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Fossil "Gryphaea arcuata"

Fossil "Gryphaea arcuata"

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Jurassic Period, c. 190 million years ago, Redcar, North Yorkshire, England, private collection from Netherlands.

Gryphaea, one of the genera known as devil's toenails, is a genus of extinct oysters, marine bivalve mollusks in the family Gryphaeidae. These fossils range from the Triassic period to the middle Paleogene period, but are mostly restricted to the Triassic and Jurassic. They are particularly common in many parts of Britain. These oysters lived on the sea bed in shallow waters, possibly in large colonies. The complete fossils consist of two articulated valves: a larger gnarly-shaped shell (the "toenail") and a smaller, flattened shell, the "lid". The soft parts of the animal occupied the cavity between the two shells, just like modern oysters. The shells also feature prominent growth bands. The larger, curved shell sat within the mud on the sea floor. These shells are sometimes found in fossil plates along with Turritella, clams, and sometimes sharks' teeth and fossilized fish scales. Its distribution is common in areas of both Europe. A classic location to find these fossils is Redcar, on the northeast coast of England. There used to be a common folk belief that carrying one of these fossils could prevent rheumatism.

Gryphaea arcuata is an extinct species of foam oyster, a bivalve mollusc in the family Gryphaeidae from the Early Jurassic of Europe. It is commonly referred to in English folklore as the 'devils toenail' due to its supposed resemblance to the devil's 'cloven hoof'. 

Absolutely fascinating Gryphaea arcuata fossil. Excellent condition. Age-related wear and minor abrasion. Fractures. Dirt and dust. Size approx. 6,1cm x 4,4cm x 3,2cm. Weight c. 89g.

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