Small Ears

After 2 years of not being able to come to our favourite place in the UK,
we finally made it back for 2 weeks in June and one week in November 2022.

Now, in the days between Christmas and the New Year, I also found some time to prepvsome of my finds. One, which is rather small, has made me unproportionally happy, so happy in fact that I just need to show you…

It was the first collecting day of our week in November, the early morning low tide point had already passsed so I only went out to Stoupe Beck Sands. I picked up a few likely looking nodules, and found little bits & pieces.

One ex situ nodule I opened with the hammer and it revealed a small ammonite, apparently split though the middle exposing a calcified inner whorl. It looked like the bigger outer whorl was also preserved, and I remember speculating if this might be something special… I bagged the two pieces of the nodule, but back in our holiday home when I did my find notes and a picture „as found“ I filed it under “small Euagassiceras”.

Split nodule with small ammonite

Back home, I looked again at the two nodule pieces, and found that the matrix seemed just soft enough for air abrading, so after marking where I would have to expect the ammonite I glued both halves of the nodule together again, and reduced the rock down to shortly where the ammonite would be with an air pen.

I then started abrading with iron powder and soon found the venter of the ammonite, unfortunately it seemed that this small ammonite had been preyed upon by cutting a small hole in the shell just where the body was attached. Nevertheless, the rest of the ammonite shell seemed solid and in good order and air abrading proceeded well.

“Riparioceras” keel and a few nice bivalves

Once I had exposed more of the ammonite, it became clear that it was not an Euagassiceras, but a „Riparioceras“, i.e. the inner whorl of a Gleviceras, see also

here (Link). At the time I wrote that blog post, I only had a fragment from an outer

whorl of a Gleviceras, and the other specimen I showed were from Dorset and Gloucestershire deposits. And now here is the Yorkshire „Riparioceras“ in all

its miniature 2 cm glory :

“Riparioceras” on nodule

Quenstedt, in his 1885 „Ammoniten des Schwäbischen Jura“ had under a subtitle „Allerlei“ („Miscellaneous“) rather endearingly described the particular ribbing style of the rare „Ammonites riparius“ as an ear-shaped loop, even proposed a byname of „auritulus“ (latin „long ear“) for it.

And that‘s exactly what we see here :

“Riparioceras” ear shaped ribbing

There aparently are different types of „Riparioceras“ style inner whorls for different Gleviceras species, but far as I‘m aware, there is no publication that shows the inner whorls of different Gleviceras species in sufficient detail
(and I guess Gleviceras itself is rarely that well preserved and that abundant for someone mad enough to break open the outer whorls to find out what the inner whorls look like).

So for this Gleviceras sp. we can only speculate as to its stratigraphic position, as it was not found in situ, but likely is from upper oxynotum subzone.

Anyway, this unexpected find was an absolute pleasure to slowly discover during prep – now I know that well preserved bigger Gleviceras must exist as well !

Fossil related New year resolutions for 2023:

  • Collect more ammonites, even and especially the small ones !
  • Write more blog posts
  • Re-invigorate my book writing

With best wishes for the New Year 2023,


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