11:35am Wednesday 4th August 2010
By Adrianne Maslen
FOSSIL hunter Chris Pamplin didn’t even need to go searching for his latest extremely rare find – it was just lying on the sand at Charmouth.
Mr Pamplin, who leads fossil walks at Charmouth and Lyme Regis, was taking a family on a walk along east beach when he found a small bone from a 195-million-year-old dinosaur.
He later discovered from Lyme Regis Museum geologist Paddy Howe that it was a Scelidosaurus, a plant-eating armoured dinosaur that lived during the Early Jurassic Period.
Mr Pamplin, who has been a fossil hunting guide for 13 years, said: “It was just lying on the sand. Later in the day I bumped into Paddy Howe and he was adamant it was a Scelidosaurus and so was his friend Paul.
“They told me it was about the 30th vertebrae up from the tail and explained why they thought it was a Scelidosaurus. It’s a very small bone, only about one-inch long, but it hasn’t been worn by the sea.
“Only 10 Scelidosaurus have been identified over the last 200 years and only one has been found on the east beach at Charmouth, which was a partial one about 20 years ago.
“Part of the reason it’s unusual is that it’s been found further along the beach on the east side, where not very many have been found. They are mostly found at Black Venn.
“So if Paddy is right and it is a Scelidosaurus, it’s a very unusual find.
“It’s a little find but a significantly rare one, I think.”
Mr Pamplin was senior warden at Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre before becoming earth science advisor for the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site Team at Dorset County Council.
He said: “Paddy found some bits of one last year and that’s supposed to be number 10, but that was closer to Lyme Regis,” he said.
“It’s Charmouth’s own dinosaur and it’s not found anywhere else in the country.
“This bone might be from the same one that was found 20 years ago be- cause in terms of fossils that isn’t a very long time, but it might also be number 11.”
The fossil has now been recorded at Charmouth Heritage Coast Centre as an important find.
Mr Pamplin said: “They look after the register of scientifically-important finds, which is part of the Fossil Collecting Code of Conduct for Charmouth, so if people find something interesting they are supposed to register it.”
This is the rarest fossil Mr Pamplin has found and he will add it to his personal collection.
He said: “If I do decide to donate it I will give it to Lyme Regis Museum to add to the rest of the Scelidosaurus pieces there.”
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