- Dinosaur

The Museum Of The Mundane – The Bristol Dinosaur Undertaking Weblog

Throughout the summer season of 2020, I posed a query to the BDP volunteer neighborhood. I requested them to rummage by way of their collections and current what they felt was “probably the most underwhelming fossil or rock” in there. The dream was to create probably the most disappointing present and inform the palaeontology world has ever seen. I can fortunately report, the individuals heeded the decision.

What follows are the submissions of the individuals, all are introduced anonymously, within the order through which they have been despatched in. Alongside are descriptions written by the ‘proud’ collectors themselves. Be warned, this exhibition options some saltier language than we often see within the BDP.

Welcome to the Museum of the Mundane!

Pining For The Fjords

Ex-coral fossil. Destroyed by my incompetence and vinegar.





Geology Doesn’t At all times Rock

Personally, I discover the Triassic sandstones round SW Devon to be extraordinarily underwhelming, however I don’t have a pattern as I can’t be requested to get it and it disintegrates like loopy. I do know my entry it’s a poorly compacted limestone from the Swanage finish of the Jurassic coast and it’s the largest rock in my assortment (save for the household mega-ammonite), nevertheless it makes a proper mess of my show and my arms and shirt will get coated in grains each time I transfer the damm factor. It’s solely saving grace is the odd shell fragment right here or there.

I do know I’ve possible upset the sedimentary crowd an excessive amount of already so I shall cease right here earlier than inflicting any extra fallout.

From Scholar…

*Editor’s Warning – The next story incorporates an pointless journey to Durham.

As an undergrad I did an internship one summer season, simply staying on to assist with some analysis tasks. I wound up getting invited on this whirlwind subject journey: two members of employees have been going to Anglesey for 2 days after listening to stories of uncovered petrified wooden at some seaside and requested if I fancied becoming a member of them. I figured it might be an expertise so I stated sure.

It was a bizarre couple of days, with many, many hours spent within the automobile, an evening in a flowery pub on bills and a while spent stood on windy Welsh seashores. One of many professors was speaking to me about discovering fossils, and I stated I didn’t actually have any expertise. 20 minutes later, actually mid-walk, he picked up a pebble with a coral inside it. He stated I may have it, he had masses at dwelling and I believed it was cool. I felt a bit embarrassed about having to resist the truth that I’d lastly accepted eager to be a palaeontologist however was shit at discovering fossils, appeared like a fairly elementary ability.

So this coral pebble has travelled with me from Durham to Bristol, now to Leeds, and I all the time had this conflicted feeling about it. It’s kinda fairly and I prefer it, nevertheless it’s additionally not precisely that spectacular and I didn’t even discover it myself.

…To Grasp

Through the years I spent a bit extra time on the seaside, getting my eye in, discovering shitty fossils, however I’m nonetheless no subject skilled. I wound up demonstrating on undergrad subject journeys because the token palaeontologist, and felt like a little bit of an imposter due to my lack of abilities. However final yr, while wandering a seaside in Pembrokeshire, ready for the scholars to complete their limestone logs, I noticed my very personal coral pebble. And it’s much more particular for being further shitty. I spent the remainder of that day ridiculously pleased with myself, and now the coral pebbles from reverse ends of Wales sit collectively on my bookshelf.

Measurement Isn’t The whole lot

Teeny Weeny






Sibling Fossil Jealousy

I requested my sister which of my fossils is probably the most underwhelming, in her opinion. She stated, “That one you made me take a look at beneath the hand lens, it was so boring! I don’t know what it’s presupposed to be”. So right here it’s.

She’s fallacious. It’s a stunning fossil, particularly beneath the hand lens.



Othniel Marsh Mk2 Incarnate

That is the most effective fossil I’ve ever discovered. It was sadly horribly disarticulated and needed to be painstakingly patched again collectively from many disparate parts. Fortunately all of the heavy lifting is now coated, and we’re excited to publish on it this yr beneath Moreau et al. 2020. Sadly Nature has rejected it, with suggestions that we ship it to its sister publication, “Freak Of Nature”. We suspect its reveal will trigger a stir – it displays an excessive case of hyperdactyly whereby it’s truly developed a separate pair of arms altogether. Consequently, we speculate that it in all probability sucked shit, or else was an early relative of the centaur. Both one.


I forgot about this however then I remembered.

So, as a consequence of its sheer girthy-ness, it might not qualify as a “mediocre fossil”. Something that while you discover it makes you exclaim “Holy Shit!” might be barred but when I’ve an excuse to speak about my huge, beefy belemnite, I’m going to speak about it. A picture of my pleasure and pleasure is connected. I’m heartbroken that nobody appreciates it as a lot as they need to as a result of it’s “only a belemnite”.

The one one who ever gave it the respect it deserves was the curator of invertebrate palaeontology on the NHM. Sadly, it’s shy of document breaking measurement (although not by an enormous margin) and search although I did I couldn’t discover the remainder of it. It’s from the Bearpaw Shale of Montana and now lives within the Nice Plains Dinosaur Museum collections. The very first thing I did final summer season once I returned was demand to see it. I miss it.

By no means Neglect Your First

When it comes to really mediocre, I’ve connected an image of this random gastropod inner solid from Penarth. I prefer it as a result of it was the very first thing I discovered on my first ever DinoSoc subject journey manner again when.


Doesn’t Harm To Be Well mannered

Can I submit these tiny pentacrinites stems that I collected on the final day of the final DinoSoc fossil searching journey earlier than lockdown to the marginally disappointing fossil museum?





The Folly Of Man

On a latest journey to Aust I had one purpose. I actually wished to discover a good Hybodont backbone, ideally a giant one.

I discover numerous bone mattress, however no shark backbone. Ah effectively.

As we’re nearly to stroll again I see one other chunk of bone mattress however doesn’t appear to have a lot in it, perhaps like 4 coprolite bits. I determine, to hell with it, may be stuff inside. Give it one smash of the hammer for a fortunate dip.

It breaks open fantastically, cleaves virtually completely in two. Virtually. The fracture level, hidden buried straight down the center of the rock, was a beforehand pristine Hybodont backbone. My single hammer blow had ABSOLUTELY DESTROYED it.

The coprolite stuffed rock neatly in two chunks. The shark backbone in 1,000,000. Had I randomly hit it from a unique angle it may need damaged intact for me. I saved a small piece of the backbone as a reminder of the hubris and supreme folly of mankind’s efforts.


I Don’t See Your Identify On It

Some time again I discovered this pleasant bivalve. It’s solely small however I used to be tremendous proud of how completely it popped out once I hammered the random rock it was in. I like the large area subsequent to it. I really feel like I ought to carve my identify into it and it’d be a cool desk decoration factor.



He’s Not Unsuitable

This can be a crappy little bit of rock with some crinoid bits in it. It appeared alright on the seaside however now I actually couldn’t let you know why it was value choosing up. Or protecting for like 5 years.




Thriller Of Our Time

Everybody finds ichthyosaur verts which have misplaced their neural spines, however how typically do individuals discover neural spines with out the vert? Have a look at this factor. How did I discover this however no different hint of the way in which extra prone to protect skeleton? I’ve positioned it on my picket labyrinth as a result of it’s a puzzle.




Nationwide Treasure – British Isles Version


That is greater than a miserably underwhelming piece of ammonite. It’s additionally a memento of my first ever expertise of the critically-acclaimed Avon area.


Throughout the last circles of the purgatory I fondly keep in mind as “undergrad”, we have been whisked away to the fantastical land of “Weston-Tremendous-Mare” to map the Jurassic Coast between there and Dorset. Someway we ended up on the Jurassic Roadside-With-No-Coast-In-Sight after just a few days, and our lecturers discovered a stunning sandy cliff that they proceeded to ransack with their rock hammers.


Inside minutes, the cliff was a pinata of Pentacrinus and miscellaneous ammonite bits, considered one of which you see earlier than your very eyes. And that’s once we heard it. That lovely voice. These stunning phrases. “What are you doing ‘ere? That is personal correct’y!”


What adopted was an equally stunning alternate between our flustered lecturers and the (apparently new) landowner, beginning with a string of heartfelt apologies for our fossil poaching escapades, and by some means culminating in his settlement to allow us to go to once more subsequent yr. Don’t ask me how, I’m a mere mortal. However each mortal is able to sin, and in my hand I held the proof: the forbidden ammonite, the sweetest ammonite of all. A bootleg trophy from the panorama we had sacked, the fruit of our crime towards the heavens and the earth.


Clearly I nonetheless have the factor, and have hidden it someplace the cops won’t ever discover it. Steven Soderbergh has contacted me a number of instances to ask if I’d promote him the rights to the story, however alas I’m too proud, and so Ocean’s Fourteen won’t ever be made. Shut your eyes, expensive reader. Think about what may need been. In a single fell swoop, the world has been robbed each of its most underwhelming fossil, and of its most underwhelming heist film. 

Thus concludes our journey by way of this menagerie of banality. We hope you didn’t take pleasure in it, as a result of should you did, that might considerably defeat the aim of the subject. In the future, we could also be again with extra…

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