Fossil Polishing Demonstration at Museum

Members of the public have the opportunity to take part in fossil polishing and learn the skills of fossil preparation next weekend (18th and 19th May), as experts will be demonstrating their skills and knowledge at the Lyme Regis Museum (Dorset, southern England).

If you have ever wondered how Ammonite fossils are prepared so that all the exquisite details of their internal structures are revealed, then pop down to the Lyme Regis Museum next weekend and meet up with renowned fossil experts Brandon Lennon and Chris Andrew who will be demonstrating how Ammonite fossils should be polished.  The fossil polishing team, recently attended the Lyme Regis Fossil Festival and over the course of the three day event they managed to prepare and polish in excess of 700 Ammonite specimens.  For a small fee, members of the public can have a go at preparing their very own Jurassic specimen and if they are lucky they will be able to purchase part of the amazing legacy of the famous Jurassic coast.

Brandon and Chris Being Kept Very Busy at the Recent Fossil Festival

Brandon Lennon (background) and Chris Andrew (foreground) working with Ammonites.

Brandon Lennon (background) and Chris Andrew (foreground) working with Ammonites.

Picture Credit: Brandon Lennon

Lyme Regis fossil expert Brandon commented:

“Sometimes members of the public are surprised that there are still fossils to be found, after all, fossils have been collected from this part of the Dorset coast for more than two hundred years.  The reason that we keep discovering fossils along this part of the Jurassic coast is because the cliffs are constantly eroding.  Storms and high tides keep revealing fossils”.

Ammonites and their relatives the Goniatites are an extinct group of cephalopods (Molluscs) related to today’s squid and cuttlefish.  Ammonite shells were made of aragonite (a form of calcium carbonate).  They were abundant in the shallow seas of the Mesozoic and diversified into a huge range of different species.  Ammonites are an important group of fossils and help scientists to age rock strata due to their biostratigraphic distribution.

The fossil preparation demonstrations start at 10am and run through to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday (18th and 19th May) and all are welcome to take part in real “hands-on” science.

A spokesperson from Everything Dinosaur stated:

“This is a rare opportunity to pick the brains of local fossil experts in the Lyme Regis area and to learn some of the skills of fossil preparation and fossil identification.”

After a number of recent rock falls, there should be plenty of specimens available, although members of the public are advised to heed the advice of the local authorities when walking close to the cliffs or indeed taking any of the coastal paths.  Many of the cliffs remain unstable and the threat of landslides and rock falls requires visitors to this part of the south coast to take care.

To get the best out of a visit to the Lyme Regis or Charmouth areas Everything Dinosaur recommends taking a guided tour of the beaches with a local fossil expert.

For more information about guided fossil walks: Guided Fossil Walks

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