Early Jurassic hangers-on

A specimen from Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution Collection, an Early Jurassic fossil of wood colonised by barnacles and mussel-like bivalves, has been formally described and interpreted in a scientific paper. Both species of marine animals were pseudoplankton, organisms adapted for a mode of life attached to floating objects. The barnacles are called Toarcolepas mutans and their occurrence in this fossil association is only the second record of the species anywhere in the world. They also equal the oldest example of pseudoplanktonic barnacles in the fossil record.

Collected by Charles Moore in the 19th Century from Ilminster, Somerset, this specimen is part of the Strawberry Bank Lagerstätte, a special part of the Institutions Collection.

The research was conducted by palaeontologist, including our own Collections Manager Matt Williams, from several institutions (Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institution, the University of Leeds, the University of Portsmouth, University of Oslo, and Natural History Museum of London) and was published in the journal Acta Palaeontologica Polonica on 24th January 2023.

Curator's Notes, JESBI, Science