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Dear forum,

Please excuse my ignorance but my son and I went fossil hunting for the first time and found this at the entrance of the now flooded lime mines of Charlestown, Fife.

I was wondering whether any kind people of this forum could shine a light on exactly what they are and roughly when they might have lived.

Finally, this is something we really enjoyed and would like to do again. Are there any books or websites that you could recommend for helping with id and classification for beginners?

Thank you

Luke
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lukewarm
fossil 1.jpg 


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CurtKnap
Hi Luke and welcome to the forum.

From the detail I can see, it looks like the Carboniferous (approx 350 million years old) coral Aulophyllum fungites. A very good place to start looking at similar material is TqB's excellent Carboniferous corals thread on this forum in the British Fossils category - lots of great pics and discussion. Here's a quick link if you can't find the thread: https://www.discussfossils.com/post?id=8032312&pid=1297043892#post1297043892

Tarquin (TqB) will be able to confirm the ID if he sees this.

Regards,
Curt.
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TqB
Hi, Luke and welcome (and thanks for the plug, Curt!)

I agree with Curt's ID - it's quite a distinctive cross section.
Tarquin
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lukewarm
Thank you very much for your help!

350 million? That is absolutely mind-boggling.

Would it be a good idea to douse it in vinegar to see what else is inside or just should we just marvel at our first fossil?
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CurtKnap
You're welcome.

I wouldn't use vinegar as the coral is probably preserved in calcite, which will dissolve as well as the limestone. Just admire it for now. It does look like it would would polish well.
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WingedFIsh

Luke,

Glad you and your son enjoyed your fossil hunting trip and had success. Fife has a number of localities you can visit. Some are protected by Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) status. The Scottish Fossil Code is useful to help you understand the law and rules governing fossil collecting in Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage has a number of publications on Scotland's geology as does the British Geological Survey.  This website is also useful.

In terms of books Professor Nigel Trewin's books are very good and geared to both youngsters and adults alike.

Various geological societies in Scotland organise field trips for their members. Edinburgh based Geowalks also run guided trips and have included trips to Fife.

Hope this is helpful. 

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lukewarm
WingedFIsh wrote:

Luke,

Glad you and your son enjoyed your fossil hunting trip and had success. Fife has a number of localities you can visit. Some are protected by Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) status. The Scottish Fossil Code is useful to help you understand the law and rules governing fossil collecting in Scotland. Scottish Natural Heritage has a number of publications on Scotland's geology as does the British Geological Survey.  This website is also useful.

In terms of books Professor Nigel Trewin's books are very good and geared to both youngsters and adults alike.

Various geological societies in Scotland organise field trips for their members. Edinburgh based Geowalks also run guided trips and have included trips to Fife.

Hope this is helpful. 



Thank you, WingedFIsh!

I have since read over the Scottish fossil code and do not believe that I have fallen foul of any laws or ethical dilemmas. However, I will certainly consult the list of SSSIs before my next hunt.

The children in my class are very excited about seeing this ancient coral now that I understand what it is and how old it may be.

Thank you for the book recommendation. I have ordered Terwin's 2013 book Scottish Fossils and very much look forward to reading it.

Enjoy your evening!

Luke







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