Lower Carboniferous Cephalopods from the Castleton Area - Derbyshire


Jun 25, 2004
Hello All

Well, any plans I had today for venturing out have been shelved due to snow. Woke up at 7am this morning and looked out of the curtains - despite heavy snow forcast last night there was nothing. Great, another hour in bed and off to the pit. Looked out of curtains at 8am - blizzard and and it hasn't stopped since. Never mind, its given me the opportunity to dig a few more dead cephs out of the cupboard, dust off the camera and take a few more pics. Bit of a change of period for this selection from the usual Middle/Upper Lias stuff. These are from the Lower Carboniferous Limestone of Castleton, Visean age.

Firstly Orthocones - fragmentary specimens but seem to be differnt species by the shape of the septa (I'm no expert on lower carb cephs). The big one's about 3 inches and the smaller one about 1 inch. Note the nice little gastropod near the big one.



  • conv_302510.jpg
    103.4 KB · Views: 143
  • conv_302511.jpg
    81.7 KB · Views: 137
  • conv_302512.jpg
    84.6 KB · Views: 149
Next batch - Gonitatites. Again I'm not sure as to species but one has the classic fat Goniatite shape (about 1 inch) while the other (just over 1cm) is more platycone (?) and has a keel.


  • conv_288873.jpg
    90.3 KB · Views: 131
  • conv_288874.jpg
    96.1 KB · Views: 129
Gonitatites???? My palaeo prong has let me down again.

Lastly a naturally cross sectioned Goniatite showing the siphuncle (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong) and next to it lies a trilobite pygidium. Goniatite is about 2 inches.

Hope you like them

Now I haven't attached the pictures - it must the arctic conditions outside getting to me. Here's another attempt.



  • conv_288875.jpg
    146.8 KB · Views: 140
  • conv_288876.jpg
    79 KB · Views: 157
Great fossils Andy :thumbsup: The orthocones are probably Pseudorthocerids, the globular goniatite probably Goniatites (used here as a catch-all genus) and the oxycone maybe Merocanites, the last one is a coiled nautiloid. Just preliminary ID's :oops:

One would need to see suture patterns and surface sculpture on the ammonoids, and shell shape and ornament of the coiled nautiloid, and ornament and siphuncle cross section of the orthocones for a more specific ID. Or a few more weeks study :wink:

Thanks for posting them, it is snowing here too, gave me a nice exercise.
Hi Kevin

Thanks for the info. I'd got goniatites in mind for that one aswell. The small flat one does seem to have faint ribbing on the inner whorls and you may be right about the sulcus. I have seen examples before in museum collections but the name escapes me.

Manchester museum used to have a great collection of lower carb material from this area on display - you could find something be it brachiopod, trilobite or ceph, match it up against what was on display et voila, easy identification. Unfortunately the geology galleries were modernised a few years ago and the lower carb stuff suffered in the process.:mad: Now we have amongst other things a life size replica of a T rex skeleton, brachiopods etc not being as 'sexy' as North American dinosaurs even if they were more local (Jurassic Park has a lot to answer for!). Not that I'm complaining about having a T rex display - its very interesting and the galleries are still well worth a visit, its just a shame that an informative display of local material had to be sidelined. Rant rant gripe gripe!

Must check out that gonitatite website - looks interesting.:read:

Andy, Goniat comes in handy sometimes. Below are two screen shots, one showing all the localities goniatitic ammonoids have been found at in Derbyshire, and another showing all the ammonoids found at those locations in Visean age rocks.

KULLMANN, J., KULLMANN, P.S., KORN, D. & NIKOLAEVA, S.V. (2005): GONIAT Database System, version 3.30, Tübingen.


  • conv_288877.jpg
    106 KB · Views: 124
  • conv_288878.jpg
    151.3 KB · Views: 129
Fantastic finds Andy! Maybe if you enquired at the museum they would let you in for a private viewing of their collection? Just a thought.
Hi Phil

I have been to the museum stores but I was looking at Upper Carboniferous animals at the time. I'd go more often but I'd have to take time off work to go down in the week (can't wait to retire - only 29 more years to go!). One of my many gripes - bet you couldn't tell could you! - is that museums, while becoming more 'accessible' to the public in what they display often become less useful for the enthusiast. Its great that they have interesting displays which encourage the general public to take an interest in subjects like geology and fossils but it often seems to be done at the expense of detail and nitty gritty information which I think is a shame:boohoo: I'm not singling Manchester Museum out - its stratigraphic hall is probably still the best display in the area but rather having an example of a brachiopod on show I'd like to see examples of all the brachiopods that can be found locally - grrr! And now I see I'm basically repeating myself from an earlier post - quick nurse, the pills!

Sponsor Banner
please support our sponsor
advertise on TONMO

Shop Amazon

Shop Amazon
Shop Amazon; support TONMO!
Shop Amazon
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon and affiliated sites.