“Fishing for fossils on the farm” – Jurassic marine world discovered in a farmer’s field

Many of the specimens collected will be donated to the park’s local museum, Stroud, where they will form an important part of the museum’s paleontology collections. One of the team, Alexia Clark, the Museum’s Documentation and Collections Manager, said: “We are delighted to expand our knowledge of the geology of the Stroud district and look forward to when we will be able to share these astonishing discoveries. with our members and visitors. Being part of the excavation team has been a real privilege and I look forward to sharing the details of this experience through our members’ newsletter”.

Among the best finds were several fossil fish with excellent detail on their scales, fins, and even eyeballs. One of the most impressive finds was a fish head preserved in three dimensions, belonging to a Jurassic type of fish called Pachycormus. The fish appears to “jump off the rock” in which it was contained. A 3D digital model of this fossil has been created by Steven Dey of ThinkSee3D.

Field observations and preparation of the fauna found so far indicate that the Court Farm fossils were quickly buried, as suggested by the lack of encrusting animals or burrows in the sediments. The stratified concretions around the skeletons formed relatively early before the sediments were compacted, as the original stratification of the sediments is preserved. These concretions prevented further compaction and compression of the overlying sediments during burial and thus preserved the fossils in three-dimensional time capsules.

Neville added: “Using the latest fossil preparation and imaging techniques to understand this unique fauna in more detail will create a rich repository. In addition, we will leave a permanent reference section after the excavations have been completed. Given the location and the enthusiasm of the landowner and the local community to get involved, it is hoped to plan and develop a local STEM enrichment program as there will be opportunities for community groups and schools to participate in the research, particularly from the Stroud region with a goal of targeting audiences in areas with low STEM capital.

Landowner Adam Knight said: ‘I am delighted that after the initial work Sally and Nev carried out over three years ago, we now have a full scale dig on the farm involving a range of fossil experts from the Natural History Museum, The University of Manchester, University of Reading and The Open University. On Friday we were also joined by Emily Baldry (16) for a day of work experience before heading off to college to study paleontology – it’s wonderful to see her enthusiasm for her chosen profession . It was a real pleasure to host the digs and I look forward to seeing the results of what has been found. »

The team is very grateful to the Geologists’ Association Curry Fund for funding the excavation phase. Going forward, the team will continue to analyze the specimens and publish their research with the fossils planned for display at the Museum in the Park, Stroud, and the Boho Bakery Café at Court Farm, Kings Stanley, Gloucestershire.

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