Trove of Jurassic-Era Fossilized Fish Discovered on English Cow Farm | My Modern Met

By Madeleine Muzdakis on August 28, 2022
The Pachycormus fossile. (Photo: Dr. Dean Lomax)

What a ferocious find!

One might expect to find a lot of cows, manure, and hay on a dairy farm. However, British fossil hunters Neville and Sally Hollingworth discovered something less expected: a 183-million-year-old fossilized fish. Not just any fossil, the pair had discovered a specimen preserved as if leaping, toothy mouth agape, towards the viewer. Researchers investigating this 3D find have since uncovered a previously unknown Jurassic fossil bed, one of the most exceptional sites discovered in years.

The Hollingworths are known for finding fossils, including mammoth skeletons. “It was a real surprise because, when you find fossils, most of the time they’ve been pressed flat through pressure over time,” Neville said. “But when we prepared this one, to reveal its bones bit by bit, it was amazing because we suddenly realized its skull was uncrushed.” The ferocious fossil had emerged from a chunk of limestone which was eroding on a dairy farm in the village of Kings Stanley, Gloucestershire, England.

he farm in Gloucestershire where the fossil trove was discovered. (Photo: Steve Dey)

The surprised farmer gave the pair and a team of researchers from the University of Manchester permission to dig on his property. The crew carefully excavated more limestone nodules, cracking them open to expose more marine fossils. Fish, squid, and the bones of two ichthyosaurs appeared. The latter were large, dolphin-like reptiles that roamed ancient seas. Some of the fish even have preserved soft tissue such as skin, giving the fossils a surprisingly lifelike appearance. Fossilized wood and insects suggest the ancient waters were not far from land.[…]

A 3D digital model of the fossil. (Photo: Steven Day/Thinksee3D)

Continue reading: Trove of Jurassic-Era Fossilized Fish Discovered on English Cow Farm

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