August 27, 2013
A participant in an archaeological dig has discovered a rare fossil at Thrislington Quarry in Durham County, England, according to a report from The Northern Echo.
Ken Bradshaw, the man who found the artifact, was part of a group of 30 people participating in a fossil hunt and guided walk organized by the Limestone Landscape Partnership and hosted by Durham County Council, Natural England and quarry owners Lafarge-Tarmac.
Bradshaw discovered in a pile of marl slate the remains of a janassa bituminosa, a prehistoric creature resembling a stingray that would have lived about 250 million years ago during the Permian era near the coast of the Zechstein Sea.
“Geologists get excited about marl slate, it contains lots of remnants of fish and plants,” Bradshaw told The Northern Echo. “At first I thought I’d found a collection of seashells but on closer inspection I realised they were teeth of the Permian stingray and when I looked further I saw part of the left side of the janassa.”
Bradshaw noted that janassa fossils are rare to find, and he found the first at Thrislington Quarry.
The fossil is about 15 inches across the fins and more than 3 feet long. It will likely be used for education and could eventually be on display at a museum.
[Caption] Ken Bradshaw displays the janassa bituminosa fossil he discovered at the Thrislington Quarry in Durham County, England. (Photo: The Northern Echo)