabulae (the 'false floors' seen in the longitudinal sections). This is a relatively common type of coral in the Carboniferous Limestone (Early Carboniferous age), so the pebble is probably derived from not so far away. Note that this is a 'rugose' coral - the most common coral group in the Carboniferous, comprising both colonial and solitary forms - not a 'tabulate' coral (another group with, usually, much smaller corallites). If you were lucky enough to get hold of the 'Fossil Detectives Field Guide' produced by the OU to accompany the 'Fossil, Detectives' BBC series first broadcast on BBC4 in 2008, you'll find this genus illustrated on p. 22.
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