Brachiopod fauna from the Lower Silurian (Telychian) Purple Shales, Devil's Dingle, Shropshire

Staff: L. E. M. McCobb

In 1967, a large temporary rock exposure was created when excavations were made at Devil's Dingle, near Buildwas in Shropshire, to dispose of ash from a new power station at Ironbridge. Dr Philip Lane, a palaeontologist at Keele University, collected extensively from the site while it was accessible during the late 1960s and early 1970s, amassing a large number of fossiliferous rock slabs. The aim of this project is to study and describe the fossil brachiopods (sea shells) from Lane's collection, which he donated to the National Museum of Wales. The brachiopod fauna is approximately 430 million years old and is very diverse, with over thirty species, including some new ones. The types of brachiopods present, and their shell shapes, indicate that they lived in a low energy, offshore shelf environment. Smaller shells would have lived attached to the sea bed, but some of the larger shells reclined on or in the sediment.