An ammonite was an marine animal, extinct now, but related to Nautilus – a present day cephalopod mollusc with a coiled shell. It swam along the seabed using tentacles (like an octopus’s) that extended from the opening of the shell.
The photograph above shows a typical crushed ammonite shell fossil that you might come across at Kimmeridge Bay. It is colourful but not very distinct.
If you want to find out more about local fossils and palaeontology, the Dorchester County Museum has an interesting collection of local fossils, interpretive displays, and running video presentations about the Jurassic Coast. Click here for the Dorset County Museum Web Site.
For more information about Cretaceous and Jurassic fossils have a look at British Mesozoic Fossils published by the Trustees of the British Musem (Natural History), Publication No. 703, ISBN 10: 1898298734.
A useful book for the geology of this area is Melville R. V. and Freshney, E. C. (1982) British Regional Geology – The Hampshire Basin and adjoining areas, Institute of Geological Sciences, NERC, HMSO, ISBN 0 11 884203X.
A good web site about the geology of Kimmeridge Bay is the academic guide written by Ian West of the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton University.
For more information about Kimmeridge Bay itself see the Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve Web Site.
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