Ichthyosaur interlude

During my recent journey into geology I sat in on a public drop-in session where David Gelsthorpe talked about a recent ichthyosaur acquisition collected by Howard Turner from the beach at Port Mulgrave, near Whitby.

20130827_135944The two sections shown above form part of the head and the jaw, and the bony eye socket can be clearly seen.  Other specimens were used to bring the animal to life – a more complete ichthyosaur (though sadly missing its paddles), a jaw complete with fearsome teeth, and examples of ichthyosaur diet.

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Ichthyosaur without a paddle.

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Teeth with fantastic textural detail – the red is iron (not blood).

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Internal cast of Belemnite.

Ichthyosaurs preyed on squid-like belemnites.  Claws from the end of belemnites’ tentacles have been found in regurgitated heaps along with ammonites.

The workshop was held in the Museum’s Collection Study Centre.  The group was small and informal so there was lots of opportunity to ask questions, get a really good look at the objects and chat to the others.  The only downside was the noise of visiting school parties echoing up from Nature’s Library below, but they were obviously having a great time too.

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