Asteroceras blakei or The first description

This is an Asteroceras blakei SPATH, 1925 from Robin Hoods Bay, found by Keeley and Adrian on the 20th of April, 2011 (guess what, my little red book told me that…).
They entrusted this 10 cm ammonite to me for the preparation using my air abrader. After securing the remaining shell with a bit of liquid super glue, to stop it from flying away in the air stream (it easily does that by the way) , I prepped it and it came out like this.
Asteroceras blakei SPATH, 1925, 10 cm

Asteroceras blakei SPATH, 1925, 10 cm

But this is not all that this little story is about, it´s more about finding out more about Asteroceras blakei. 
I usually at least try to take a look at the original description of the author. As you can see from the name, the original describer of this species, Leonard Frank Spath, did name this ammonite in 1925.
In HOWARTH 2002 the ammonite was pictured and full details were given for the original describer and the year, a list of synonyms (Asteroceras marstonense SPATH is one), some museum references, and, in the references the name of the publication where SPATH described the ammonite :
“Notes on Yorkshire ammonites. The Naturalist, Hull, 1925”. The Naturalist, as I found out, is the periodical publication of the West-Riding Consolidated Naturalists’ Society and, later, the  Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union.  Some volumes (between 1865 and 1921) can be found at Archive.org :
They´re delightful reading, most is about fungi, lichen, spiders, birds, etc. but sometimes there is something about geology or fossils. If you open one of the volumes in Acrobat reader and search for “ammonite”,  in the 1921 volume for example you´ll find some not so pleased remarks on BUCKMAN´s then new nomenclature in his “Yorkshire type ammonites” or the prohibitive cost of printing for some of his volumes, in the 1909 volume a short arcticle about “The ammonites called A. serpentinus”, some species of the Harpoceras genus,  including a picture of the giant Harpoceras (then called H. mulgravium) that is now exhibited in Whitby museum. But no luck with the 1925 volume…
I sent out severall calls of help to the various forums I visit, but first to no avail. I had almost given up, when after almost 5 months later out of the blue I received a note from Dr. Rene Hoffmann, from the Ruhr University at Bochum, sending me copies of the two pages describing Asteroceras blakei – thanks again for that !
So here is that first picture of Asteroceras blakei SPATH, 1925 :
Asteroceras blakei, the original picture from "The Naturalist", 1925

Asteroceras blakei, the original picture from “The Naturalist”, 1925

But that´s almost all that SPATH writes about this new species – I must admit I was somewhat underwhelmed for all the trouble it took to find this description !
Thanks of course to Keeley and Adrian, for letting me borrow, prep & photograph the ammonite !
AndyS
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1 Comment

  1. Yorkshire (and adjacent areas) Asteroceratinae in all shapes & forms | Yorkshire Ammonites (and other fossils ) revisited

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