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Rosco
Hi All, found this vertebra in the oxford clay at Kings Dyke. I think its Ichthyosaur but someone has also suggested it could be plesiosaur. what do you think? no nutritive foraminae are visible but the sides of the centrum where they are generally found in dorsal centra is encrusted with matrix, and I don't want to risk cleaning more off than I already have because its a bit fragile..


also there are what look like teeth marks on one side, they were there already when I dug the vertebra up


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prep01
Hello Ross, yes it is Ichthyosaur and not a bad size either! I suggest soaking it in either acetic acid (5% or a bit of Calgon) but only until the matrix loosens and scrubs off with a toothbrush, then thoroughly rinse in water and allow to dry in air. These are usually very hard and don't need preserving.
Colin Huller
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Brittle Star
Hi,

I would put it in a bowl with a bit of washing up liquid and boiling water, clay should break up, wait 24hrs then give a bit of a brush. Resort to Calgon if that does not work. Sorry but I have never had to resort to chemicals with clay.
JW

 Never ask a star fish for directions
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Andrew Martin David Marsh
Hi, I could be wrong, but I think this is plesiosaur rather than ichthyosaur. Ichthyosaur verts tend to be shallower. Very nice find!

Andrew M
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prep01
Andrew, It might be my eyes, but it looks more ichthy than plesi to me - almost a 'hybrid' but ...
Colin Huller
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Rosco
Hi, thanks for the suggestions. I already bathed it for a short while in vinegar but no more will come off and I don't want to risk breaking too big a lump off 😉 I'd be mortified if I went too far.

I think I can live with it being ichthyosaur, possibly plesiosaur 😉

The 3 or 4 diagonal scratches look interesting don't they, can imagine a predator lunching on it
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prep01
If you're up my way pop it in to me
Colin Huller
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Rosco
Thanks Colin
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ophthalmosaur

Hi. Its an Ophthalmosaurus vertebra. Scrape shelly material and clay based material off with a new throwaway knife. Do this under magnification if possible. Its possible to remove minute fragments of shell and matrix this way using the tip of the knife. Hold knife obliquely to the fossil surface so as not to damage that surface. Then immerse fossil in hot 3% solution of acetic acid for a minute or so. Then scrub in hot water with a stiff toothbrush with a bit of detergent added to the water. Repeat the process if necessary. 

Paul


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