MVT 20 Jurassic Park (Stewartby)
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Bedfordshire’s Jurassic Park was an ocean! At some times the water was warm and shallow, at others it was cold and deep, but it was always full of life. From Jurassic oysters and coral reefs to giant marine reptiles, their remains survive in the limestone and clays beneath our feet
The thick, grey Oxford Clay is full of organic matter and the fossilised remains of the animals that lived here 150 million years ago. The shells of the Jurassic oyster Gryphaea, also known as the ‘devil’s toenail’ are perhaps the most common of all. Among the rarest fossils are the remains of true terrestrial dinosaurs that were washed out to sea and those of pterosaurs, flying reptiles that may have died over the sea or been carried out to sea trapped in floating debris.
The sea receded and erosion of what became dry land removed much of the evidence. The Greensand Ridge that now rises south of the vale is in fact the record of another inundation by the sea that began 115 million years ago, deepened, then retreated again until, 65 million years ago, Marston Vale was above the sea once more.
Toward the end of the last glaciation there would have been mammoths walking the vale, along with bison, reindeer and other animals you would not associate with this part of Bedfordshire today!
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