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Matthew Myerscough
Hi all,

A few finds from Aust yesterday evening (finally found something after 3 visits!).

Two verts - are these likely to be Icthy? 

Does anyone know of any papers or books which may help me find further info i.e. type of Icthy and location of vert - guessing the smaller one is from tail or juvenile?
20190724_190800.jpg  20190724_190805.jpg 
Next are a few fragments of either wood or bone I was thinking.  Appreciate any ideas.  Other wood I have found here looks quite different to the below fossils.

20190724_190927.jpg  20190724_190947.jpg  20190724_191011.jpg  20190724_191044.jpg  20190724_191616.jpg 

Finally, I have what I think are a few pieces of the bone bed.  Could anyone confirm if this is the correct rock?

Are the black bits bone, and if so how do I prep this?!

20190724_191134.jpg  20190724_191158.jpg 
In the below photo the bit I suspect may be bone is quite large (at the bottom of the rock, and goes round the bottom corner)20190724_191211.jpg 
20190724_191220.jpg  20190724_191225.jpg  Many thanks
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Rhaetianpenarth207
Hi. The two verts are most likely ichthyosaur or plesiosaur and the other two pieces are bone. The rocks with the black bits in are bone beds and are best left unprepped because they contain lots of hidden teeth, bone. If you look closely, you might be able to see some. A good book for identification is Fossils of the Rhaetian Penarth which I think is a collection of scientific papers about Triassic sites in the UK like Aust. It is edited by Dave Martill, the paleontologist who prepared the Irritator skull. Those are some very nice finds you’ve got there 🙂. I’ve been there seven times and haven’t found a vert over 1cm 😂. A tip for finding more things is hunting at the base of the cliff where all the matrix is. Every time I go, I hunt there and come back with lots of finds (shark teeth, reptile/fish teeth, tiny verts that sort of thing). If you’re lucky, you might get yourself something like a jaw. Nevertheless, those are some very good finds and you should be proud of them. I’ve never found any bone that size. Also, just a quick question. Do you hunt in the mud at the middle between the cliff and the Severn or do you hunt at the river bank? (I’d like to try and find something like that.) 

Kind Regards, Al
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Matthew Myerscough
Hi Al,
Many thanks for your detailed reply, that's really helpful!  I've ordered that book, so look forward to finding out a bit more about fossils in this area.  Thanks, I will keep searching, would love to find something like a jaw!  When you mention matrix, is this the very loose/fine material where the rock has broken up completely?  Do you think the larger piece of bone shown above could be part of a rib - it is about 25mm wide and 10mm thick, and has curved edges.  Just a thought.  Suppose it's very difficult to know where these bits come from.  Great work finding all the teeth and verts, sounds a lot more productive than my previous two trips!  I found all the fossils in the shingle/loose stones about halfway between the cliff and the start of the mud.  The smaller vert I found quite close to the start of the beach, whilst the larger one was about 10m away from the bridge abutment.  All finds were on the southern side of the bridge.  Do you know if it is common to search into the mud at this site?
Thanks again
Matthew

 
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Rhaetianpenarth207
Hi. When I say matrix, I mean the big slabs of rock found near the cliff. I have attached a few examples below. The matrix at Aust is generally dark blue and sometimes with yellow/ beige layers on the top and bottom sides. At places like Charmouth or Lyme Regis, you generally have to break the rocks with a hammer too get to the fossils but the matrix at Aust is mostly flat so fossils can be found by just looking at the surface of the rocks. Just to give an idea about general matrix size, the big blue piece attached below with the ichthyosaur tooth measures roughly 17cm but was once even bigger but was broken down with a hammer to make it portable. It is always useful to bring a hammer or pick to break down large pieces and chip off small matrix pieces containing teeth. I think that the bone piece you're referring too is a piece of limb bone because as you can see, there is a piece of matrix still on it and excluding that, the bone is a bit too flat to be a rib section and rib sections generally have a more shiny texture like shown below. I’ve known people too search the mud but I think more people go with hunting in the matrix but it really just depends what you’re more comfortable with and what you want to find. The mud generally produces larger but more worn specimens while the matrix generally produces pristine but small pieces. Thanks for the compliment and answering my question 🙂. 

Good luck on the next trip and you can message me if you need ID help 🙂,

Al
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Rhaetianpenarth207
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Dirty Pete
The bone bed at Aust is a discontinuous conglomeratic deposit sitting on the upper erosion surface of the Blue Anchor formation and forms the base of the Westbury formation where it is present. The deposit consists of clasts of Blue Anchor formation (some obvious rip up) together with various bones, teeth, coprolites and phosphatic nodules in a calcite cemented sandy matrix. As far as I can ascertain the bone bed is the result of high energy storm driven fluid flows reworking pre- existing bone/apatite rich deposits. Rare earth element analysis of the formations suggest that the Aust bone bed could well be derived from a bone bed similar to that at Westbury on Severn.

Typical lump of Aust bone bed. Upper surface, note the clay drape:
IMG_1794.jpg 

Lower Surface, green tinged from the Blue Anchor fmt :

IMG_1793.jpg 
Cross section:

IMG_1797.jpg 

The bones lying on the upper and lower surfaces are often easy to extract, those incorporated within the matrix require specialist tool work or a lucky hit with a hammer. The bone bed generally gets undermined and ends up projecting out of the cliff, occasionally slabs will then fall onto the beach. These slabs are usually quickly found and smashed to bits by visiting fossil bashers. The river/sea then distributes the bits all over the beach. The trick at Aust other than a good dose of luck is to get your eye in and know what you're looking for. I've seen people walk straight past great lumps of bonebed completely oblivious. My technique is to follow the cliff line initially looking for newly fallen stuff  then zig zag up and down the beach on the way back looking for older stuff.  My best finds were made years ago during a particularly wet and stormy winter which generated big slumps incorporating a lot of bonebed.

Hope this helps you in your search,

Pete.

 
 
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Matthew Myerscough
Hi Al, Pete,
Thank you both very much for your replies and photos. You've both got some awesome finds there. It's great to see pictures of the larger chunks of bone bed. Hoping to visit again in the next few weeks and get my eye in. I'm also hoping to explore the other side of the river as I've heard bones can be found near Sedbury sometimes. Would really like to find something big from a plesiosaur!
Thanks again
Matthew 
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P King Chef
If you haven't already have a look at this page.
https://www.discussfossils.com/post/aust-8029319?highlight=aust&trail=50
Pete

At work I have to make a lot of sacrifices.
It's one of the benefits of being a Druid.
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Dirty Pete

Matthew,
Sedbury cliff isn't very productive these days, the river is no longer actively eroding it and the lower slopes have stabilised and become thickly covered in trees, bushes etc. Very little new material is being released on to the beach/mudflat, so prepare to be disappointed. I just go down there to pick blackberries these days.

Pete
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