"The Pink House" by Richard Eurich

A shell-crushing Jurassic fish

Posted on: 16th January 2015

One of the many impressive fossils on display in Lyme Regis Museum is that of a Jurassic fish known as Dapedium. This was first discovered by Lyme’s pioneering  fossil collector Mary Anning in the nineteenth century, but one of its secrets has only just been uncovered by an undergraduate student at Bristol University. In a groundbreaking paper in the prestigious journal Palaeontology, Fiann Smithwick has reconstructed the feeding behaviour of this extraordinary ancient fish – showing how it used its powerful jaws to crush the hard shells of its prey.

As part of his research project, Fiann studied the specimen in Lyme Regis museum and worked closely with the museum’s geologist Paddy Howe. For further information about Fiann’s work, see the University of Bristol website.