There are millions of rocks on the beaches around Charmouth and Lyme Regis. Inevitably, many of these have the appearance of a fossilised animal or plant. It can be easy to imagine how certain rocks and markings may look like dinosaur teeth, turtle shell, or plant leaves.
Many amazing things can be found along the Jurassic Coast, and knowing how to avoid some common pitfalls when mistaking rocks as fossils is very useful when fossil hunting out on the beach. Up until 200 years ago the fossils at Charmouth had been collected as curiosity objects, or curios. Belemnites (shells of squid-like creatures) were thought to be stone thunderbolts, and Ammonites (coiled shelly animals) were called “Snake-stones”. Understanding the true origins behind these fossils and rocks allows us to appreciate them more for what they are.
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Could these be teeth?
The most common rocks we find here at Charmouth are called flint and chert. Sometimes these rocks can resemble the teeth of ancient sea creatures. Fossil teeth found here at Charmouth come from plesiosaurs, ichthyosaurs, sharks, and fish. . They are always black in colour because of changes that occur during the process of fossilisation. Fossils in flint and chert are uncommon, but include sponges, sea shells , and sea urchins.