Spotting Belemnites in Stone Floor Tiles

Fossils can be found in unusual places.  A few years ago, we reported on an initiative by Liverpool John Lennon Airport to encourage passengers to explore the various fossils that could be found entombed in the stone floor and the pillars of the concourse building.  As limestone is used in many construction projects, it is surprising where fossils of ancient life forms can be spotted.  For example, whilst in Germany, an Everything Dinosaur team member spotted a beautiful belemnite guard preserved in cross-section in a floor tile.

Belemnite Fossil Found in a Stone Floor Tile

Belemnite fossil found in a stone floor tile.

A cross-sectional impression of a belemnite guard preserved in the floor of a building.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

The term “belemnite” is derived from the Greek for “dart”.  Looking at the fossil preserved in the stone floor tile, it is easy to see the reason for the name of these Mesozoic cephalopods.  The guard is the internal skeleton of the belemnite, it consists of a solid piece of calcite and these fossils can be found in their hundreds in rocks dating from the Lower and Middle Jurassic.  However, they are also abundant in many Cretaceous marine clays.  The anterior portion of the guard (seen on the left of the photograph), would contain the phragmocone, the cone-shaped chambered shell that demonstrates that these nektonic animals were related to ammonites.  In many instances, the phragmocone is lost, leaving a “U” shaped hollow that can be seen in the picture (above).

Some Belemnite Fossils Collected from the “Jurassic Coast” (Dorset)

Some belemnit guard fossils, the coin shows scale.

Belemnite guard fossils from the “Jurassic Coast”.  The coin on the right of the picture shows scale.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

To read Everything Dinosaur’s article about fossil hunting around John Lennon airport: Fossil Hunting at John Lennon Airport (Liverpool).

A Model of a Belemnite

A model of a belemnite.

The new for 2020 CollectA Belemnite model.

Picture Credit: Everything Dinosaur

Given the amount of sedimentary rock used in buildings, you never know when you might be going on a fossil hunt.

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