Family Travel, Geology, Travel

Fossil Hunting in Watchet, Somerset

The film Jurassic World is creating a box office sensation, breaking records as the highest grossing debut of all time. We decided to take our children on a real Jurassic adventure and we discovered a vivid picture of what it was really like at the time of the dinosaurs.
 ‘Look up at the sky,’ says geologist Dr Andy King.
‘Imagine that all the seagulls you see flying above us are pterodactyls that look a bit like giant winged lizards.
‘If we were standing on this sand 195 million years ago, we would have been standing at the bottom of the sea.’
‘Look up again and imagine you are watching thousands of ammonites swimming around like enormous squids, with their tentacles extending from their shells waiting to catch their prey.’
My oldest children Yasmine, 9, and Emil, 7, are captivated by every word. Their four-year-old  sister Sissi keeps looking up at the sky nervously as if expecting flying dinosaurs to appear at any moment.
‘Now lets go and find some ammonites,’ says Dr King.
Dr Andy King, is a world expert on nautilus. His enthusiasm for geology is contagious. Dinosaurs have always fascinated me, however until this moment I have never really pictured in my mind what life would have been like when they were on the earth.
My three oldest children, Yasmine, 9, Emil, 7 and Sissi, 4, follow Dr King as if he’s the pied piper.
He has a bag full of geological chisels, picks and hammers. It’s every child’s dream.
Dr King takes the children over the slabs of mudstone rocks.
      
‘Keep a look out for Devils toe nails,’ he says with a smile. I’ve no idea what is going through Sissi’s head but she decides to hold my hand as we explore the muddy rock beds.
Soon enough Dr King shouts out, ‘Here it is, come and see.’ Amongst the rocks is a curved calcite shell that would indeed fit with my vivid imagination of what a devils toe nail would look like.
Dr King’s enthusiam’s is infectious. Soon we are all running from rock to rock searching for fossils.
Yasmine and Emil are the first to shout triumphantly, ‘We’ve found fossils, loads of fossils.’
And there lying on the rock are the most beautiful ammonites. As the water from the rock pools splashes over them they appear to glow with an iridescent shine.
Watchet002
It’s truly magical to think that these ammonites really were swimming right where we are standing. While on the land at the time, the dinosaurs stomped about.
The children are in heaven, a real treasure hunt…and real treasure. Dinosaurs are much more vivid for us now than any movie.

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