Jurassic Coast. UK
This unusual place is called Jurassic Coast, and is located in the county of West Dorset, close to the village of Lyme Regis, England. The Jurassic Coast stretches for 155 km between Studland in Dorset and Exmouth in East Devon.
It is famous for the fact that the coastal cliffs contain many fossils of ancient mollusks ammonites. They are curled shells of different sizes, which can be found in the cliffs, stones and just among the sand. The age of these fossils is more than 185 million years. The rocks discovered here belong to the Mesozoic era. It includes all three periods – Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous.
Typically, these “ancient remains” are used by jewelers to create original decorations. Here, these fossils attract only tourists, who collect shellfish as souvenirs. Frequent landslides show new remains of the ancient inhabitants of our planet. You can easily cope without the special archaeological sites to discover them. Caretakers of the beach consider it as ordinary garbage, so you can take with you all that you can, but the weight of the finds may reach hundreds of kilograms.
Here are particularly favorable conditions for the preservation of soft tissues and bones of the prehistoric animals. The cities of Lyme Regis and Charmouth stand on clay soil in the valley. These places were a house for the warm waters with a weak current. Jurassic Coast is also known as an Ammonite Beach. The sea erodes limestone and clay, constantly washing out on the surface shells of ammonites. Even the lights on the waterfront of Lyme Regis are made in the form of ammonites. Sometimes bones of marine lizards can be also found among the remains.
It is interesting to note that many of the known fossil discoveries have been made by a local housewife Mary Anning in the early XIX century. She and her family earned a livelihood, searching interesting copies of fossils among the cliffs of Lyme Regis and selling them to tourists. Among the found fossils there were the remains of ichthyosaurs and plesiosaurs. This finding confirmed the idea that there could be some animals in the past that were completely extinct. Due to the ordinary housewife, this theory completely changed the views of the scientific world in the life of the Earth in the distant past.
In 2001, the coast got into the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in the UK. This is the first natural World Heritage site in the country.