The Joy of Belemnites – An Easy Fossil to Find

Belemnites extinct members of the cephalopod class and consequently close relatives of extant animals such as squids and cuttlefish are often a young person’s introduction to the joys of fossil hunting.

Complete Belemnite fossils are exceptionally rare, although several Jurassic aged fossil specimens are known from southern England.  However, the part of the animal that is usually preserved as a fossil is a solid piece of calcite called the guard.  The guard was an element of the internal skeleton positioned towards the rear of the creature.  These distinctive bullet shaped fossils with a pointed end are easy to find in certain Jurassic marine sediments.  They often occur in great numbers, perhaps indicating how numerous these marine invertebrates were or how well preserved the guards are.  Indeed at Lyme Regis for example, some of the strata between the Cobb at Lyme and Charmouth are named after the number of Belemnite fossils found therein.

Fossil Belemnites from Lyme Regis

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The picture above shows a selection of Belemnite fossils found by members of the Everything Dinosaur team on the beach between Charmouth and Lyme Regis.  The pound coin provides scale.  The word Belemnite comes from the Greek for “dart” and looking at the picture above it is easy to see the reason for this name.  Finding Belemnite guards is relatively easy, they do stand out against the small, round pebbles and stones found on the foreshore and collecting them can be fun.  Everything Dinosaur team members have picked up over a dozen or so in just a few minutes of searching a small area.

We supply a model of a Belemnite.  This is a useful item as it allows us to illustrate where on the animal the guard would be located and helps to “bring to life” the fossils that young dinosaur fans have found.

To see the model of the Belemnite and dinosaur models: Dinosaur Toys – Dinosaur Models

The Model Belemnite available from Everything Dinosaur

Great model of a Belemnite

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

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