While looking for fossils in the Coal Measures in a nearby ghyll, Tom found a fossil fish scale. Fish scales aren't common in the sequence and are hard to find due their small size. The scale belongs to Rhizodopsis, a Rhizodont fish, which was a large, freshwater fish that lived in the Carboniferous (and Devonian) periods in the coal swamps that formed the Cumberland Coalfield, part of the Pennine Coal Measures.
These fish were lobe-finned fishes that are most closely related to modern day Lungfish and Coelacanths. They preyed on lungfish, other fishes and tetrapods in swamps, where many plant and animal species also lived.
|Rhizodopsis scale. Left: Low Loughing Beck specimen, Right: Comparative diagram for identification.|
|Left: Rhizodopsis scale, Right: Freshwater mussel species.|
The fossil flora assemblage includes:
- Sphenopteris diliatata
- Alethopteris decurrens
- Neuropteris gigantea
- Sphenophyllum cuneifolium
- Lepidodendron lycopodiodes
- Calamites suckowi
|Lepidodendron lycopodiodes- a scale tree (also known as a giant club moss) (top and bottom right)|
Alethopteris decurrens- a seed fern (bottom right and middle right)
Neuropteris gigantea - another seed fern (middle left)