The weekend before the first attack, we did another run to Walton beach to hunt for prehistoric shark teeth. Not such a big or impressive haul this time - more broken ones - but still a goodly number and including a couple of painted topshells, pretty clam shell, and a piece of mother of pearl that caught my eye.
While we were there we popped into the recently built Naze Centre, which had a handy display of fossils that helped us with identification. Apparently the big tooth hubs found last week belongs to a mackerel shark, which can grow up to 9m (30 foot). He wasn't too impressed by the name...until he looked it up and found it includes great white, thresher, and mako sharks.
Our smaller ones belong to sand sharks - smaller but nothing to be sneezed at when they could reach 3.5m (12 foot). The size and shape of the teeth depends on where in the jaw they sit (and of course the size of the shark). No mention or any sign of crocodile teeth in the display case but they were mentioned as being present in the Naze's prehistoric past.
|Shanklin Beach, Isle of Wight
|One of the most common and easiest to find fossils - molluscs and sponges
all jumbled together.
Island Gems in the beautiful Godshill. Felicity, or Flick as she asked us to call her, was full of information and entertaining (though if I'm honest, I was disappointed at not finding anything especially exciting. I knew we wouldn't find ammonites on that particular beach, but it was listed as a fossil hotspot. I guess I didn't have the eye for it). We did find a few at Brook Bay though, as well as seeing the famous iguanadon footcasts.
|Clear three toe footcast, but if you look closely at the nearest toe, you might just be able to make out the smaller cast of an iguanadon juvenile that stepped in the adult's footprint too.
|Echinoid spine probably Tylocidaris clavigera. According to Flick,
our fossil hunting guide, if you use a bit of bluetack or plasticine
to take an imprint, it comes out looking like the old style Coke bottle.
|Left: sea sponge interior. Right: sponge outline.
|The black specks (which are also shiny) are fish scale, teeth and bones.
|Not fossils but minerals - Left: Iron pyrites (more commonly known
as fools gold), Right: marcasite, used in jewelry. The sparkle doesn't
really show in this photo.
Youngest was also happy to find a small geode - pictured above. You can just about see the sparkle of crystal. As for ammonites...well, sadly I had to settle for buying some from Jurassic Jim. Le sigh.
|Large Morrocan ammonite (about hand size)
|Small polished ammonites.
Of course, fossil hunting wasn't the only thing we did but I think that's enough photos for one week.
|Our leopard gecko Yoshi.
So while we're talking dinosaurs...I think I can blame my childhood dinosaur books and a continuing interest for my fondness for reptiles. After all, the name comes from the New Latin 'dinosaurus', from Greek 'deinos' fearful + 'sauros' lizard. I feel sorry for reptiles. They get a bad rep in real life and generally in fiction too. So far I have two reptilian races in my main series - the saurians on Metraxi, and the as yet lesser featured chelonians from Camullan (though some readers might recall mention of archivist Teo from Gethyon and Keir). I've tried to give them a more diverse role, from the warmongering R'hellek to my misled saurian queen T'rill, and loyal captain S'rano.
|R'hellek, Minister of War (copyright Pippa Jay).
I haven't even started catching up on things from my holiday - this post is only the first job of many - but Reunion and Unexpected are both with separate editors. Revived remains untouched even though I printed it out and took it on holiday with me - I was too busy having fun elsewhere! Keir's Shadow is scheduled to go for assessment in July, with my overhaul still only 32% done at this time. Eep!
|The biggest pom pom I've ever made, to give eldest
the fluffiest, hugest bunny tail ever.
|A-viking we will go
How have you coped without my chook pics?! I don't think they have any concept about absence, but my girls seemed pleased to see me, or at least to be let out in the garden after a week of being restricted to their run, though not so happy at the stiff breeze ruffling their feathers.
|Left to right: Scoop, Effie and Kyru