[Article]: Folkestone Fossil Beds (by Phil Eyden)


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Site Owner
May 30, 2000
TONMO.com Fossils Moderator Phil Eyden has provided the following article on Folkestone Fossil Beds.

Folkestone Fossil Beds

Thanks Phil for this excellent piece and its accompanying photos and illustrations. :notworth:

For more articles related to Cephalopod Fossils, visit our Fossils page.
Thanks chaps!

Went back to the site yesterday but had no luck whatsoever this time. Now it's starting to get warm the beach is getting picked over by weekend wanderers and the clay is drying out making decent specimens harder to spot. The bits I found were really dull! TONMO member Roy, on the other hand, found something absolutely stunning......it wasn't a cephalopod but is by far the best fossil I've seen in situ at Folkestone.

I won't reveal what it was just yet, that honour belongs to Roy. Hopefully we will see an image on his website soon.

Oh, by the way, this is me having more luck last month.
WhiteKiboko said:
is that a leather jacket under the vest you apparently swiped from the police/parking attendents/streetsweepers? :D

Er...yes leather indeed. It was cold that day you know, about ten degrees celsius. The hi-vis was reversed to obscure the logo, afterall we don't want everyone on the beach to know what government employees get up to on their day off!
Folkestone Surprise Find!!!

Hi all,

Thanks to Phil for an excellent guide to Folkestone. We found some excellent ammonites and a particularly special find...

... possibly a plesiosaur tooth! We're getting this confirmed shortly.

(See attached picture)

I've also added a page to my website at...


If I say that is a dog tooth this time, it will really be a marine reptile :P

Hoplitaceae, a European ammonite super-family that that is characterised by its highly ornamented, generally spiky form, small size and tubercles.

The family Placenticeratidae is a member of this superfamily, possibly descended from Anahoplites, they grow very large, and have small tubercles, and are very common in late cretaceous rocks of the western interior of North America.

Large Placenticerids being collected in Colorado
Architeuthoceras said:
If I say that is a dog tooth this time, it will really be a marine reptile :P

Hmm...ah well, one lives and learns I suppose. I feel a bit embarrassed about that one now! Actually that dog or wolf tooth was partially mineralised so it could well have been of Quaternary date, which sort-of makes it interesting.

I think this time the money is definitely on for a marine reptile, a large close up of the tooth is attached. There were no serrations on the edges and it was about an inch and a half long. Certainly fragmentary elasmosaurid plesiosaur fragments have been found in the area, a partial skeleton was collected in 1877 of Mauisaurus gardneri , though I'm not sure if that is still a valid name or not. I think ichthyosaur teeth are generally stubbier and more conical but I'll have to find some more pictures to compare.

Any opinions would be welcome.


the section on the Hoplitaceae was purely compiled from internet sources and a chart in Clarksons' book. If I've made any errors, please just shout and I'll alter the text accordingly.

Cheers, Phil
I was almost sure that last tooth was a mosasaur :oops: so I'll just let the vertebrate folks ID the new one.

On another forum, the question was asked if Hoplitaceae (maybe Hoplitoidea is a better name, aceae looks more like a plant suffix) was a strictly European taxa. I was just pointing out that there are many descendants in North America,

Hoplitidae, Neogastroplites, in the Early Cenomanian

Engonoceratidae, Engonoceras, Metengonoceras, Cenomanian

Placenticeratidae, Placenticeras, Hoplitoplacenticeras, Late Cenomanian to Campanian ?Maastrichtian

And there may be Albian representatives in NA, but I don't have any Albian marine deposits to look in, so I am not familiar with ammonites of that age.

I guess I should have posted this to the other forum, but I am not registered on it, and besides, TONMO is where everyone comes for information on cephalopods.

Sorry for the confusion Phil, don't change your article because of my ranting.
OK, it seems that we have got the ID on the tooth sorted out. As usual I was wrong, the tooth was not a plesiosaur but almost certainly a bizarre form of Cretaceous swordfish called Protosphyraena ferox. You can see a picture of a reconstruction here with another image of the tooth if you scroll down to about halfway:


(I give up with vertebrates! Too difficult......)
Just a quickie but following my morning devotion to Nammu, Goddess of the Primeval Sea, Creator of all Oceanic life forms and featured sitting astride a large Ammonite [Alledgedly the Famed Ammonite of UR] I had a thought regarding the Folkestone site.
Considering the rocky terrain and clay deposits would it be advisable to leave my squadron of War Chariots at the Local Chariot park or does Phil consider that it is in fact Chariot friendly terrain :bonk: ?
Hi Hittite Chariotmaster,

Glad to see there is another follower of Sharruma, 'the calf of Teshub' around here in East Kent. Actually, Hittite theology has been in the decline around here recently, though the local supporters do still cling to the old ways. I believe there is a large enclave in Aylesham, but that's another story.

It is interesting to note that your Warchariot is an ideal storage/collection engine for ammonites, note the ample room for storage and room for tools. A local Hittite palaeontologist has been spotted in the vicinity of Folkestone beach last summer and I took a quick snap of him collecting the 'Horns of Inaras', or 'Daughters of The Sea'. Perhaps I could arrange for you two to meet up for an expedition together?

By the way, there's a good fish-and-chip shop in Tontine Street.


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