Fossils and Prehistoric Animals.

RedRidingHood

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Disclaimer; This may be a subject which could quite possibly be touchy towards certain people. I'm not out to cause arguments, disprove, argue or even debate. I aim to merely tell a story and that's all.

So, Every kid grew up fascinated with the idea of Dinosaurs, Especially those born in the 90's with the addition of the wildly successful, And now dead to me 'Jurassic Park' franchise which was followed by other documentaries such as 'Walking With Dinosaurs'. As a kid atleast, I was wildly fascinated by these monstrous lizard like creatures. However, Jurassic Park is wildly inaccurate and unfortunately, so are a lot of the other programmes aimed towards a younger audience just like 'Walking with Dinosaurs'. Unlike most children, My fascination with Dinosaurs never faded and only grew. Don't get me wrong, It was never something I thought about 24/7, Something I was wildly passionate about but if the chance to ever talk, watch or get to see anything regarding Dinosaurs ever came up, I was the first to jump on it in awe. Atleast, This was until a few years ago.

About 14 years ago, My grandfather (For some reason) gave my father an awkwardly shaped circular 'rock', I'd have been about 10 at the time, And to say I was immediately fascinated by this 'rock' would be a massive overstatement... I mean seriously, What children are fascinated by rocks? I wasn't, Nor was my father apparently, He decided he'd turn this 'Rock' into an ash tray :rolleyes: Regardless, About 4-5 years ago I went through a 'Dinosaur Boom' as I like to call it, It all started when I was watching some palaeontologists extract a prehistoric marine reptile on Youtube. As I was watching the video, I noticed that some of the oddly shaped circular 'bones' looked very similar to the piece my grandfather gave to my father all those years ago. I can't quite remember what exactly the guys on Youtube were extracting, But I believe it was a Plesiosaur. Something along the lines of what the 'Loch Ness Monster' is supposed to look like. Long neck, 4 flippers, & a tail. So, I decided to find the rock. After about an hour of ransacking just about every part of the house, I eventually stumbled back upon this dirty old rock my grandfather gave my father all those years back. I immediately realised, From watching these videos that it wasn't just a 'rock'. The first thing I immediately noticed was the rock had an extremely porous texture, Yet remained very, very smooth to touch. Secondly, the indentation on both side of the rock just weren't natural, But the dead give away was atop of the rock, You suddenly hit a 1 inch crest with an indentation straight through the middle. If you put a row of these together you could easily balance a pipe on these indentations.

So, I spent about 2 hours cleaning it up as it'd had about 14 years of abuse to it's name and it cleaned up pretty nice. At this point it's apparent that it's a vertebrae based on the video I'd just watched a few hours ago but I wanted confirmation, And I'd looked online at different aquatic vertebrae for a few hours, And basically confirmed that is exactly what it is, But which species? I'd asked about on a couple of forums, And a subreddit on Fossils and the general conclusion is that the fossil I owned was from an Ichthyosaur, Another Marine Reptile just like the Plesiosaur that I'd watch get extracted just a few hours prior on Youtube. That was cool and all, But what really hit me is that Ichthyosaurs died out about 94,000,000, Or in short 94 Million years ago. That is insane, The rock I'm holding was once a living thing, Just like me and you. But it's dead, It no longer exists, None of them do. There is nothing like it, And there will never again be nothing like it. All that remains of this species is a cast of a few of its bones, replaced by minerals and in turn turn't into rock form. Thats insane, Incredible. And that's what locked me into this wild journey.

Thanks to childrens TV Shows, Movies & books, lots of kids including myself were fed so much misinformation about Dinosaurs, a few examples being that 'Volcano's killed Dinosaurs' 'They're all lizard like creatures with scaly skin' & the good old 'ALL Dinosaurs are now extinct'. This is all so untrue, And so far from the truth and the history behind uncovering all of what we know today is actually an incredible story that.. Well I'm not going to get into, Because you'd be reading this all day so instead I'll suggest a couple of books for you to indulge in if you're an avid reader.

So, During my 'Dinosaur boom' as I like to call it, My general goal was to find out as much information about Dinosaurs as possible. It started with stupid questions really, Firstly, How did Dinosaurs become? Where did they go? Why am I stuck with a pet dog and not a pet velociraptor? What killed them? Why? And boy, did these stupid few questions lead me down a rabbit hole, A rabbit hole that'd take me through a journey of exciting topics ranging from how earth was formed, to how the first water found earth, how oxygen was created, which in turn created life, And how all this in conjunction with evolution created every living species around us to this day, Including ourself. All this, starting out 3.77 billion years ago. Then how Dinosaurs became, And later ruled the earth for over 120 Million years, to the KT Extinction, To Fossils & Paleontology, which then led me to the insane story of 'The Bone Wars' or the 'Great Dinosaur Rush', To Geology, Then back to Evolution, The Rise of Mammals, to us. How we then become to dominate the world, Just like Dinosaurs did. Then back to our clade, Homo. Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus, And so, so many more 'Human like' species that existed long before we did, And some that existed at the same time as us but unfortunately did not make it.

Honestly, It's been a long 4 or 5 years of learning that's thrown a lot of things into perspective for me as silly as that sounds. I look at life differently now, I appreciate things more and I'm generally a happier person. Again, Don't get me wrong, It's all a lot to take in and I simply don't have the intelligence to understand and take in even a tiny bit of it. I still find a lot of it very, very confusing however I'm still compelled and fascinated by it all. The world we live in is crazy, And it was crazy even before we existed, And will undoubtedly be crazy when we cease to exist as shown by the numerous extinction events that have happened in the past. As Dr Ian Malcom would put it in the original Jurassic Park; 'Life Finds A Way'



And that's the story of how a single rock ruined my life 😁

Book Suggestions;

"The Rise And Fall Of Dinosaurs" By Steve Brusatte.

In this book, You're introduced to the Permian Period where Dinosaurs simply dont exist. This chapter is then cut short by 'The Great Dying' which inevitably ends the Permian Extinction then leads into the Triassic after a recovery period. A time where Dinosaurs start off no larger than dogs and are the hunted. It follows you through different parts of the continent of Pangea all the way to the end of the Cretaceous where Dinosaurs have evolved from dog-sized animals into a range of different species, Some as small as todays birds, whereas others grew to reach upwards of 100 metres, Followed by weights of 100 tonnes. Or predatory theropod dinosaurs that have the largest known bite force known to man, Doubling that of todays Saltwater crocodile which holds the largest living animals bite force. All the way to the K/T Extinction which ended the rule of the Dinosaurs and paved way for the rise of mammals, And later on us.

Secondly

"Why Evolution is True" By Jerry E Coyne.
This is the second book I read after 'The Rise And Fall Of Dinosaurs'. As much as it was a great book, It left me wanting to learn more about Evolution. I think this book is the most 'Explain Like I'm 5' book on Evolution available. While it's in depth, It also makes great arguments which allow for better understanding of Evolution. Also covers a range topics including 'What is Evolution' 'Written in the rocks' 'Remnants: Vestiges, Embryos, And Bad Design', 'The Geography of life' 'How Sex Drives Evolution' And my favourite chapter 'What about us?'

If you're interested and unable to afford or even don't want to invest in these books, I'd be happy to lend you any of these 2 books.

*Also If anybody is interested, Mentioned animals pictured below. Also 'The Rock' is below.*
 

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ukzero1

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Not a fossil or a prehistoric animal, but interesting none the less. About 12 or 13 years ago, on a night session at Smeatons Lakes (we had a caravan there) , I was poking around the bank-side looking for a few worms and came across this, a leaf shaped flint arrowhead. The people at Newark Archeological group or club had a look at it and dated it to around 6500 BC. A stone axe head was also found by another angler close to one of the other lakes, (Carp Lake,) a couple of years before I found this.


Arrowhead.JPG
 
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RedRidingHood

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Not a fossil or a prehistoric animal, but interesting none the less. About 12 or 13 years ago, on a night session at Smeatons Lakes (we had a caravan there) , I was poking around the bank-side looking for a few worms and came across this, a leaf shaped flint arrowhead. The people at Newark Archeological group or club had a look at it and dated it to around 6500 BC. A stone axe head was also found by another angler close to one of the other lakes, (Carp Lake,) a couple of years before I found this.


View attachment 88690

Definitely cool, It's crazy to think that these types of crafted items were peoples lifelines, paired with quality hunting skills thousands of years ago. Made no doubt sitting by a fire en mass just during their downtime. We visited a place when I was young which was rich for little bits like this, Obviously you don't find them everywhere but some good archaeological finds were made on site. Can't remember exactly where it was but they also had a little shop / museum on site where they'd sell stuff like this. Thanks for sharing Ukzero!
 

OldTaff

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My brother-in-law is an evolutionary-developmental biologist & palaeobiologist lecturing at the University of Southampton.

His work is fascinating and we have often done fossil walks along the Jurassic coast - our respective sons are both dinosaur fanatics through his infectious enthusiasm for the subject.
 

Wise Owl

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I like Old Fossils, some if agitated come back to life :oops:;)
 

commieboy257

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evolution? heresy! burn him!
I admire your fascination and patience in researching your interest, it obviously brings you great pleasure so keep at it.
Interestingly there are scientists who have come down on the side of creationism and apparently give a very plausible scientific reasoning for it.
not read them myself but perhaps they may give either greater substance or depth to your beliefs and understandings or cement them even further.
I think it's healthy to challenge our own 'certainties' and hold them up in the light of reason.
 

62tucker

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Loads of fossils in the rocks up north east coast. Whin sill rock I think it is.
 

bezzer

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evolution? heresy! burn him!
I admire your fascination and patience in researching your interest, it obviously brings you great pleasure so keep at it.
Interestingly there are scientists who have come down on the side of creationism and apparently give a very plausible scientific reasoning for it.
not read them myself but perhaps they may give either greater substance or depth to your beliefs and understandings or cement them even further.
I think it's healthy to challenge our own 'certainties' and hold them up in the light of reason.

Flat Earth?
 

RedhillPhil

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I have a passing interest in dinosaurs and read the Steve Brusette book last year. The other fascinating book of thirty years previously is "The hot blooded dinosaurs" by Adrian Desmond.
 

bluemack

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Some years ago i bought a ton of cotswold stone for the garden, in amongst the stones were hundreds of fossils of
long dead sea creatures some of which i kept and still have,some were in perfect condition and very clearly identifiable.
Since then i have done a lot of garden work with my neighbour, and surprisingly most people ask for stones without
fossils ( i have no idea why).
A lot of them were cone shaped(much like a dunces hat) ,about 2 inches long and black,i looked these up on the net and found they
were ink pouches from ancient squid !!
Apparently the cotswolds and probably most of the country was under water back then and the creatures were left behind by the
receding water,what does baffle me is why there are fossils in some stone but not in others,a fascinating subject though. (y)
 

62tucker

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Some years ago i bought a ton of cotswold stone for the garden, in amongst the stones were hundreds of fossils of
long dead sea creatures some of which i kept and still have,some were in perfect condition and very clearly identifiable.
Since then i have done a lot of garden work with my neighbour, and surprisingly most people ask for stones without
fossils ( i have no idea why).
A lot of them were cone shaped(much like a dunces hat) ,about 2 inches long and black,i looked these up on the net and found they
were ink pouches from ancient squid !!
Apparently the cotswolds and probably most of the country was under water back then and the creatures were left behind by the
receding water,what does baffle me is why there are fossils in some stone but not in others,a fascinating subject though. (y)
The gravel we got was full of sort of shell fossils etc. We were told it’s from old gravel river beds but from the sea. 🤷‍♂️
 

NoCarpPlease

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My degree specialism (over 30 years ago) was population genetics - which is the study of the cellular mechanism and mathematics that powers evolution.
Having known many biologists over the years - some of whom are religious - I have yet to meet one who does not accept that Darwinian evolution is a real process.

the Wiki page has some interesting stats - although there is a bit of mixing of views on "evolution" and "humans evolved from earlier animals". The latter was a key argument in the 19th century discussions.

I found the correlation between political affiliation and acceptance of evolution in the USA interesting as well.
 

NoCarpPlease

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Some years ago i bought a ton of cotswold stone for the garden, in amongst the stones were hundreds of fossils of
long dead sea creatures some of which i kept and still have,some were in perfect condition and very clearly identifiable.
Since then i have done a lot of garden work with my neighbour, and surprisingly most people ask for stones without
fossils ( i have no idea why).
A lot of them were cone shaped(much like a dunces hat) ,about 2 inches long and black,i looked these up on the net and found they
were ink pouches from ancient squid !!
Apparently the cotswolds and probably most of the country was under water back then and the creatures were left behind by the
receding water,what does baffle me is why there are fossils in some stone but not in others,a fascinating subject though. (y)
Most sedimentary rocks were laid down on ancient sea beds - and due to the inherent layered structure are useful for masonry.

A lot of the cotswold area limestones and marlstones are jurassic in time period.
In some ways it's amazing how few fossils there are in the rocks - given how many organisms were dying and falling to the sea floor!

Anything pre-cambrian is very unlikely to have detectable fossils in it.
Some of the Highlands bedrock is amongst the oldest exposed rock on earth - lewisian Gneiss is 1.7 to 3 Billion years old - although that is metamorphic igneous rock, rather than sedimentary.
 

RedRidingHood

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My brother-in-law is an evolutionary-developmental biologist & palaeobiologist lecturing at the University of Southampton.

His work is fascinating and we have often done fossil walks along the Jurassic coast - our respective sons are both dinosaur fanatics through his infectious enthusiasm for the subject.
Awesome. A dream of mine to visit the Jurassic Coast and I'll certainly go one day. The place is FULL of interesting fossils, Incredible specimens are found every year. Heres a video of a guy extracting an Icthyosaur there Not sure what the regulations are on digging up something along these lines, I'm sure you'd need a license of sorts? :unsure:

I have a passing interest in dinosaurs and read the Steve Brusette book last year. The other fascinating book of thirty years previously is "The hot blooded dinosaurs" by
What was your thoughts on it Phil? I loved it, great read. Haven't read the book you've suggested, But it's only about a £10.00. Might give it a shot!
Some years ago i bought a ton of cotswold stone for the garden, in amongst the stones were hundreds of fossils of
long dead sea creatures some of which i kept and still have,some were in perfect condition and very clearly identifiable.
Since then i have done a lot of garden work with my neighbour, and surprisingly most people ask for stones without
fossils ( i have no idea why).
A lot of them were cone shaped(much like a dunces hat) ,about 2 inches long and black,i looked these up on the net and found they
were ink pouches from ancient squid !!
Apparently the cotswolds and probably most of the country was under water back then and the creatures were left behind by the
receding water,what does baffle me is why there are fossils in some stone but not in others,a fascinating subject though. (y)
Belemnites? I live just down the road from Huntstanton, More specifically 'Old Huntstanton' which is famous for it's colourful rock formations. It's incredibly rich in what you've just described, With the odd other fossils being found.


I have heard a few times `what is the point of history`? In my book it is the greatest subject of them all.
Whats the point in anything though? A game of Football, Rugby, Tennis or even Football? To some History is a past time, an interest, hobby & fascination. To others it's more than that, a job that helps us understand things that're pretty important. Evolution for instance, Cataclysmic events, the effects & recovery periods of said events.

My degree specialism (over 30 years ago) was population genetics - which is the study of the cellular mechanism and mathematics that powers evolution.
Having known many biologists over the years - some of whom are religious - I have yet to meet one who does not accept that Darwinian evolution is a real process.

the Wiki page has some interesting stats - although there is a bit of mixing of views on "evolution" and "humans evolved from earlier animals". The latter was a key argument in the 19th century discussions.

I found the correlation between political affiliation and acceptance of evolution in the USA interesting as well.
I'm still very, very ill-equipped for a debate on the subject but some things are just hard to otherwise explain without backing it up with solid evidence which is near enough impossible for the latter party.

Whales still retaining a pelvis, or leg bones. The same with snakes. Babies being born with 'ape like tails', The constant battle against certain diseases such as HIV due to them becoming increasingly immune to drugs. We even conduct live experiments with bacteria, watch the reproduction process and how it differs over time. Even then, We have Darwins Finches and most recently the case on the 'Italian Wall Lizard'

 

Trogg

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One of my favourite arguments has always been "what came first the chicken or the egg" and when i say "the egg" they always ask the age old "but how could the egg be first if the chicken was needed to lay it" the fun begins because people cannot grasp my explanation.

Birds are the dinosaurs, dinosaurs laid eggs, the chicken is a descendant of the dinosaur, so egg came before the chicken because the chicken hadn't evolved at the point of the first egg laid by its ancestor.
 
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