Bivalve shell

The specimen that describes a species

This fossil is a holotype – the specimen on which this species is described. If someone thought that the classification of Pinna sandsfootensis was incorrect, they would start by examining this specimen in Dorchester County Museum. When a new species is described, it is often given a name that reflects the locality from which it was found, which is the case here. But it could also be based on a distinguishing feature or a person, typically the collector who found it.

Pinna lived in soft sediments with only the tip of the broadest part of its shell protruded above a muddy seafloor, just like a razor shell does today.

Find out more about bivalves on the molluscs pages.

Common name

Bivalve shell

Scientific name

Pinna sandsfootensis


Molluscs > Bivalves


Corallian Group, Upper Calcareous Grit

Time period

Upper Jurassic


158 million years

Where found

Sandsfoot Castle

Found by



Dorset County Museum, Dorchester

Accession number