Author: Lucy Culkin

Inspired by what you can find on the Jurassic Coast after watching BBC4 Beach Live The Jurassic Coast Revealed?

Well, let’s talk about fossils from the sea found here on our coast- for example this near-perfect brittle star which comes from the ‘Starfish Bed’ between Eype and Seatown ( also known as Palaeocoma egertoni).

Hundreds of similar fossils have been recovered from huge fallen blocks on the beach for more than two centuries. Many, like this one, have some or all legs pointing or trailing in one direction. This suggests that there was a current flowing across the sea floor when these animals were buried.

There are also exceptions to the rule. Some brittle stars are preserved with little alignment of the legs, or occasionally with four legs trailing and one pointing in the opposite direction. Brittle stars today can move across the sea bed with their legs arranged in that way.

The starfish bed is typical of many features in geology which offer different, and sometimes even contradictory evidence. This is a challenge for geologists when trying to understand and interpret past environments.

It has been speculated that a storm, or even a tsunami, smothered a whole community of brittle stars in a single event, capturing a moment in time about 180 million years ago.

To find out more go to our fossil database where you can search for any locally found fossil and discover stories from millions of years ago…

Fossil brittle stars on display at Bridport Museum

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