Digging for dinosaurs

I had a nice weekend in ‘the field’ one way and another. Saturday was spent with a team from Portsmouth doing a little prospecting and mapping of a quarry in Oxfordshire. It’s an SSSI and a place that has been subject to illegal digging in the past so I won’t be saying exactly where we were, but it’s Middle Jurassic in age and known to have produced dinosaur material. Indeed it continues to produce dinosaur material as I found the above element within about 5 minutes of arriving, though sadly that was it. We did find some isolated (non-dinosaurian) teeth as well and some samples have gone back to the lab for processing and to look for microfossils, so more interesting bits may yet turn up.

Sunday was spent down on Thursley heath in the south of the UK, with a friend. It’s a great place to spot various dragon and damselflies and they were out in droves. We saw probably a dozen or more species in just a couple of hours including mating pairs, those hunting and one that while emerged and flying, still had the emargo case still stuck onto it. The combination of sandy heat and acidic bogs means you get a odd mix of wildlife – there’s not too many birds and no amphibians, but tons of insects and a good number of reptiles. Last time out here there were an absolute ton of lizards and a very large grass snake, this time I was lucky enough to see my first adder – the U.K.’s only poisonous snake and an animal that’s far from common.

4 Responses to “Digging for dinosaurs”

  1. 1 Tim Donovan 24/07/2012 at 1:37 pm

    What’s that, a skink? I guess global warming is kicking in, if you see a good number of reptiles at 50 degrees north.

  2. 3 Mark Robinson 25/07/2012 at 4:00 am

    I take it that SSSI is a site of special scientific significance?

    And “emargo” is a recently emerged imago? 😉

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