"Walk Like a Walrus"

This amazing trail was found near the low-tide line! It displays the fossilized fin-impressions and body drag marks made by a giant fish known as a Rhizodont.

The section shown here is actually a continuation of the famous ‘giant trackway’ that was originally discovery in 1964. It was first described in 1978 as a Baropezia, the track of an enormous four-legged tetrapod. Further study of these trackways called into question this interpretation. Scientists now believe this particular trail was made by a very big fish that capable of lifting itself from the water and crawling about on its front fins like a walrus!

We are exited about finding this additional section of the same trail a mere 100 feet away from the original because the new example is not eroded whatsoever. The original discovery section has been exposed to the ravages of the tide for over 50 years, and has deteriorated. The new example is so fresh we can fully redescribe it.

The newly-discovered trail of a fish that could lift itself from the water and crawl on its front fins, much like a walrus.

"What do Giant Fish Eat?"

One of the strangest finds to ever come off Blue Beach is this irregularly-shaped lump of siltstone filled with bones. It was discovered in layers that were part of a deeper-water layer – thin shales with very little bone content. Bones do not accumulate together by normal physical processes in deep water environments, so how did they come together in this jumble? The answer must be that they accumulated together via some kind of biological process.

One suggestion was that it is a coprolite, or, fossilized poo! Further examination showed that the bottom is highly rounded instead of flattened as one would expect of a large, deep-water coprolite.

It is therefore suggested to be a coelolite – the fossil of a complete stomach or intestinal tract with contents still inside fossilized in the process of being digested!

There is only one likely candidate for who this stomach could have belonged to – Letognathus, the big fish whose name means “jaws of death, annihilation, or ruin”.

The fossilized stomach contents of a big fish includes its last good meal - one tetrapod leg and several dozen spiny-sharks.
The fossilized stomach contents of a big fish includes its last good meal - one tetrapod leg and several dozen spiny-sharks.

Walking Towards the Future!

One of the finest Blue Beach discoveries is this impressive tetrapod (four-legged animal) trackway. The track-maker was an amphibian about four feet in length, one of the larger examples of tracks from Blue Beach.

Despite their larger size, these tracks probably belong to the group Palaeosauropus, which is known mostly by hundreds of smaller examples. This specimen therefore shows something important about the total size variation and population makeup of the tetrapods, giving us a better idea of what the tetrapod community looked like.

In all, we see a minimum of 5 track types at Blue Beach. By collecting a large sample set of more than 2000 specimens, we are capable of understanding these tetrapods like never before.

This track has been collected and now resides in the BBFM collection.

  This Palaeosauropus trackway is a very recent addition to the collection of about 2000 specimens now housed in the BBFM.