Largest collection of marine fossils ever discovered in UK found using Google Earth

Site may have been unearthed by chance but is described by scientists as ‘exceptional,’ writes Sam Hancock

Wednesday 21 July 2021 07:11
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<p>Some of the preserved echinoderms, with stalked crinoids particularly prominent </p>

Some of the preserved echinoderms, with stalked crinoids particularly prominent

A pair of amateur palaeontologists have helped the Natural History Museum (NHM) uncover the UK’s biggest-ever rare marine fossil site, using Google Earth.

The finding of hundreds of samples, from the Middle Jurassic – 174 to 164 million years ago – will hopefully permit new research to go ahead that was never before possible due to the small number of samples held in collections, experts said.

In the treasure trove of fossils were feather stars and sea lilies, known respectively as stalk-less and stalked crinoids, plus Asteroidea starfish, all classified as rare because their skeletons quickly fall apart after death and require instant burial for preservation.

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