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Palaeontology & Fossils In Caithness

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Caithness Fossil Group 13 February 03
A new section has been set up for the Caithness Fossil Group whose members have an interest in the fossils and geology of Caithness.  The group can be found in the Palaeontology section which itself is located in the History section.

Fossil Thieves In Scotland To Be Watched 27 may 2002

Achanarras Quarry - Caithness

Robert Dick's Collection of Fossils

370 Million Year Old Fossil in Achanarras Quarry , Spittal, Caithness
Recently discovered was a unique fossil in a Caithness quarry.  The discovery was made at  Achanarras near Spittal and is believed to be the only one of its type in the world.  The specimen has been dated at 370 million years old..

Mr Jack  Saxon is the honorary warden at the quarry where he found the fossil.  Mr Saxon said that it was the first time a chasmataspid has been found in Upper Old Redstone.  The new creature resembles the Lower Devonian chasmataspids from Germany and the Midland Valley of Scotland.  But its Middle Devonian age makes it the youngest yet known and significantly extends the known range of the group.  This find was so unexpected.  The chasmataspids were more common 390 million years ago but 20 million years later they were thought to be extinct.

The fossil has been named Achanarraspis reedi after the man who discovered it – John Reed of Rousay Orkney.  He kept the fossil but later sold it as part of a collection and it ended up in the south of England.  It has now been brought back to Scotland and is now in the University of Aberdeen.

The new fossil is closely related to the eurypterids.  These creatures resemble large aquatic scorpions and were probably top predators in the Devonian period, some 370 million years ago according to Mr Saxon.

Fossil eurypterids have been known in Caithness for about two centuries but have been mostly fragmentary.
Achanarras is world famous for the very large number of fossil fish it has produced.  A paper has been published in the Scottish Journal of Geology about the discovery.

There are a number of fossils on display in the Hall at Spittal which is open to visitors in the summertime.

See Also
Quarries In Caithness

Geology Links

The Jurassic Coast
Dorset and East Devon's World Heritage Coastline.

Discovering Fossils

Cretaceous Fossils

New analysis of fossil record answers scientists’ concerns over its quality 

Andy Lee's Fossils
British Chalk Fossils

British Geological Survey

Deposits Magazine

Dinosaur Isle

Discovering Fossils

Discuss Fossils


Eocene and Oligocene Fossils

Fossil Finds and Facts


Fossils from the UK

Gault Ammonites

Geology in East Yorkshire

Geology Rocks

Harrow and Hillingdon Geological Association

Jason's British Fossils

Junior Geo

Lyall Anderson's Fossil Surgery

Model Specimens

Palaeozoic Fish UK



Psi Gate


Sheppey Fossils

Shropshire Geology

The Search Geo

The Oxford Geology Group

UK Fossil Site

UK Fossils Network

Visit South West England