A team of scientists from the British Natural History Museum has found tens of thousands of fossils during a three-day excavation at what seems to be one of the most important Jurassic sites ever found in the UK, according to a BBC report.
The fossils, are believed to 167 million years old, were originally uncovered by two hobby palaeontologists studying old research papers during the coronavirus lockdown.
One of them told BBC that they had used Google Maps to track the location of the site and had set out for exploration as soon as the lockdown was lifted. She described the find as “amazing.”
The secret Cotswolds site was once near a delta into a shallow tropical sea, hosting ancient marine wildlife until an underwater mudslide covered the area, burying and preserving them forever.
Now the finds will be prepped and studied, and some of them will be kept as part of the collection at the Natural History Museum.
Palaeontologist Tim Ewin who was at the secret site recalled to BBC the calamity that's written in the rocks. "They tried to protect themselves, adopting the stress position of pulling their arms in," he continues. "But it was all in vain; you can see where their arms got snagged open, right up to the crown. They were pushed into the sediment and buried alive," he said.
The misfortune that struck this place 167 million years ago has delivered an extraordinary collection of fossil animals in what is unquestionably one of the most important Jurassic dig sites ever discovered in the UK, the BBC report said.
Specialists in fossil echinoderms believe the Cotswold quarry will help them better categorise the species' different life stages, their ecology and their proper position in evolutionary history, BBC added.